A new social welfare benefit will mean those who retire at 65 will qualify for a social welfare payment that they won’t have to sign on for.
We reveal what this means for those approaching retirement.
A: The Government has introduced a new payment for those aged 65 called Benefit Payment for 65 Year Olds. Many are forced to retire at 65, due to the way employment contracts are written. The new benefit means those at the age of 65, with sufficient PRSI payments, will no longer have to sign on the dole. This is because State PRSI pension is not payable until the age of 66. Up to 2014, people who retired at 65 got the State Transition Pension.
A: The rate of payment is €203 a week, which is the same rate as Jobseeker’s Benefit. You get it if you have made sufficient PRSI payments. There will be an increase for dependents, if eligible. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has criticised the level of the payment, pointing out that it is €45 less per week than the State pension, which amounts to a loss of €2,355 for the year. Dr Laura Bambrick of the ICTU has labelled the new payment as the ‘Pension Lite’. The State pension pays €248.30 a week for those who have made full PRSI payments from the age of 66. She accused Fine Gael of backtracking on a promise during the election to pay new benefit for 65-year-olds at the same rate as the State pensions.
A: No. To qualify, a person cannot be working either as an employee or in self-employment. People who take up casual or part-time work while in receipt of the payment is required to notify the department and stop their claim.
A: It is expected that 2,000 existing unemployment benefit recipients will qualify for this new payment immediately. The department said it has identified people who are currently receiving a Jobseeker’s Benefit payment who are eligible for this new payment and it is in the process of notifying them of the relaxation of the conditions to their claim. A claim for Benefit Payment for 65-year-olds can be made through MyWelfare.ie or by emailing email@example.com, requesting a paper application which will be posted to the person, the department said.
A: That really depends on your employment contract and/or your employer. Large numbers in the private sector firms have a mandatory retirement age written into their employment contracts. In most cases, this is 65. Some will want to keep working, but their employment contract does not allow it, while others doing manual work will be happy to hang up their boots. The focus will now shift to employers to ensure employment contracts, and occupational pensions, may provision for retirement at age 66, and not 65.
A: The State pension age emerged as a key issue in last year’s general election. The pension age was due to rise to 67 last month, but the Government reversed that decision. Huge political pressure meant the Programme for Government promised to keep the pension age at 66. This is until recommendations of the recently established Commission on Pensions. This committee is due to deliver a report in the summer on the pension age, and other issues to do with the State pension.