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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 31 Mar 1993

Vol. 428 No. 6

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Payments.

Richard Bruton


98 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will re-examine the incentives offered to pensioners to switch to direct payment into bank accounts instead of cash payments, which currently require people to receive payment five weeks in arrears; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Payment by pension book at post offices is the main payment method for Social Welfare pensioners. My Department has been developing alternative payment methods which are modern, flexible and convenient for its customers.

One of the new methods on offer is direct payment of pension into a bank account or a new An Post Pension Savings Account. Many customers may find that direct payment of pension via a bank or An Post is more suited to their needs. This option, which is entirely voluntary, is being offered now to most old age contributory and retirement pensioners.
So far 5,000 contributory old age and retirement pensioners have opted for direct payment facility. Many of them find the security aspects of this method of payment particularly attractive. Pensioners not opting for direct payment will continue to receive payment by pension book at post offices as always.
One of the necessary features of this direct payment facility is that payment will be made every four weeks in arrears. This is the normal payment procedure for salaries before retirement. This also ensures that my Department has adequate time to respond to any change in pensioner circumstances before the next payment is made. The first direct payment will be made five weeks after the last payment by way of pension book. This is a consequence of moving from a system of payment one week in advance to four weeks in arrears. All subsequent direct payments will be made every four weeks.
As a once-off incentive in 1993 to both existing and new contributory old age and retirement pensioners, my Department is offering £50 in Prize Bonds to those who opt for the new payment method during 1993.
Pensioners opting for direct payment of pension have been fully advised that payment is four weekly in arrears.