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Social Welfare Benefits Expenditure

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 17 May 2016

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Questions (545, 546, 549, 552)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

545. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Social Protection the cost of increasing the State pension by €5 per week; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10337/16]

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Thomas Pringle

Question:

546. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Social Protection the cost of increasing the living alone allowance by €2.50 per week; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10338/16]

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Thomas Pringle

Question:

549. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Social Protection the cost of fully restoring the Christmas bonus to recipients of the State pension; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10341/16]

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Seán Haughey

Question:

552. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Social Protection the estimated cost of increasing the carer's support grant from €1,700 per year to €2,000 per year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10434/16]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 545, 546, 549 and 552 together.

The cost of increasing the weekly rates of payment for all pensioners aged 66 and over (State Pension Contributory, State Pension Non-Contributory, Widow’s, Widower’s and Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pensioners aged 66 and over, Carer’s Allowance recipients aged 66 and over, Death Benefit Pension recipients aged 66 and over, Incapacity Supplement recipients aged 66 and over, and Deserted Wife’s Benefit recipients aged 66 and over) is estimated at €154.4 million in a full year. The cost of increasing the State Pension Contributory by €5 per week, from €233.30 to €238.30 per week, is estimated at €105 million. The cost of increasing the State Pension Non-Contributory by €5, from €222 to €227 per week, is estimated at €25.1 million. These costs include proportionate increases for qualified adults, and those on reduced rates of insurance-based payments, where applicable.

The cost of increasing the Living Alone Allowance by €2.50 per week, from €9 to €11.50 per week, is estimated at €25.2 million in a full year.

The cost of paying a 100% Christmas Bonus to recipients of the State Pension (Contributory) and State Pension (Non-Contributory) in 2016 is estimated at €109 million. The cost of paying a 100% Christmas Bonus to all pensioners aged 66 and over is estimated at €130 million.

The cost of increasing the Carer’s Support Grant by €300, from €1,700 to €2,000 per annum, in 2016 is estimated at €25.7 million.

It should be noted that these costings are subject to change over the coming months in the context of emerging trends and associated revision of the estimated numbers of recipients for 2017.

The Programme for Government contains the commitment to “increase the State Pension and the Living Alone Allowance above the rate of inflation”. Improvements to welfare weekly rates of payment will be considered in the context of the next Budget.

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