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Jobseeker's Benefit Eligibility

Dáil Éireann Debate, Friday - 7 September 2018

Friday, 7 September 2018

Questions (1315)

Jan O'Sullivan


1315. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person who has been made contractually redundant at 66 years of age will be automatically entitled to receive jobseeker's benefit until they reach 67 years of age in view of the fact that the State pension age is due to rise to 67 years of age; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36829/18]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011 provided that State pension age will be increased gradually to 68 years.  This began in January 2014 with the abolition of State pension (transition) which was available to people aged 65 who satisfied the qualifying conditions. This measure standardised the State pension age for all at 66 years.  This will increase to 67 in 2021 and to 68 in 2028.

There is no statutory retirement age in the State and the age at which employees retire is a matter for the contract of employment between them and their employers.  Where individuals exit the workforce prior to pension age they may apply for either jobseeker’s benefit (JB) or jobseeker’s allowance (JA). 

JB is payable subject to the person satisfying the general scheme conditions.  This entitlement is normally paid for 9 months (234 days) for people with 260 or more PRSI contributions paid and for 6 months (156 days) for people with fewer than 260 PRSI contributions paid.  Arrangements are in place to provide that jobseekers whose benefit expires in their 65th year can generally continue to be paid benefit up until pensionable age (66 years) provided they satisfy the necessary contribution conditions. The Deputy is also advised that the disqualification period for people who receive a redundancy payment of more than €50,000 does not apply to those who are aged 55 and over.

The jobseekers schemes are kept under review and any further changes, including entitlement beyond the 66th year, will be considered in that context.

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy at this time.