Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (509)

Aindrias Moynihan


509. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Social Protection her views on whether it is fair that recipients of the pandemic unemployment payment, PUP, are no longer eligible to receive the payment on turning 66 years of age in view of her stated opinion that there is no mandatory retirement age. [6971/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a statutory support which is available to support persons of working age - between 18 years and pensionable age, 66 years - who have lost their employment due to the pandemic and where they were not being paid by their employer. The age range provided for is consistent with other social protection schemes payable to people of working age.

People aged 66 years and over are provided for through the State Pension (contributory) or the means tested State Pension (non-contributory). A person aged over 66 who is in employment may retain their State Pension (contributory) and employment income.

If a person does not have the required number of contributions to receive the maximum rate of State Pension (contributory), they may qualify for an increased rate of State Pension (non-contributory), depending on their circumstances. People who receive the State Pension (non-contributory) who also have employment income may have their pension payment increased if they lose their employment income due to the pandemic or if their employment income is reduced.

People aged 66 and over may also be entitled to a range of ancillary supports which include free travel, fuel allowance, household benefits package for gas or electricity costs and living alone allowance. The fuel allowance and living alone allowance were both increased in Budget 2021 to €28.00 and €19.00 per week respectively.

It is also important to note that an employer who is availing of the Employer Wage Subsidy Scheme can claim the subsidy in respect of all PAYE workers on their payroll including employees aged over 66 years.

A person of any age who is in need of financial assistance may apply for support under the means test Supplementary Allowance scheme where Exceptional and Urgent Needs Payments can be paid.

I trust that this clarifies the position for you.