I propose to take Questions Nos. 960, 984, 1010 and 1024 together.
I introduced the new Benefit Payment for 65 year olds in line with the Programme for Government commitment, to provide a benefit payment for people who are aged 65 and who are required to retire, or who chose to retire, without a requirement to sign on, engage in activation measures or be available for and genuinely seeking work. This new payment is designed specifically to bridge the gap for people who retire from employment or self employment at 65 but who don’t qualify for the State Pension until age 66.
Although only recently introduced, there are currently over 2,300 people aged 65 availing of the new benefit.
To be eligible for the payment a person must satisfy all the qualifying conditions of the scheme including the requirement to have the specified number of social insurance contributions paid. A person must have paid 104 PRSI insurable employment contributions at class A, H or P or paid 156 class S contributions if they are self-employed. A person in insurable employment also requires 39 contributions paid from employment in the Governing Contribution Year (GCY) which is the second last complete contribution year before the benefit year in which the claim is made. For new claims made in 2021 the GCY is 2019. At least 13 of these contributions must be paid from employment in the GCY, the two years before this, the last year or the current tax year. Alternatively, a person could qualify if they have 26 PRSI contributions paid in the GCY and 26 paid in the year immediately before this. The requirement to have paid contributions during this period is to demonstrate the individual's attachment to the workforce. Full details on the PRSI Contribution conditions for the Benefit Payment for 65 Year Olds are available on the Department’s website at: www.gov.ie/en/service/49d25-benefit-payment-for-65-year-olds/.
Each case is determined on an individual basis taking into account the contributions paid and the date at which the person retired from employment. The best way to check entitlement in the case of an individual is to make an application for the Benefit.
I trust that this clarifies the position for the Deputies.