Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Ceisteanna (239)

Martin Kenny


239. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason persons that are in receipt of a pension from the UK or other EU states are not entitled to the living alone allowance or the household benefits package; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3199/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

It is important to note that people in receipt of a British State pension or an equivalent pension from other EU countries are eligible to receive the household benefits package on the same basis as Irish State pension recipients.

For the household benefits package, pensioners aged 70 or over who are legally resident in Ireland are entitled to the scheme without being in receipt of any State pension payment, British or otherwise.  They will not be means-tested.  However, as it is a household benefit, only one person per household is eligible for the scheme.

For pensioners aged between 66 and 70, the same household conditions apply, and the recipient must be in receipt of an equivalent social security pension from a country covered by EU Regulations or from a country with which Ireland has a bilateral social security agreement.  In addition, for those aged between 66 and 70, the household benefits package is subject to a means-test.  In this regard, a person in receipt of a British social security pension or an equivalent social security pension from a country covered by EU regulations would be eligible for the scheme, once he or she satisfied the household conditions and the means test.

The Living Alone Increase is a €9 increase in the weekly rate of payment of certain Irish social protection payments, awarded where the recipient is living alone.  These payments include State pensions, disability allowance, invalidity pension, incapacity supplement and blind pension.  It is not a stand-alone payment.

People in receipt of the British state pension or equivalent payments from other EU countries are not entitled to receive the Irish living alone increase, as the respective rates of those payments to people living alone or with other people, are set by national legislation in those countries.

There are no circumstances where the living alone increase can be paid to people who are not in receipt of a qualifying payment from my Department.   However, there are a significant number of people in receipt of a British State pension who are also in receipt of the State pension (non-contributory).  State pension non-contributory is a means-tested payment for people aged 66 and over, who do not qualify for an Irish State pension contributory, or who would only qualify for a reduced rate contributory pension based on their social insurance record.  To be eligible for a State pension (non-contributory), an applicant must:

- be aged 66 years or over

- have a legal right of residence in the State

- be habitually resident in the State

- have a valid Personal Public Service Number (PPSN)

- satisfy a means test

- if awarded the pension, continue to satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition and the applicable means test.

I am informed that approximately 11% of current State pension (non-contributory) recipients are also in receipt of a British State pension. 

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.