Thursday, 31 January 2019

Ceisteanna (235, 236)

John Brassil

Ceist:

235. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if persons who are forced to retire at 65 years of age and subsequently qualify for jobseeker's benefit can work part-time if the option arises without their benefit being reduced; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4729/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brassil

Ceist:

236. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the system for persons who retire at 65 years of age and then have to claim jobseeker's benefit for a year before reaching pension age will be reviewed (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4730/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 235 and 236 together.

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. While such a contract may have been entered into with a retirement date of 65, in the context of the previous State pension arrangements, there is no legal impediment to the employer and employee agreeing to increase the duration of employment for one or more years, if both parties wish to do so.

Arrangements are in place to provide that jobseekers whose benefit expires in their 65th year can generally continue to be paid benefit until pension age (66) provided they satisfy the contribution conditions. Recipients may continue to get a payment if they find part-time or casual work. This generally means that for each day that a person is employed, 1/5th of the normal rate of jobseeker's benefit is deducted. In order to continue to receive a jobseekers payment they must be unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7. In the interest of fairness these rules apply to all jobseeker's benefit customers.

Ordinarily, all those in receipt of a jobseeker’s payment must engage with the Department’s activation process and can face penalty rates if they refuse to engage with Department offers of training or education. However these criteria were eased for people aged 62 and over. They can stillavail voluntarily of an array of supports, which are available from the Department if they wish to return to work, training or education.

In terms of the application process, detailed information is required by the Department to determine the identity of the individual, other members of the household, previous employment, payment details, etc. If any person is experiencing difficulty in completing this process they should contact their local Intreo office for assistance.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.