Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Ceisteanna (891)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

891. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of removing income barriers to older persons getting online by creating a digital support allowance of €5 per week for all persons in receipt of the State pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23644/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The introduction of a digital support allowance of €5 per week for all persons in receipt of the State pension as the Deputy has suggested would in practice be an effective increase in weekly rate. The estimated yearly cost of the increase in payment, taking into account there are approximately 512,000 recipients of the State Pension Contributory and the State Pension Non-Contributory, would be in the region of €135m. The costs would increase further if this was extended to recipients of other payments made to people of pension age, e.g. Widows Contributory Pensions, and Increases for Qualified Adults where the recipient is aged 66 or over.

Any decision to introduce a new digital support allowance for all persons in receipt of the State Pension would have significant budgetary consequences and would have to be considered in the overall policy and budgetary context.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.