Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (608)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

608. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person who has to retire from work in January 2020 on reaching 65 years of age as a result of their contract of employment will be able to receive the free travel pass on reaching 66 years of age even though they will not be entitled to the State pension (contributory) until they are 67 years of age; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47243/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The free travel scheme provides free travel on the main public and private transport services for those eligible under the scheme.  These include road, rail and ferry services provided by companies such as Bus Átha Cliath, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann, as well as Luas and services provided by over 80 private transport operators.  There are currently approx. 953,000 customers with direct eligibility.  In Budget 2019 the funding for the free travel scheme was increased by €5 million to a total of €95 million which has been maintained for 2020.

Currently, the scheme is available to all people aged over 66 living permanently in the State.  In general, to qualify for the scheme, applicants who are under age 66 must be in receipt of a qualifying payment.  Qualifying schemes are invalidity pension, blind pension, disability allowance, carer’s allowance or an equivalent social security payment from a country covered by EC Regulations or one with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement. 

Any changes to the eligibility criteria for this scheme must be considered in the overall policy and budgetary context.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Question No. 609 answered with Question No. 601.