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Social Welfare Eligibility

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Ceisteanna (14)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

14. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason that a person in receipt of the carer’s allowance cannot get the over 65 benefit payment and retain the half-rate carer’s allowance given that when a person reaches 66 years of age they can claim the State pension and retain the half-rate carer’s allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [58051/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

The Benefit Payment for 65 Year Olds is a recently introduced scheme to provide an income support to people who are 65, who were in employment and who are required to, or who choose to, retire at age 65, but who do not qualify for the State Pension until they reach age 66. This scheme has been introduced as a new measure to address a specific concern raised on behalf of people in this very defined circumstance. My view is that the scheme meets the needs of people in this situation and is adequate to address to issue raised. The half-rate Carer’s Allowance can be paid to any recipient or qualified adult dependent of an illness, disability or pensions payment where they are also providing full-time care to another person. Individuals in full-time employment do not qualify for a carer's payment nor do people in receipt of a Jobseeker’s payment qualify for a half-rate carer’s allowance. Similarly, as initiated, the benefit payment for 65 year olds, being intended to provide a payment to people who would otherwise be in employment, does not provide for entitlement to concurrent payments such as half-rate carers. However, I note the point raised by the Deputy, thank her for raising it and agree that it is a change that warrants consideration. In saying this it is important to note that the Benefit Payment for 65 Year Old scheme may itself change as we proceed to take account of the recommendations of the pensions commission. The Government is committed to responding to the commission recommendations by March of next year and in doing so I can assure the Deputy that we will keep an open mind with respect to the issue that she has raised.

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