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Budget bonus Pensioners and social welfare recipients to see increases in payments in Budget

'Pensioners and people on fixed incomes haven't seen an increase in two years now'

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Social welfare recipients and pensioners can expect increases in their payments when the Budget is revealed next week “so that people can keep up with the rise in the cost of living” as Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has indicated. 

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys has also said that when it comes to Budget 2022 she will focus on the vulnerable in hopes to improve the situation for those reliant on social welfare.

This comes as the costs of energy rise and suppliers hike up energy prices for households across the country.

Thousands of households in Ireland have already been receiving a €28 weekly fuel allowance payment to help in covering rising costs.

Ms Humphreys said: “I am conscious that heating costs are a concern for many and that households have seen their bills increase and return to 2019 levels.

“This will be an important factor for me as minister as I continue the Budget 2022 negotiations, along with my Government colleagues.”

The Taoiseach also confirmed that “in the forthcoming budget we will seek to protect the lowest income groups and those most impacted by increasing fuel prices – so that will be an objective of ours".

“We are conscious of, on the welfare side, the fuel allowance and the whole area around energy costs rising across Europe," he said.

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There is no change expected when it comes to the Christmas bonus for social welfare recipients.

The extra week’s payment is usually made to people who are in receipt of long-term social welfare payments while those who are unemployed for less than 12 months are not usually entitled to the payment.

As an exceptional measure, the bonus payment was made to people in receipt of PUP or a jobseeker’s payment for at least 4 months (17 weeks) last year due to the pandemic.

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There have also been indications that there could be an increase in Jobseekers Allowance, given the rise in the cost of living, and also due to the tapering off of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) which was paid at a higher rate than Jobseekers over the last year.

Mr Varadkar has also told the Dáil that an increase to the current minimum wage is needed as the cost of living rises.

It is currently €10.20 but there is no indication as to what it might rise to.

The Tánaiste has also indicated that a change could be on the way for pensioners and those living on a fixed wage.

“One thing I do feel very strongly about is that we do need a welfare package in this Budget because we see the return to inflation and the cost of living is now rising,” Mr Varadkar told Morning Ireland.

“Pensioners and people on fixed incomes haven't seen an increase in two years now.

“If they don't get an increase, actually their living standards will fall and as a party that believes in a just society, we can't stand over that. We're also a party that believes in rewarding work."

While the €4.7 billion package is still being finalised other details in the budget are expected to include Covid bonuses and €100 tourism vouchers.

While there has been little information released in terms of the price of alcohol or cigarettes, it is expected that there will be no increase given the difficult year and a half it has been for those in the hospitality industry.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin has confirmed that the expected pandemic bonus for frontline workers will not be announced during the October 12 Budget.

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