There have been some positive indications from the government over the summer about a further increase in the State pension.
In July, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that the government intends to increase the pension in this year’s Budget, which would come into effect in early 2018.
Speaking to reporters at a press briefing at the time, Varadkar said that the Programme for Government states “very clearly it is our intention to increase the pension and increase it ahead of the rate of inflation and to it so every year”. However, he did not give any specific commitment on the level of the increase.
The government changed the eligibility criteria for a full pension back in 2012, which is currently paid at a rate of €233.30 per week to those aged 66 to 80.
Under the previous system, those who had an average of 20 PRSI contributions a year were entitled to a payment of €228.70. This dropped to €198.60 in 2012, a drop of over €30 a week.
Then an increase in the state pension of f €5 a week was brought into effect in March of this year (2017). It is now expected that a similar increase will be awarded for 2018. It was reported in The Sunday Independent on August 27th that Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty is to seek a pension bump of at least €5 in the upcoming budget.
Reacting to a potential weekly increase, Age Action’s Justin Moran said pensioners are struggling. “The incomes of older people on the State pension and the household benefits package have still not recovered from cuts in multiple austerity budgets,” he said. “Poverty rates among older people have been rising consistently. A €5 increase in the state pension would be welcomed by older people struggling with increased costs and rising property taxes”.