Cabinet signs off on Social Welfare Bill


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Tuesday, 1 November 2016: Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has confirmed that the Government will publish the Social Welfare Bill later this week to give effect to the social welfare measures set out in Budget 2017, following approval by Cabinet today.

Minister Varadkar said today: "Budget 2017 and the social welfare measures in particular aim to ensure that everyone benefits from the recovery. The ESRI has already shown that Budget 2017 contains the greatest benefits for the least well off. Key to this is the proposal in the Social Welfare Bill to increase the maximum rate of all weekly benefits by €5 a week, to people of working age as well as retired people aged 66 or older.

"The Government will implement the increases as early as resources allow. The Social Welfare Bill therefore provides for the increases to come into effect from the second week of March. This will commence with the payment of the €5 increase for pensions on March 10th, with the remaining increases being applied to other benefits over the following six days as the payments for individual benefits fall due in accordance with the payment calendar.

"These increases will benefit 1.49 million people, deliver on the Programme for a Partnership Government commitment, and are a permanent increase. March is the earliest possible time of year at which they can be commenced. An earlier date would require the exclusion of certain groups from these increases, which could not be countenanced. I am now calling on all parties in the Dáil who support these measures to vote for the Social Welfare Bill and allow the increases to be implemented."

The Social Welfare Bill includes the following amendment to the 2005 Social Welfare Consolidation Act to implement the following measures, among others:

  • An increase of €5 in all maximum weekly pension payments including State Pension Contributory and Non-Contributory, Widow’s, Widower’s, Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension and Disablement Pension with proportionate increases for those on reduced rates of payment. Proportionate increases for qualified adult dependants will also be provided for;
  • An increase of €5 in all maximum weekly benefits and allowances including Carer’s Benefit, Carer’s Allowance, Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension, Illness Benefit, Blind Pension, One Parent Family Payment, Jobseeker’s Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance,  Maternity/Paternity/Adoptive Benefit and Farm Assist, with proportionate increases for jobseekers under the age of 26 and those in receipt of reduced rate payments. Proportionate increases for qualified adult dependants will also be provided for.

ENDS.

Last modified:01/11/2016