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Séamus Brennan TD, Minister for Social and Family Affairs,said today (Thursday, 29th December 2004):" Significant increases in social welfare weekly payments, effective from next week, will benefit 1.5million people, or almost four out of every ten people in the state.".

A special €14 increase is being provided for 550,000 people in receipt of lower payments and qualified adult allowances for 123,000 will increase by between €7.90 and €10 per week.

A minimum increase of €12 a week is being provided for some 278,000 pensioners on full rates, with proportionate increases for a further 122,000 contributory pensioners on reduced rates

Minister Brennan said:" The increases of €14 and €12 in all weekly social welfare payments are three to four times ahead of the expected rate of inflation in 2005. We are firmly on target to meet our commitments to increase the state pension to €200 by 2007 and to achieve a rate of €150 in 2002 terms for the lowest rates of social welfare by 2007."

"Minister Brennan added: "The projected level of social welfare expenditure in 2005 will be over €12.25 billion, €1 billion more than in 2004. This is more than double what was being spent in 1997. This level of expenditure is a clear demonstration of this Government's commitment to addressing the needs of people with disabilities and their carers, children, the elderly, widowed persons, the unemployed, those who are parenting alone and many others who are disadvantaged.

An estimated 970,000 people on average are expected to claim weekly social welfare payments in 2005 and almost 1.5 million people, including dependants, will benefit from these payments. Overall, the €12.5 billion budget of my Department means that for every €3 that will be spent by this Government in 2005, almost €1 will go in social welfare entitlements."

"The increase of €12 per week for all pensioners will benefit those in receipt of Old Age Pension (Contributory and Non-Contributory), Retirement Pension, Widows & Widowers Pension aged over 66, Invalidity Pension aged over 65, Death Benefit aged over 66, Deserted Wife's Benefit/Allowance aged over 66, Carer's Allowance aged over 66, One Parent Family Payment aged over 66.".

The €14 increase in lower rates of payment will benefit people in receipt of Widows & Widowers Pension under 66, Deserted Wife's Benefit aged under 66, Invalidity Pension aged under 65, Death Benefit aged under 66, Disablement Pension, Unemployment Benefit & Assistance, Disability Benefit & Allowance, One Parent Family Payment aged under 66, Blind Pension, Pre-Retirement Allowance, Farm Assist, Carer's Benefit, Carer's Allowance aged under 66, Constant Attendance Allowance, Orphans Pension & Allowance, Supplementary Welfare Allowance.


Increases are also being made in Qualified Adult Allowances (QAA) for the spouses and partners of people receiving weekly social welfare payments. They will increase as follows.:

  • Increase of €9.30 per week in QAA for Old Age (Contributory) Pension, Retirement Pension and Invalidity Pension where the qualified adult is aged 66 or over.
  • Increase of €8 per week in QAA for Old Age (Contributory) Pension and Retirement Pension where the qualified adult is under age 66.
  • Increase of €7.90 per week in QAA for all recipients of Old Age (Non-Contributory) Pension.
  • Increase of €10 per week in QAA for Invalidity Pension where the qualified adult is under age 66.
  • Increase of €9.30 per week in QAA for the Blind Pension where the qualified adult is under age 66.
  • Increase of €9.30 per week for all other qualified adult payments.

Customers on short-term weekly payments (mainly Unemployment Benefit & Assistance, Farm Assist, Disability Benefit, Carer's Benefit, and Supplementary Welfare Allowance), and those customers paid by electronic methods, will receive their increase in full from their first pay-day in January.

Customers on long-term payments through the book method will receive their increase in mid-February backdated to January. In some cases (such as Disability Allowance and Old Age Pensions) an advance payment to end-March will also be paid to those customers whose books are due for renewal at the beginning of April.

The increases, which will cost €672m in 2005, apply to full rate payments, with proportionate increases for people on reduced rates.


Dates when weekly Social Welfare Budget Increases will be paid in 2005:

Payment Type

Start Date


Effective start January

Unemployment Assistance


Farm Assist


Pre-Retirement Allowance



Effective start January

Unemployment Benefit



3 rd January

Disability Benefit


Injury Benefit


Maternity Benefit


Health and Safety Benefit


Disablement Gratuity


Supplementary Welfare Allowance



5th January

Disabilty Allowance



6th January

Retirement Pension


Invalidity Pension


Deserted Wife's Benefit


Deserted Wife's Allowance


Prisoner's Wife's Allowance


One Parent Family Payment (Other than a Widow/er)


Carer's Allowance


Carer's Benefit


Prescribed Relatives Allowance (Where paid separately to Carer)


Family Income Supplement


Farm Assist



7th January

Disablement Pension


Death Benefit Pension (under the OIB scheme)


Old Age (Contributory) Pension


Widow/er's (Contributory) Pension


Orphan's (Contributory) Pension


Old Age (Non-Contributory) Pension


Blind Person's Pension


Widow/er's (Non-Contributory) Pension


One-Parent-Family-Payment (in the case of a Widow/er)


Orphan's (Non-Contributory) Pension


Family Income Supplement is calculated at 60% of the difference between net weekly income (i.e. gross pay less Tax, Employees PRSI, Health Contribution, Superannuation) and the income limit for your family size.

Press Release ENDS

Last modified:29/12/2004