Budget 2017: Pensioners, carers and unemployed people to get bigger allowances

All weekly social welfare payments will rise from March 2017

budget 2017

Minister for Public Expenditure Pascal Donohue with Minister for Finance Michael Noonan ouside Government Buildings this afternoon | Photo: RollingNews.ie

Social welfare was the big sticking point in down-to-the-wire talks between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil last night.

The €5 rise in the weekly pension announced today is in line with the rate Micheál Martin’s party had sought.

But the new rate will only be paid from March, despite Fianna Fáil having called for it to kick in from January.

Other state benefits will also rise in five months’ time, with the carer’s, jobseeker’s and disability allowances all increasing by €5.

Unemployed people under 26 will get smaller increases ranging from €2.70 to €3.80, depending on age, and another €5 has been added to the one-parent family payment.  

The Christmas bonus for social welfare recipients, which was restored to 75% in the last budget, has been brought up to 85%.

ALONE welcomed the state pension increase but said more needed to be done to support older people in the community. 

"There has been no announcement from the government yet on homecare packages," said Sean Moynihan, the charity's CEO. 

"However, there has been cross party support for ageing in the community. We must plan and make this a reality."

The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed also raised concerns, saying increases to payments for jobseekers should come into force in January rather than March. 

It described the 85% Christmas bonus restoration as a "move in the right direction" but said "100% would have been particularly welcome at a time of year that can be so expensive for unemployed people". 

Pensioners gave their view to Newstalk Drive reporter Henry McKean about the changes, and most were less than pleased: