The Social Protection Minister has poured cold water on calls to increase core social welfare rates in the Budget.
It comes after Social Justice Ireland called for a €9 increase in payments like jobseekers allowance and the State Pension.
The advocacy group for people under the age of 26 to offered full welfare rates.
Speaking at the pre-Budget forum in Dublin Castle this morning, Minister Regina Doherty said there is no point in increasing overall payments bit-by-bit each year.
She said it is important to target measures where they are most needed.
"If we keep continuing with the fiver across the board for everybody, first of all it kind of diminishes in the value but second of all, it doesn't actually hit the people who really need the attention from the State the most," she said.
"There are 120,000 children who are living in consistent poverty.
"They don't get helped by a fiver across the board. They get helped by targeted increases in the qualified child payment."
We are participating in the #PreBudgetForum to talk about the societal impact of #Budget2020 particularly from the perspective of older people #ageingequal https://t.co/YBjknp7X1e pic.twitter.com/MfIf302Fyc
— Age Action (@AgeAction) July 5, 2019
Age Action Ireland has warned that the State pension has not increased in line with inflation over the last ten years - and called for a €9 increase this year and next.
Minister Doherty said that would not be prudent with Brexit on the horizon.
She insisted that there are other ways to make life easier for older people at risk of poverty.
"It is isn't about just increasing pensions across the board - although pensioners are entitled to have their increase as the economy grows," she said.
"I think that doing specific targeted measures to address people who are living in consistent, persistent or at least at risk of poverty is far more beneficial when you only have a certain amount of money to spend."
She noted that two pensioners living together are in an "entirely different reality" to a pensioner living on their own.
"You look at some of the things that we have done in the last number of years which was to increase the living alone allowance; re-introduce the telephone allowance - which was to try and alleviate isolation for people living on their own - and the two extra weeks of fuel allowance.
"They are the kind of things that you can do to target the people."
Minster Doherty this afternoon launched a new social welfare scheme for self-employed artists.
Budget 2020 is due to be announced on October 8th.