The Labour Party has called for the COVID-19 unemployment payment to be made available to people aged over 66.
Currently, the €350 per week payment is available to people aged between 18 and 66 years old who've lost their job or been temporarily laid off due to the current pandemic.
Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty has previously said there are other welfare payments - including the wage subsidy scheme for employers - available to workers aged over 66.
However, Labour's employment affairs spokesperson Ged Nash has claimed it's "age-related discrimination" to deny the unemployment payment to older workers.
He said: "There is a small cohort of workers over 66 who were either in employment or self-employed and used their additional non-pension income to meet bills, pay debts and cover outgoings.
"These are all workers who earned their state pension through a lifetime of PRSI contributions.
“While some workers may be eligible for the temporary wage subsidy scheme, this will help only a small number and does nothing for those who worked for themselves."
He suggested that there are also self-employed workers who need additional income but have been told to apply for a supplementary welfare allowance (SWA).
Deputy Nash suggested: “That is a rigmarole that could be avoided by simply extending the eligibility of the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment.
"It’s not clear why the department won’t budge on this but it is clearly age-based discrimination."
Main image: File photo of Ged Nash speaking to the media outside Leinster House. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie