Written answers

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Eligibility

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent)
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1120. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the entitlements for persons between 66 and 67 years of age in view of the increase in the retirement age (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2614/20]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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The Social Welfare and Pensions Act, 2011 provided for an increase in the age for qualification for the State pension from 66 years to 67 years from 2021. 

Social welfare legislation states that jobseekers payments may be made until a person reaches pensionable age and also provides that the definition of "pensionable age" will increase as State pension age increases. This means that a person over 65 years and in receipt of jobseekers benefit will generally continue to receive benefit (even if it was due to exhaust after 9 or 6 months dependant on the PRSI contributions paid) until they reach State pension age if they continue to satisfy the rules of the jobseeker’s benefit scheme. Similarly, people who retire on or after 1 January 2021 before reaching the State pension age of 67 who qualify for jobseeker’s benefit and have at least 156 PRSI contribution weeks paid may continue to receive a jobseekers payment until pension age.

There is no statutory retirement age in Ireland and the age at which employees retire is a matter for the contract of employment between them and their employer. While such a contract may have been entered into with a retirement age of 65 in the context of previous State pension arrangements, there is no legal impediment to the employer and employee agreeing to increase the duration of employment by one or more years if both parties agree.   

 Any changes to the above would require consideration in the overall policy and budgetary context, and would require Government approval.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.


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