CORK TD Seán Sherlock has called on the Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys to explain the loss of €45 per week for people who retire at 65 following the announcement of a revised benefit payment.
People aged 65 will no longer have to sign on or be genuinely seeking work to receive social welfare income support in the year between retirement and qualifying for the State pension following the announcement from Ms Humphreys.
The new "Benefit Payment for 65-year-olds" will apply to people aged between 65 and 66, "who cease employment, whether voluntarily or otherwise".
Labour Social Protection spokesperson Seán Sherlock highlighted that the newly revised benefit payment is €45.30 less per week than the old age pension despite Coalition parties committing to the full rate during last year’s election.
Deputy Sherlock said: “This announcement is a rebranding of Jobseekers payments and it is not equivalent to the previous State Pension Transition Payment.
The TD for Cork East has called on the Minister to clarify this matter immediately. “The Minister must clarify why the State Pension Transition payment will result in the loss of €45 because it is due to be paid at the same rate as Jobseekers Payment.
“Fine Gael committed in the recent election to paying a transition payment at the same rate as the State Pension but the Minister has failed to deliver. This new payment will also only be available to those who retire at the age of 65,” he added.
Mr Sherlock wants a pension architecture that is realistic. “We want to ensure that we recognise the dignity of people who have toiled. We need to set up a pensions architecture that is realistic.”
Cork TD Thomas Gould, has described the situation as an 'utter insult'.
“One year on from the 2020 general election, when the electorate demanded meaningful action in relation to the entitlement of a State pension, the government has delivered nothing but an utter insult to retiring workers.
“The announcement by the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, that those retiring at 65 will receive a jobseekers payment without having to sign on does not address the substantial issue that workers who have worked hard all their lives and paid into the system are being denied a State Pension,” he said.
“This move does not deliver a State Pension for these retiring workers, and these workers will be short €45 a week; which is over €2,000 a year.
“The government has simply repackaged the dole and tried to pass it off as the State Pension for over-65s. Delivering on the right to retire at 65 was a key issue in the last election and it hasn’t gone away.”
Mr Gould said all workers should have the right to retire at 65.
“The repackaging of the dole does not address the key issue. All workers should have the right to retire with a State Pension at 65, if they so choose,” he added.