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Some 64,500 Cork pensioners received an increase in their weekly payment this week, according to Cork East Fine Gael TD and Minister of State at the Department of Justice, David Stanton. The increase in payment rates, which implements the changes agreed in Budget 2018, also applies to all other social welfare recipients.

“On Monday, March 26th, the State Pension increased by €5 per week for those on maximum weekly rates, with proportionate increases for those on reduced rates. The Budget 2018 increase of €5 per week for pensioners on maximum payment rates results in a total increase of €13 per week over the last 3 Fine Gael budgets. Prior to that pensioners hadn’t seen any increases since 2009.

“Further improved supports for the older members of our communities, a new weekly Telephone Support Allowance will be paid from June to those receiving the Living Alone Allowance, and the weekly Fuel Allowance of €22.50 will be paid for 27 weeks this year, extended from 26 weeks in 2017”, said Minister Stanton.

“An extra €10 million is also being provided towards the Free Travel Scheme in 2018, which increases the total funding for this scheme to €90 million. A free travel pass, which entitles the holder to use public transport for free, is available to all persons aged over 66 in receipt of a State Pension and also many other social welfare recipients, including those in receipt of widows pensions, many disability payments and those receiving Carers Allowance.

“In addition to these increases, there will also be a €5 increase in the maximum rate of all weekly payments for lone parents, jobseekers, carers, people with disabilities, widows, and people on employment programmes. A €2 increase for each qualified dependent child will also come into effect – the first such increase since 2010. Dependent adult and people on reduced rate payments will receive proportionate increases while jobseekers, aged 26 and under, will receive the full €5 increase.

“These supports continue the process of building a fairer and more inclusive society, incentivise and reward work and strengthen welfare supports for those who may need them, ” concluded Minister Stanton.