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Budget 2023: How possible measures could affect pensioners

Budget 2023 is just days away, and and supports are expected to be on the way to help pensioners and the elderly who have been among the worst affected by the cost of living crisis.

This year's Budget is gearing up to have the largest cost of living package ever at a cost of at least €2 billion, the biggest cost of living package in Budget history. Among proposals are plans to see social welfare recipients handed a one-off double payment in addition to the Christmas bonus, which is another double payment issued around the start of December, energy payments, social welfare increases, and more.

Budget 2023 is likely to affect pensioners as Government officials eye an increase in how much they will receive each week in their pay package, as well as much needed energy credits and changes in store for healthcare.

Read more: Budget 2023: Survey indicates public is 'split down the middle' over raising social welfare

Social Welfare and Pension

The government is expected to announce a hike of at least €10 in pension and social welfare payments as part of Budget 2023. Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe published the Tax Strategy Group papers earlier this year, which stated plans to be examined by the Government during the last month of budget negotiations.

All of the social welfare packages outlined in the Tax Strategy Group papers include a double-digit increase in weekly payments ranging from €10 to €15. Ongoing negotiations means that it is most likely that the pensioners may see an increase of €10 in their pension in Budget 2023, due to limited resources and the need to focus on the energy crisis.

This would mean the majority of people receiving social welfare payments would receive €223 per week, while a person on the State pension would see their pay packet increase to €268 per week. In addition, Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys is also planning to introduce a new pension system in place by 2024, while a ban on mandatory retirement ages will also be introduced to ensure people can take advantage of the new pension system.

Under the new proposed scheme, people who leave work at 66 will be entitled to the current weekly rate of €253 a week but anyone who remains in work longer will get a higher payment. The new system will see someone retiring at 67 taking home a weekly State pension of €266, while someone retiring at 68 will receive €281 while those retiring at 69 will get €297. Those who work until the age of 70 will receive €315 per week under the new plan.

This decision has been brought in with the hopes of ending the long-time debate on increasing the pension age to 67, and these rates are expected to see a major increase in the Budget. Ongoing negotiations hope to see the pension rate jump by at least €10 a week.

Energy Costs

As energy bills continue to climb, those on a state or old age pension are set to be entitled to energy credits that have been proposed by the Government. To combat the sky-rocketing energy bills, a total of three €200 energy credits have been proposed by Government, and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has indicated that one payment could be made before Christmas, with the other two €200 lump sums to be paid before spring.

Healthcare

For old age pensioners, healthcare is of vital importance and this year Health Minister Stephen Donnelly is likely to get money in the Budget to allow him scrap hospital fees for adults, and he is also hoping to get money to allow him to get waiting lists under control.

Meanwhile, Covid-19 and the flu are most likely to cause a strain on the Irish healthcare system this year, and Budget 2023 is expected to also include Government's plans to support the system.

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