Budget 2024 has affected different categories of pensioners. improving their income. By looking at a number of examples, The Journal has verified the extent to which this is the case and found that, while the headline increase for pensioners was of €15 per week, in reality they will be getting much more than that.
A pensioner couple
A pensioner couplewho both earn a contributory pension will both get €15 a week increase in their benefit. Since they still live in their residence, and one of them has just turned 80, their Senior Citizen Grant will go up by €50. Thanks to the changes effected in the additional mechanism against inflation, the so-called additional COLA, they will benefit for the first time from it and get a payment of around €280. All together, these measures will increase the couple’s income by €1,890 per year or almost €36 per week. None of this increase will be taxed, in contrast to the tax rules that had prevailed before 2013, when pension income was taxed. Under the rules effective under the previous Nationalist administration, this couple would have lost €234 in taxes.
A single pensioner
A single pensionerwho retired two years ago will get, in addition to the weekly increase of €15 in their pension, an improvement of another €1 per week as Government is continuing to address an anomaly in the award of cost-of-living allowance to pensioners that was introduced by the previous Nationalist administration. They will also receive around €170 as part of the additional mechanism against inflation. Taken together, their income will increase by €1,003 per year or €19 per week.
A widow/er will also benefit from an increase bigger than the standard €15 per week given to all pensioners. This is because the current government will continue to adjust widow/ers’ pensions to remove the automatic reduction that was made in these pensions by previous administrations. Widow/ers will also get €130 from the additional COLA mechanism. In total, they will see an increase in their income of almost €1,000 per year or €19 per week. Under a Nationalist government, their pension income would have incurred a €130 tax bill.
A workerwho’s thinking of quitting work next year, when they turn 61, now faces very different incentives than under a Nationalist administration. Thanks to the changes that have been introduced, if they stay in employment until the age of 64, their pension will cumulatively increase by 21%. This would lead to an additional pension income of €2,977 per year or €57 per week.
A couple aged 80+
A couple aged over 80 on the age pension will also get the €15 weekly increase in their pension. In addition, they will gain €50 in the bonus they get once a year because they paid contributions but not enough to get a contributory pension. Since they are both over 80, their Senior Citizens Grant increases by a further €50. This is in addition to the Supplementary Assistance, which they will continue to receive at the maximum rate, free medicines, and a payment of almost €400 as an additional benefit against the cost of living. This means that, for this couple, the Budget will lead to an improvement of €1,380 per year or almost €27 per week.
Photo credit: Kampus Production