Unprecedented growth in social investment

After a quarter-century freeze, pensioners got €420 million more.

In the period 2013-2023 expenditure on social benefits grew by €494 million – a jump of almost 61% – rising to €1.31 billion. This growth continued in the first quarter of the current year, with an increase of another €39 million.

Over this period, overall investment on retirement, invalidity, widows and age (non-contributory) pensions went up by almost €370 million, an increase of 64.8%.

With the increase in the cost of living, expenditure on bonuses paid separately rose by more than €49 million.

Thus, after a quarter-century freeze, pensioners got €420 million more.

Taken together, the increases in the last 9 years amounted to €2,925 – twice as much was given in the 9 years from 2004 to 2012. Above all, pensioners today have the peace of mind that the increases they take are all exempt from tax.

Pre-2013 administrations also created anomalies in pensions, which are being addressed in a gradual manner. In 2006 the Government split pensioners between those born before 1962 and those born later. Those born earlier were guaranteed just the cost-of-living increase.  For those born after 1962 a mechanism was created to increase each year by a percentage, 70% of which would be based on wage growth and 30% on inflation.

This led to a gap in pension incomes reaching €6,407. This anomaly is now being removed and the mechanism, which is currently intended only for those born after 1962, will apply to everyone. This means that pensioners born before 1962 and whose current salary, if they were still working, exceed their maximum pensionable income, are given an additional increase in their pension of up to a maximum of €9.47 per week. Around 25,000 pensioners or pensioners, including widows, will have benefited from these improvements.

The increase in social investment also included €465 million due to the introduction of new benefits. The biggest expenditure was around €54 million due to the inwork benefit, which goes to around 25,000 families. The second biggest expenditure went to the tapering of social benefits.  In total, expenditure has reached €49 million since 2015. Another €34 million were disbursed as part of the additional mechanism against inflation.

To help families with children the Government created the Child Bonus, the grant for families adopting children, and the supplement for each child of parents who receive the Children’s Allowance. These benefits added just under €27 million.

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