IT IS estimated that over 1.5 million people will benefit from the boost of €5 a week to their social welfare and pension payments from today on.
The pay rise was announced as part of Budget 2018.
The €5 a week increase works out at about €260 a year and includes the unemployed, disabled, pensioners, carers, widows and lone parents.
A further new increase of €2 will come into effect for all qualified child dependant, which will include 40,000 children.
The state pension will rise to €243.30 a week under the new legislation, while jobseeker benefit will now total €198 a week.
Maternity benefit will also go up €5 a week to €240, as will illness benefit, to €198 a week.
Speaking about the increase, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said: “If you’re going to announce that there’s a minimum amount of money that people can live on, or need to live on, then it’s not fair to penalise people who are between jobs.”
“Now I know I have a challenge, particularly on the longer-term unemployed people – we need to probably be more assertive to help those people get jobs – but it is a minimum level of money you accept or deem OK for people to live on, then it isn’t fair to penalise one group of people over a different group of people.”
The weekly rate for non-statutory schemes, mostly in relation to employment and education supports, are also set to increase this week.