Question to the Minister for Social Protection (Ms. Joan Burton, TD)

To ask the Minister for Social Protection the number of elderly supports, schemes or grants that are currently funded in her Department; if she will provide, in tabular form, the annual funding for each scheme or support; the number of persons benefiting from these; the terms and conditions of each scheme; any additional demand being sought; and if she will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer

For WRITTEN ANSWER on 12, May, 2015.


There are a large number of schemes, and specific measures contained within schemes, that are of benefit to older people under the social welfare code. The most notable of these, which are exclusively for those over the age of 66, are the State pensions (contributory and non-contributory).

State pensions account for the single largest block of social welfare expenditure, and while expenditure on pensions is increasing because of demographic pressures, this is being successfully managed within the overall welfare budget. This year, the Department of Social Protection will spend an estimated €6.675 billion on pensions – 34.4% of all welfare expenditure and an increase of €168 million over 2014.

The most recent Statistical Report from my Department is in respect of 2013. The following table outlines the number of recipients and the level of expenditure on the schemes most relevant to elderly people in that year. In some cases, an allowance may be claimed in conjunction with primary payment, and so these figures cannot be added to arrive at a cumulative number of elderly people benefitting from these schemes. In some cases the figures is a rounded total.


Scheme Claimants in 2013 Total Spend in 2013
State Pension Contributory 329,531 €3,983m
State Pension Non-Contributory 95,801 €953m
State Pension Transition* 12,630 €137m
Over 80’s Allowance 143,000 €75m
Household Benefits Package** 415,000 €290m
Fuel Allowance** 412,741 €227m
Free Travel** 782,529 €75m
Living Alone Allowance** 178,000 €71m

* State pension (transition) was abolished 2014

** These figures are inclusive of people aged under 66 who are on other qualifying schemes

A number of other schemes, while not targeted at the elderly, can also be availed for by older people.

The terms and conditions for qualification for all schemes supporting the elderly involve too much detail to fit into the answer of a Parliamentary Question. However, they are published on the Department’s website,, and in publications produced by the Department, as are detailed statistical reports of such schemes.