As promised by the government there were no cuts to core weekly benefit payments in Budget 2014 – but there were some decreases to Invalidity Pension hidden in the small print. These cuts will save the government €5 million in 2014 alone.
Currently – someone on Invalidity Pension reaching 65 would get a higher rate of €230.30 instead of the €193.50 rate. From Jan 2014 anyone reaching 65 will continue to get the standard Invalidity Pension of €193.50 per week. This change will apply to Invalidity Pensioners who reach their 65th birthday on or after Jan 1st 2014. Existing 65 year olds are unaffected.
All Invalidity Pension recipients (existing and new ) will continue to be automatically transferred to State Pension (Contributory) when they reach the age of 66 years and they will then receive a weekly rate of €230.30.
A bigger change was made to the rates paid to partners (“qualified adults” ) of Invalidity Pensioners . Currently – if the partner is aged 66 or more the Invalidity claimant gets an extra €206.30 a week for them. From January this rate will be cut to €138.10 per week (the same as the rate for under 66’s) . A decrease of €68.20 per week.
The government described this as “standardising” the rate – no mention of cuts or decreases.
This cut will only apply to spouses and partners aged 66 or over who reach their 66th birthday from January 2014. Existing spouses and partners aged 66 and over are unaffected.