There has been a big jump in the number of Irish 65-year olds claiming the dole – because of an increase in the qualifying age for the State Pension.
In 2014 the rules were changed to increase the qualifying age from 65 to 66. The group Age Action published figures obtained from Ireland’s Department of Social Protection which showed that there are 489 people aged 64 on the Dole, which is consistent with expectations. But this jumps to nearly 2,500 for those aged 65.
Age Action’s Justin Moran said: “No other age group is on Jobseeker’s like the 65-year olds, even 35- year olds have half the number,”
He suggested this is because people are being required to leave their jobs aged 65 but cannot get their pension until they are 66.
Until 2014 those retiring at 65 and entitled to the full contributory pension got €232 a week. Now they must apply for Jobseeker’s Benefit in the meantime.
The qualifying age is due to go up again in twelve years time, 2028, to 68 years.
Said Mr Moran: “(This) was simply not thought through. We have growing numbers of older people forced out of their jobs for no other reason than they’re turning 65 but they must wait another year until they’re entitled to the State Pension.
“It is madness to force experienced, capable workers out of their jobs and to put them on the Dole.” He said in Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand mandatory retirement ages had been abolished.