There is good budget news for pensioners and people on social welfare today.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, says single people will get a Christmas bonus of €115 this year, while couples will get €220 - a rise of 50% on last year.
The bonus scheme was scrapped during the downturn, but began to be re-introduced last year.
Writing in today's Irish Independent, Ms Burton also confirms that next month's budget statement will bring increased investment in health, education and childcare.
She said: "In money terms, a 50% bonus would mean an extra €115 at Christmas for a person on the State contributory pension, and almost €220 extra for a pensioner couple. It would mean an extra €102 for a carer, and more if that carer has children."
Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, the charity that provides services for older people in need, said: “We welcome the proposed increase to the Christmas Bonus and see it as a positive step towards restoring adequate supports for older people.
“However, we have not forgotten the extent of cuts that older people have been subject to by this Government, an increase to the Christmas Bonus constitutes the equivalent of €1 per week and does not outweigh the harm that has been done in recent years.
“Older people are still struggling under the harsh weight of cuts to Government supports and the high increases to living costs.”
“We have been calling on the government to increase the state pension by implementing the triple lock model which has proven successful in the UK and elsewhere.
“The triple lock model of pension increases means that, once every year the state pension is raised in accordance with either the growth in average earnings, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), or by 2.5%.”