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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 18 October, 2019
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Some pensioners to begin getting €130 a year phone bill allowance to prevent 'social isolation'

Minister Regina Doherty said it’s important to stay in contact with family and friends as we get older.

File photo
File photo
Image: ellenaz/shutterstock

THE GOVERNMENT HAS announced that a new social welfare payment comes into effect this week.

The Telephone Support Allowance of €2.50 a week is aimed at people who live alone, and are already in receipt of other social welfare payments.

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty said that the purpose of the payment is to “help prevent social isolation among more vulnerable members of society”.

Those eligible for the allowance will receive their first payment this week, with some getting it as early as today.

The department has written to the roughly 126,000 people who are eligible for the payment.

Those eligible will receive it automatically without the need to contact the department.

The criteria to qualify are to already be in receipt of one of the following payments, in addition to both the Living Alone Allowance and the Fuel Allowance:

  • State Pension
  • Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Disability Allowance
  • Blind Pension
  • Disablement Pension
  • Deserted Wife’s Benefit

The department said: “Worth €130 per year, it is aimed at encouraging social contact and preventing isolation for those who live alone.

All eligible customers will receive it automatically as an additional sum on top of their primary weekly payment.

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Sean Murray

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