Social welfare rates raised by €12 a week in budget, with one-offs for fuel and ‘Christmas bonus’

Budget 2024: Every PAYE worker to see their PRSI contributions increase from next year

Cost of living

Core social welfare rates are to increase by €12 a week, bringing most to €232 in Budget 2024, while every PAYE worker will see their PRSI payments increase by 0.1 per cent – the first of at least five annual increases – from October 2024.

Recipients of core payments will get the double payment, known as the “Christmas bonus” in early December and an additional double payment, a “cost of living payment”, in January.

As widely anticipated, in what was heralded by Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys as the “largest social protection package in the history of the State”, a mix of one-off lump sums and credits as well as increases in other payments will make up her €2.3 billion budget.

Aimed at cushioning the most vulnerable households coming into the winter and new year with a range of lump-sum payments, it has, however, disappointed advocacy groups who wanted to see a greater focus on larger, permanent increases in weekly payments.


Universal payments will include three energy credits per household of €150, to be paid between the end of this year and April 2024, and a double payment of the €140 a month child benefit in respect of every qualifying child before Christmas. There will also be a double payment of foster carers allowance.

The monthly rate of the domiciliary care allowance will increase by €10, and child benefit will be paid in respect of all 18-year-olds still in full-time education. This had been paid in respect of children only until their 18th birthday, even if they were still in school. This comes into effect in September 2024.

A wide range of lump sums will be paid before and after Christmas.

In November, recipients of fuel allowance will get a €300 lump sum, while those in receipt of the living alone allowance will get an additional €200 lump sum. Weekly social welfare payment recipients will receive a once-off double-week payment in January and the Christmas bonus will be paid in early December.

There will be a one-off payment of €400 in November to recipients of the carers support grant, disability allowance, blind pension, invalidity pension or the domiciliary care allowance. Also in November, a €400 lump sum payment will go to recipients of the working family payment.

There will also be a lump sum of €100 paid to parents or guardians in respect of children who qualify for what is known as the “qualified child” payment. This is paid in respect of children who are dependent on adults in receipt of core social welfare payments. This will be paid in November.

Child poverty will be targeted, with a permanent increase in the qualified child payment by €4 to €46 a week for under-12s and €54 for over-12s.

The hot school meal programme will be extended to a further 900 primary schools from April next year, bringing the number to 2,000, or two-thirds of all primary schools.

The income threshold for the working family payment is to increase by €54 a week, effective from January to ensure families in receipt of the payment do not lose out when the minimum wage increases to €12.70 per hour.

Minister Humphreys further announced workers’ PRSI payments would increase by 0.1 per cent in a year’s time. This increase would be an annual one over at least the next five years and was to fund the cost of retaining the pensions age at 66. It would cost the average worker on €45,000 to €50,000 about 90 cent a week.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times