Alarming increase in poverty rates for older people, say ALONE
New CSO-SILC data released this week shows that older people living alone are
at highest risk of poverty of all households
CSO-SILC data released this week has shown an alarming increase in the number of older people living in and at risk of poverty, says ALONE, the charity that enables older people to age at home. The over 65 years age group is the only one to see significant growth in the ‘at risk of poverty’ category.
The ‘at risk of poverty rate’ for all older people aged 65+ has almost doubled since 2020 (9.8% to 19%). This indicates that we have over 160,000 older people in Ireland today living in poverty or at risk of poverty. This represents the highest increase of any age group, say the charity.
The organisation has said the outlook is “particularly concerning” for older people living alone. The data shows that more than 1 in 3 people aged 65+ living alone are at risk of poverty, the highest rate of all households surveyed. Unsurprisingly, people aged 65+ living alone also had the lowest household income, at €16,840.
During the winter months of 2022, ALONE’s National Support and Referral Line saw calls relating to financial and legal difficulties grow by over 400% compared to the same period in 2021.
Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said, “The increase in the poverty rates for older people are alarming. These are the highest increases of any age group and are reflective of the damaging impact of increasing cost of living on older people, particularly those who are living alone. They go a long way to challenging the perception that older people have all the wealth in Ireland when 1 in 5 are at risk of poverty.”
“We have been seeing the stark realities of what some older people are experiencing for some time now. During the winter months of 2022, our National Support and Referral Line saw calls relating to financial and legal difficulties grow by over 400% compared to the same period in 2021. A significant number of older people we work with are struggling to pay their heating bills and meet their day-to-day costs. Ahead of Budget 2023 we called on Government to implement benchmarking of the State Pension and increase the pension rates by a minimum of €20, to prevent exactly this outcome.”
The data also shows that the consistent poverty rate for older people has more than tripled since 2020, increasing from 1% to 3.3%.
“We welcomed the announcement of a €200 one-off payment for older people on a state pension yesterday, but also called for the benchmarking of the State Pension,” Moynihan continued. “Government committed to implementing benchmarking of the pension by Budget 2021. More than two years on, we are seeing the ongoing consequences of Government inaction.”
If you or any older people that you know need any support, please visit alone.ie or call our National Support and Referral Line on 0818 222 024.