Recipients of social welfare – including Farm Assist and the state pension – will start to receive an increase in their weekly welfare payments this week.

This was provided for in Budget 2018, with all increases being in place by this Friday, March 30.

There will be €5 increase in the maximum rate of all weekly payments for pensioners, those on Farm Assist, lone parents, jobseekers, carers, people with disabilities, widows, and people on employment programmes.

The increase to the Farm Assist was implemented as of last Wednesday (March 21), while the pension will be boosted on Friday.

The state non-contributory pension will rise to €232 per week following the increase, while the Farm Assist will jump to €198.

In total, some 1.3 million social welfare recipients and a further 560,000 dependants will benefit from the increases.

The increases build on last year’s Budget measures – the first increases in eight years that were provided by the Government for many social welfare recipients.

This follows on from the announcement last week of the allocation of 250 extra Rural Social Scheme places.

Minister Doherty said: “I am pleased to deliver on the commitments we made in last year’s Budget, and make increased payments to 1.3 million people across the country. This extra money will go to the families who need it most – every week.

The increases in the basic rate for pension payments in Budget 2017 and Budget 2018 is 4.3%. The basic rate increase for most other welfare payments over the two-year period is 5.3%.

The department also operates a number of non-statutory schemes, mostly in relation to employment and education supports.

The weekly rate increases for these schemes will also apply over the course of this week.