The €5 budget increase to all social welfare payments, including the state pension, will be a welcome boost to many next March. However, the potential traps of the state pension system was what really hit the national airwaves last week. Case after case, elderly people talked about losing out on money from the state pension by falling a few contributions short under the Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) system.

On the radio programmes, I heard one case of a woman who had only 460 contributions. As you need a minimum of 520, she lost out completely when she hit 66. The last time she had paid contributions was 1974, so there was plenty of opportunity.