The Society of St Vincent de Paul has called on the Government to increase social welfare payments by at least 3.25%.
Ireland's largest charity said a rise is needed to reflect the increase in the cost of a minimum essential standard of living over the past five years.
Presenting its pre-budget submission, the charity said it is spending €80m a year on people in need, which is an increase of more than half since 2008.
It also underlined that a quarter of the Republic's children are growing up in a home where nobody has a job.
Helping households to meet fuel and energy bills costs the society €11m a year, an increase of almost 200% since the onset of the recession.
SVP National President Geoff Meagher said the average cost of a minimum essential standard of living has increased by 3.25% in the past five years, much faster than the general inflation rate.
The organisation called on the Government to increase social welfare and related payments to meet that increase.
The Society is being approached for help by an increasing number of employees on low pay and reduced working hours.
It urged the Government to ensure that the working poor benefit from any reduction in income taxes by adjusting tax credits rather than tax bands or the marginal rate and by restoring the PRSI free allowance.