Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has said the demographic pressures facing her department will have to be taken into account in the upcoming Budget.
Ms Burton said the final decisions rest with herself, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore.
Ms Burton said getting people back to work is a priority.
She said from an economic point of view, a situation whereby the social welfare system supports casual employees of large private sector companies such as Dunnes Stores or Tesco is effective in the short term.
She added that schemes such as this encourage the long term unemployed to re-enter the workforce.
However she said such schemes are not sustainable in the long term.
Ms Burton also denied that she is at odds with the Taoiseach over measures to reduce long-term unemployment.
Speaking to RTÉ News Ms Burton said the Taoiseach was one her "strongest supporters" at Cabinet in relation to getting people back to work.
"Both in Government and at the cabinet sub-committee which the Taoiseach chairs he is outspoken in his praise for the achievements of the department in turning social welfare around."