Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath has announced a €5 increase in weekly pension payments in today's Budget.

The minister also said he would raise the living alone allowance by €3 to ensure the well-being of many thousands of the country's older citizens are protected in the year ahead.

Overall, the minister announced a social welfare package worth €558m.

This sees an increase of €5 for weekly payments for working age, while young jobseekers will also be paid another €5.

Mr McGrath said that he was acutely aware of the impact on households of increasing energy costs.

To directly address this, the weekly rate of the Fuel Allowance will increase by €5 with the rise due to apply from midnight tonight.

To support families, the minister said he would increase the duration of Parent's Benefit by two weeks to seven weeks from July next year.

From June next year, the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance will also rise by €10, while the income threshold for the Working Family Payment will also increase by €10 for all families.

To support carer's and people with disabilities, from January next year the Domiciliary Care Allowance has been increased from three to six months and the rate of Wage Subsidy Scheme for people with disabilities will rise by €1 an hour.

From June next year, the income disregard for Carer's Allowance will rise from €332.50 to €350 for a single person and from €665 to €750 for a couple.

The Capital Disregard for Carer's Allowance is also rising from €20,000 to €50,000, while the earnings limit on Disability Allowance will increase from €350 to €375.

The general weekly means disregard for Disability Allowance will up from €2.50 to €7.60 a week.

The Minister for Social Protection said young people have been targetted as part of her department's package for Budget 2022.

It includes treatment benefit for people aged between 25 and 28 years.

The minimum requirement of five years (260 weeks) of PRSI paid contributions is reduced to nine months (39 weeks) to access the benefit.

This will be effective from June 2022.

A grant of €500 for conditions such as Alopecia or people undergoing chemotherapy has also been announced to assist with wigs/hairpieces.

On fuel poverty, Minister Humphreys said the real issues centre around the cost of heating and there are measures in place in the budget for retrofitting.

She said that with all budgets there are choices to be made but in the round, there are many benefits.

Minister Humphreys secured over €870m which is the largest Social Welfare package in over a decade.

She said it is a balanced, targetted budget that will improve people's lives on the ground.

On the State pension, she pointed out there were increases in the fuel allowance and in the living alone allowance.

The minister said she wanted to help carers in particular and she said carer groups have welcomed this.

She questioned if she raised the State pension to €10, what would she do for carers.

Thousands of carers will benefit from the Budget, she said.

"When you look at examples in change of incomes, for some of them it's significant."

Additional reporting Ailbhe Conneely