The job grant for younger people should be available to the thousands of older residents in Dundee without work, says a Conservative MSP.
Bill Bowman said the one-off payment is discriminatory for only helping those aged 16-24 with the costs of finding a job.
Dundee has the highest proportion of residents aged over 50 claiming out-of-work benefits in Scotland.
Mr Bowman said the jobs problem is worsening in the city, with the Michelin and McGill closures as well as “possible redundancies following SNP council budget cuts”.
“Dundee in my region has the lowest employment rate in Scotland and there are significant numbers of older people who are out of work,” the North East MSP said.
“Taking this into account can the minister explain the fairness of this discrimination against the older job market in this grant being solely offered to young people?” Mr Bowman asked in Holyrood.
Social Security Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville said the job grant is just one part of the Scottish Government’s drive to help people into work.
“I’m disappointed that this job grant is being viewed in such a manner,” she said in reply to Mr Bowman.
“If the Conservatives were genuinely interested in broadening it out or genuinely interested in another proposal I would have expected to see the details of that during the Scottish Budget process.”
The proposed job grant is claimable by young people to help with the costs associated with securing work, such as buying a suit or travelling to interviews.
Cash payments of £400 for those with children and £250 for those without are available.
The Scottish Government is consulting on the plans.
Previously Ms Somerville said: “The job grant will smooth the transition into employment for young people on low incomes, and help to meet some of the costs associated with entering and remaining in employment, for example, clothing, lunches, and transport.”
As of January, there are 1,060 people aged 50 or older in Dundee claiming out-of-work benefits, a rate of 3.9%.
For those aged over 16 in the city, the claimant count is 4,355, or 4.4%.