Special arrangements were introduced for old age contributory and retirement pension purposes in 1991 to cater for people with a mixture of full-rate and modified rate PRSI. The revised arrangements provided for the payment of pro-rata pensions in proportion to the periods of insurance completed at the class A rate. These arrangements are similar to those which apply under the EU regulations to people with a mixture of insurance in a number of different EU member states.
In addition, the qualifying conditions for entitlement to the old age contributory pension were significantly eased in 1997, when entitlement to reduced rate pensions was extended to those with yearly averages of between ten and 19 contributions. Under this measure many former public servants who had already qualified for pro-rata pensions became entitled to enhanced pensions. The new arrangements to take account of pre-1953 contributions, which came into effect from 5 May this year, will also benefit people with mixed insurance records.
My Department is currently reviewing the qualifying conditions for old age contributory, OACP, and retirement pensions, RP. The report on the first phase of this review was published recently and recommended, amongst other things, that the average contribution test, on which entitlement is currently based, be replaced by a system based on the actual number of contributions paid. The implementation of this system will be considered in the second phase of the review, which will also include an examination of the homemaker's scheme.
Question No. 800 taken with Question No. 109.
Question No. 801 taken with Question No. 108.