Wednesday, 10 March 2004

Questions (53)

Seán Ryan


112 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when it is intended to implement the commitment given in An Agreed Programme for Government to remove the requirement whereby a person reaching 65 years must first retire for a period before being able to work and retain a portion of their pensions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7823/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Family)

In addition to satisfying the relevant contribution conditions, those applying for retirement pension at age 65 must be retired from employment or self employment. Retirement is defined as not having earnings from employment of more than €38 per week or earnings from self employment of more than €3,174 per annum.

The retirement pension was introduced in 1970 and was intended to bridge the gap between retirement at 65 years and the pension age for social welfare purposes, which at the time was 70 years of age. The qualifying age for old age pension was subsequently reduced over time to 66 years of age. There is no retirement condition associated with old age contributory or non-contributory pensions, which are both payable at 66 years of age.

The Government is committed, as part of the programme for Government, to removing the requirement to retire at 65 years to receive a retirement pension. Progress in this regard will be made as soon as possible, having regard to the availability of resources and the priority attaching to other elements of the Government programme.