Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (347)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

357 Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Social Protection the actions she will take to protect the pensions of persons who deferred pension, were employees of a company (details supplied) but were made redundant before the age of 65 years, and who are unable to find employment now. [35248/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The pension rights of scheme members are protected through trust law and by provisions in the Pensions Act 1990. Under trust law, trustees of occupational pension schemes have the principal responsibility for ensuring that the entitlements of the members are adequately protected and that they receive the pensions due to them.

In addition to the safeguards provided by trust law, the Pensions Act 1990 also provides for the regulation of pension schemes in Ireland. Under the Act, defined benefit pension schemes must meet a minimum funding standard which requires that schemes maintain sufficient assets to enable them discharge accrued liabilities in the event of scheme winding up.

The Pensions Act 1990 also provides for the preservation of pension benefits for a member of a scheme whose service in relevant employment terminates before normal retirement age. The payment of preserved pension benefit shall be payable in accordance with, and subject to, the rules of the scheme as at the date of the termination of the relevant employment. In accordance with section 33 of the Act preserved benefit shall be revalued annually in line with the consumer price index. Preserved benefits were revalued by 2.6 per cent for 2011.

While is not possible to comment on a particular scheme, the Government is aware of the financial challenge faced by many pension schemes. A number of changes have been made to the Pensions Act in recent years to assist the trustees of scheme meet these challenges.

It is also important for an individual who is currently not in employment to maintain their social insurance record so as to maximise their social welfare entitlements.