Since the end of September 2018, my Department has been examining the social insurance records of pensioners born on or after 1 September 1946 who were awarded state pension (contributory) on reduced post Budget 2012 rate bands. Information letters were issued to these pensioners explaining that my Department will contact them again to either inform them about the outcome of their review or to request further information in order to complete their review. All of the claims involved will be individually examined, starting with those aged 71 or over. Due to the numbers involved, the process will take a number of months to complete.
Where possible, my Department will use information already held to assist in these reviews. Additional information is being requested from pensioners in relation to unexplained gaps in their social insurance record, if required to complete their review. These information requests also explain how to access my Department’s on-line service to provide the relevant information. This is the quickest and easiest way to provide the requested information. It is expected that the first review outcomes will be notified during Quarter 1 2019.
An information request issued to the person concerned on 11 January 2019. The person, using the dedicated telephone number, stated they would not be able to complete an online application. A form will be sent to the person concerned when the forms become available at the end of February.
Regardless of when a review is completed, where a pensioner qualifies for an increase, their rate will be adjusted without delay and arrears backdated to March 2018, or their 66th birthday if later. If a pensioner does not qualify for an increase, they will continue to receive their existing rate of payment. No personal pension entitlement rates will be reduced as a result of this review.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.