Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Questions (625)

Charlie McConalogue


625. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 1303 of 7 September 2018, the position regarding the proposed legislation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5475/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

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. This work includes new claimants who were awarded reduced rate state pension (contributory) since the Government decision.

The required primary legislative provisions are contained in the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Act 2018, enacted on 24 December 2018. Accompanying regulations will be introduced shortly which will allow certain decisions under the new arrangements to be made.

Over 100 temporary staff have been recruited to separately process the pension reviews. In some cases, additional information about gap periods in social insurance records is required from claimants who have been, or are about to be, awarded a reduced rate state pension (contributory). Given the number of pensioners to be reviewed this work will take a number of months to complete.

It is expected that the additional process to assess HomeCaring Period entitlement (including requesting additional information in some cases) and the calculation under this Total Contributions Approach (the 'aggregated contribution method') will be integrated into the existing claim decision process for all new claimants in Quarter 2, 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.