Since late September 2018, my Department has been examining the social insurance records of approximately 90,000 pensioners, born on or after 1 September 1946, who have a reduced rate State pension contributory entitlement on post Budget 2012 rate-bands. These payments are being reviewed under a new Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to pension calculation which includes provision for homecaring periods.
Over 100 temporary resources have been recruited to separately process the pension reviews of existing claimants. In some cases, additional information about gap periods in their social insurance record is required from claimants in order to assess their eligibility for homecaring periods and then review their payment under the new calculation.
New claimants who have a reduced rate pension entitlement under existing legislation are being paid at this rate with a subsequent review under the new arrangements legislated to follow in Q1 2019, to assess if they qualify for a higher rate under TCP assessment. For some of those recently awarded, additional information about gap periods in their social insurance record is required, while others can be reviewed based on information already held by my Department.
It is expected that arrangements for an integrated process for new claimants (to assess homecaring period entitlement, including requests for additional information in some cases, and the calculation under the new Total Contributions Approach (TCA) ) will be implemented in Quarter 2 2019.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.