Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Questions (354)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

354. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of reviews conducted and completed to date in respect of the changes made to the contributory pension in 2012; the number of outstanding reviews that remain to be conducted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12677/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

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 based 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.

Reviews commenced from 13 February 2019, the date I signed the necessary regulations which, together with provisions in the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registrations Act 2018, allow the increased payments to be made. By week ending Friday 8 March 2019, 4,254 reviews have been completed.

Outcomes will issue to all pensioners in writing when their review is completed. It will take a number of months to complete all the reviews due to the numbers involved. Over 100 temporary staff have been recruited to help with this work.

Regardless of whether a review is conducted, where an increase in payment is due, it will be made without delay and will include arrears of pension backdated to 30 March 2018, or the pensioner’s 66th birthday if later. Where pension rates do not increase following a review, the person will continue to be paid at their existing rate of payment. Reviews will continue to be processed until all identified pensioners receive their review outcome in writing.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.