Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Questions (357)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

357. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if consideration is being given to allowing applicants to combine work-related PRSI contributions and home care time credits in cases in which the period of time working at home was extended due to additional caring responsibilities which prevented the applicant from returning to the workforce in the context of the new total contributions approach for calculating entitlements to the State pension, contributory, such as in an example (details supplied). [12681/19]

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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.

The legislation introduced provides for the new homecaring periods and calculation method. The qualifying conditions for the state pension (contributory) scheme have not changed. For example, a minimum requirement of 520 paid social insurance contributions remains a condition of the scheme.

The Government intends to introduce a Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to establishing the level of entitlement for all new state pension contributory claims from 2020 onwards (TCA2020).

I launched a public consultation on the design of the full TCA to be introduced from 2020 on 28th May 2018 to which a wide variety of stakeholder groups were invited. A number of workshops were also held on the day to elicit views and feedback. All Oireachtas members were invited to a detailed briefing in Leinster House by my officials shortly afterwards. The consultation was open for over three months and the Department received almost 300 responses from individuals and organisations. Those submissions outlined the views of respondents on a number of issues, including the number of years required for a full pension, as intended as part of the consultation process.

I intend to bring a proposal to Government, setting out the proposed details of the scheme, having considered the outcome of the consultation. When the Government has agreed the approach to be taken, I will initiate the work required to introduce this reform, including the necessary legislation and systems development.

People will be informed of the details of the scheme as soon as possible, following the Government decision.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.