Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Questions (577)

Fiona O'Loughlin


577. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of the review of pensions affected by the 2012 contributory pensions changes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16108/19]

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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.

Wherever possible, reviews will be processed based on information already held by the Department. Where additional information is required about gap periods in a person's social insurance record, a written request will issue.  To date, over 36,900 requests for information have issued. 

Reviews commenced from 13 February 2019, the day after 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.  As at 2 April 2019, 13,915 reviews have been completed and outcomes issued.  Of these, 10,398 have resulted in an increase in payment and 3,517 continue to receive their existing rate. 

It will take a number of months to complete all the reviews due to the numbers involved and the individual nature of social insurance records.  Regardless of when a review is conducted, where an increase in payment is due, the person's rate of payment will be adjusted without delay and arrears paid backdated to 30 March 2018, or the pensioner’s 66th birthday if later.  Where a person's rate does not increase following a review, the person will continue to receive their existing rate of payment.  

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Question No. 578 answered with Question No. 575.