Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (1400)

Robert Troy

Question:

1400. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when the pension review will be completed; and the percentage of same that resulted in an increase. [18559/19]

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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.  Almost 43,000 requests for information have been 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, allows the increased payments to be made.  As at the 02 May 2019, 34,248 reviews have been completed.  Of these, 19,085 received an increase in their rate of pension, with 15,163 continuing to receive their existing rate of payment.  The remaining review outcomes will issue as individual reviews are completed.

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 issued backdated to 30 March 2018, or the person's 66th birthday if later.  Where a person's rate does not increase following review, the person will continue to receive their existing rate of payment.

It will take a number of months to complete the reviews due to the numbers involved and the individual nature of social insurance records. This work will continue until all identified pensioners receive their review outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.