Thursday, 30 May 2019

Questions (6)

Éamon Ó Cuív


6. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of cases due for review under the new total contribution system for assessing pensioners for contributory State pensions; the number of cases reviewed and finalised to date; the number of these cases that resulted in an increase in pension of between up to €10, between €10 and €20, between €20 and €30 and over €30 per week; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22847/19]

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 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. 

Regardless of when a review is conducted, where an increase in payment is due, the person's rate of payment is adjusted without delay and arrears paid, 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.

As at 23 May 2019, 47,755 reviews - which is over half of all pensioners identified for review - have been completed.  Of these, 23,523 pensioners received an increase in their rate of weekly rate of pension and 24,232 are remaining on their existing rate of payment.  

The detailed breakdown requested by the Deputy is not readily available.  

However, based on a sample analysis of some of the increases awarded, the best estimate at this stage is that 13% of those who received an increase received a weekly increase of €30 or more; 36% received a weekly increase of between €20 and €30; 7% received an increase of between €10 and €20; with the highest proportion, 44%, receiving an increase of up to €10 per week.  Importantly, most of those who received less than €10 following their review achieved maximum personal contributory pension rate, which cannot be further improved upon. 

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.