Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Questions (601)

John Brady


601. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons who have had their State pension (contributory) payment reviewed; the number of reviews in which the payment rate was found to be incorrect; the number of persons who have seen an increase in their pension payment; and the value of increases being awarded. [25024/19]

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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.

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.

To date, 26,119 pensioners received an increase in their weekly rate of payment.

The current pension rate review involves applying the new aggregated contribution method calculation to existing claimants born on or after 1 September 1946 and in doing so, taking into account any eligible HomeCaring Periods the pensioner may have. The resultant payment rate is then compared by the Deciding Officer against the person's current rate of pension, calculated under the yearly average calculation method at the time of the original pension award. Where an increase is due, it is paid from the next available payment date, together with arrears backdated to 30 March 2018, or the pensioner's 66th birthday if later. Where no increase is due following review, the person will continue to receive their existing rate of payment. No one will be worse off as a result of this review.

The average weekly increase in personal rate of payment for those reviewed to 13 June 2019 is estimated to be approximately €19.90 per week.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.