Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Questions (703)

Kathleen Funchion


703. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason after the consideration of the home caring period of a person (details supplied) the pension rate remained unchanged. [26206/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The state pension (contributory) entitlement of the person concerned was calculated based on the yearly average of their social insurance contributions divided over the number of years of their working life. In that decision, the person benefitted from the maximum allowable homemaking disregard (of 20 years) and currently qualifies for €211.40 weekly (or 85% of maximum rate pension).

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 rate of the person concerned has been examined under the new arrangements and the resultant rate compared to their existing payment rate. It has been determined in this case that the person would receive €195.60 (or 78.75% of the maximum rate of pension). As the highest achievable rate is already in payment, the person is better off to remain on their existing rate of payment.

An advisory letter to this effect has issued to the person concerned. This letter encourages them to contact the dedicated helpline if they want this outcome explained to them in more detail.

For those who do not qualify for the maximum rate State pension (contributory), there are other state pension payments available. Notably, they may qualify for the State pension (non-contributory) which is a means-tested payment (based on their share of household means) with a maximum payment of 95% of State pension (contributory). If their spouse has a contributory pension they may qualify for an increase for a qualified adult, (based on the qualified adult's means), amounting to up to 90% of a full rate pension. Only those with significant means would not be eligible for these payments.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.