Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Questions (727)

Mick Barry

Question:

727. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the measures she will take to address the losses in pension income suffered by tens of thousands of women arising from the 2012 reforms introduced by her predecessor; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26853/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

As announced in January 2018, pensioners born on or after the 1st September 1946, affected by the 2012 changes in rate bands, will have their state pension (contributory) entitlement calculated under an interim 'Total Contributions Approach' (TCA). These changes also provide for up to 20 years of home caring periods in the pension entitlement calculation, for those who took time out of the workplace for parenting or caring duties.

My Department is currently implementing reviews in respect of pensioners who reached pension age on or after 1 September 2012, many of whom were affected by the rateband changes and some of whom were not, but who may benefit from the new scheme, notably the provisions regarding Homecaring. To date, over 26,000 such pensioners have benefitted, and others are expected to benefit as reviews progress. It is important to note that nobody is worse off as a result of these reviews, with pensioners receiving the same amount as they previously did if the reviews do not warrant an increase.

The Government intends to introduce a Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to establishing the level of entitlement for all new state pension contributory claims from 2020 onwards.

I launched a public consultation on the design of the full TCA on the 28th of May 2018 to which a wide variety of stakeholder groups were invited. A number of workshops were also held on the day to elicit views and feedback. All Oireachtas members were invited to a detailed briefing in Leinster House by my officials shortly afterwards. The consultation was open for over 3 months and the Department received almost 300 responses from individuals and organisations. Those submissions outlined the views of respondents on a number of issues, including the number of years required for a full pension, as intended as part of the consultation process.

Having carefully examined the outputs of the consultation process, my Department is now finalising the scheme and I intend to shortly bring a proposal to Government setting out that design. When the Government has agreed the approach to be taken, I will initiate the work required to introduce this reform.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.