Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Questions (549)

Tom Neville


549. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person (details supplied) has entitlement to have the award of the maximum rate of contributory pension backdated to the date the person qualified at the reduced rate; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46309/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The person concerned applied for state pension (contributory) on 17 May 2017, and was awarded a reduced rate pension from 29 July 2017, their 66th birthday, based on their social insurance record as held by my Department at that time.

Their pension entitlement was reviewed under a new Total Contributions Approach, launched in January 2018, which provides for the award of HomeCaring Periods, for time spent out of the workforce for caring duties. While they had a pension entitlement under this approach, it was at a lower rate than their existing payment. They were notified in writing of this decision on 11 June 2019.

On 26 July 2019 an application was received by my Department’s Scope Section for consideration of a retrospective partnership between the person concerned and their spouse. It was decided that they had been engaged in self-employment during the tax years 1988 to 2000 inclusive, from 2003 to 2009 inclusive and 2011. The self-employment liabilities outstanding for these periods were paid by 11 October 2019 and their social insurance record was updated accordingly.

Social welfare legislation provides that a self-employed contributor shall not be regarded as satisfying the qualifying conditions for state pension (contributory) unless and until all outstanding self-employment contributions have been paid. The pension entitlement of the person concerned was reviewed on the basis of their revised contribution record. They were awarded the maximum rate of state pension (contributory) with effect from 11 October 2019, the date their self-employed liabilities were discharged.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.