Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Questions (960, 984, 1010, 1024)

John Lahart

Question:

960. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Social Protection the PRSI classes reckonable for the benefit payment for 65-year-olds announced in February 2021; if there are plans to extend applicability to An Garda Síochána and Defence Forces personnel; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14012/21]

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Claire Kerrane

Question:

984. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Social Protection the PRSI contributions required in order for a person to qualify for the benefit payment for 65-year-olds; the number of contributions a person has to have made in the previous year in order to qualify; the way in which this impacts on part-time workers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14507/21]

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Seán Sherlock

Question:

1010. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Social Protection if she plans to amend the State pension transition payment to take account of years worked rather than the recent two-year timeline. [15273/21]

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Mairéad Farrell

Question:

1024. Deputy Mairéad Farrell asked the Minister for Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the ineligibility for the State transition pension for those between 65 and 66 years of age due to the requirement to have 13 stamps paid by the employer in the two years before they are 65 years of age; and if consideration has been given to the fact that some workplaces have a requirement to retire at 60 and 61 years of age which automatically precludes them from accessing the State transition pension. [15454/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 960, 984, 1010 and 1024 together.

I introduced the new Benefit Payment for 65 year olds in line with the Programme for Government commitment, to provide a benefit payment for people who are  aged 65 and who are required to retire, or who chose to retire, without a requirement to sign on, engage in activation measures or be available for and genuinely seeking work.  This new payment is designed specifically to bridge the gap for people who retire from employment or self employment at 65 but who don’t qualify for the State Pension until age 66.

Although only recently introduced, there are currently over 2,300 people aged 65 availing of the new benefit.

To be eligible for the payment a person must satisfy all the qualifying conditions of the scheme including the requirement to have the specified number of social insurance contributions paid.  A person must have paid 104 PRSI insurable employment contributions at class A, H or P or paid 156 class S contributions if they are self-employed.  A person in insurable employment also requires 39 contributions paid from employment in the Governing Contribution Year (GCY) which is the second last complete contribution year before the benefit year in which the claim is made.  For new claims made in 2021 the GCY is 2019.  At least 13 of these contributions must be paid from employment in the GCY, the two years before this, the last year or the current tax year.  Alternatively, a person could qualify if they have 26 PRSI contributions paid in the GCY and 26 paid in the year immediately before this.  The requirement to have paid contributions during this period is to demonstrate the individual's attachment to the workforce.  Full details on the PRSI Contribution conditions for the Benefit Payment for 65 Year Olds are available on the Department’s website at: www.gov.ie/en/service/49d25-benefit-payment-for-65-year-olds/.

Each case is determined on an individual basis taking into account the contributions paid and the date at which the person retired from employment.  The best way to check entitlement in the case of an individual is to make an application for the Benefit.

I trust that this clarifies the position for the Deputies.