Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Ceisteanna (220)

Maria Bailey


220. Deputy Maria Bailey asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a person who is officially retired from his Department having completed the necessary 40 years’ service for pension purposes and has been compelled to retire after 40 years’ service is required to sign on for jobseeker's allowance even though the person is not actively seeking work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49156/17]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Public service employees, including teachers, who are members of an occupational pension scheme and who also have paid full rate Class A PRSI have two sources of payment of their entitlements-

1. An occupational pension paid by their pension scheme administrators which in the case of primary and secondary teachers or certain other non-teaching staff is my Department and,

2. In the period between retirement and reaching state pension age, job-seekers benefits may be payable for some or all of this period by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP). Thereafter on reaching state pension age (currently age 66 years) a state pension may be paid by DEASP. 

Each of these sources of payment has separate and distinctive conditions to be satisfied in order for payment to be made.   

The public service employer and the employee make significant PRSI contributions during the course of the person’s employment which may, on foot of the full-rate PRSI contribution paid, entitle the employee to a range of state benefits and state pension.

On retirement it is incumbent on such a person to apply to DEASP for state benefits to ensure that s/he receives his/her full entitlements. That Department will assess the applicant and decide if job-seekers benefits/state pension is payable.

State pension currently becomes payable on application on reaching age 66. Many public service occupational pension schemes become payable at an earlier date and in the interim period between retirement and state pension age a person such as that referred to by the Deputy, may claim and receive a benefit from DEASP.  Responsibility for establishing entitlements from DEASP and satisfying their requirements under the PRSI rules rests with the retiree and these are not matters on which my Department can adjudicate.

Within the occupational pension scheme, such as is operated by my Department, provision exists for a top-up supplementary pension in certain circumstances, which includes where an individual does not qualify for job-seekers benefits under the rules as operate by DEASP.  Where however, a person fails to claim one of the state benefits to which s/he is entitled or where the failure to qualify for social welfare benefits rests with the person any state benefit foregone cannot be made good by the occupational pension provider nor can the top up supplementary pension be paid.