Since the end of September 2018, my Department has been examining the social insurance records of pensioners born on or after 1 September 1946 who were awarded state pension (contributory) on reduced post Budget 2012 rate bands. This work includes all new claimants who were awarded reduced rate state pension (contributory) since the Government decision. The required primary legislative provisions are contained in the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Act 2018, enacted on 24 December 2018. Accompanying regulations will be introduced shortly which will allow certain decisions under the new arrangements to be made.
Over 100 temporary resources have been recruited to separately process the pension reviews. In some cases, additional information about gap periods in social insurance records is required from claimants who have been, or are about to be, awarded a reduced rate state pension (contributory). In the short term, these requests for information will result in decision delays for pensioners. To avoid this, a twin track approach is being implemented for a short period.
It is expected that the additional process to assess HomeCaring Period entitlement (including requesting additional information in some cases) and the calculation under the new 'aggregated contribution method' will be integrated into the existing claim decision process in Quarter 2 2019.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.