Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Ceisteanna (699, 748, 775, 785)

Cormac Devlin

Ceist:

699. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the increase in the pension age to 67 years of age has been deferred; the steps required to implement the policy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16100/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

James Browne

Ceist:

748. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the timeframe for enacting commitments in the programme for Government on deferring the increase in the pension age in 2021 and the introduction of a transition payment for persons having to retire at 65 years of age; when legislation will be published to give effect to same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15381/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Emer Higgins

Ceist:

775. Deputy Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to change the age at which persons are entitled to the old age pension; her plans to change the requirement for persons of 65 years of age and above who do not qualify for the old age pension to sign on; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15695/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

785. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if new legislation will be required to ensure that State pensions are paid to those aged 66 years of age and over after 1 January 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15989/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 699, 748, 775 and 785 together.

The Social Welfare and Pensions Act, 2011 provides for increases to the State pension age to make the State pension system more sustainable as life expectancy increases. This began in January 2014 with the abolition of the State Pension (Transition). This measure standardised the State pension age for all at 66 years. The legislation provides for increases to the State pension age - to 67 in 2021 and further to 68 in 2028.

The new Programme for Government “Our Shared Future” states that the planned increase in the State pension age next year will be deferred. This will require amendment to primary legislation and the Government will bring in the necessary legislation later this year.

Furthermore, a Commission on Pensions will be established to examine sustainability and eligibility issues in relation to State pensions and the Social Insurance Fund. The Commission is to report to Government by June 2021 on options including the qualifying age, contribution rates, total contributions and eligibility requirements. The Government will take action, having regard to the recommendations of the Commission, within six months. Pending the Commission’s report and any subsequent Government decisions on its recommendations, it is intended that the State pension age will remain at 66 years as at present.

The Programme also proposes an “Early Retirement Allowance or Pension” for 65 year olds paid at the same rate as Jobseekers Benefit without a requirement to sign on, partake in any activation measures or be available for and genuinely seeking work. The new allowance will be introduced as early as possible for those who are retired from employment. Officials in my Department are currently assessing the necessary legislation, ICT systems and administrative processes required for the introduction of this payment.

I hope this clarifies matters for the Deputies.