Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Department of Social Protection
Social Welfare Code
The effective date for standardisation of State pension age is 1 January 2014. Therefore, the person in the scenario outlined by the Deputy would not receive State pension (transition) as he or she would reach age of 65 on 3 February 2014. Should an individual not be able to remain in employment past the age of 65, he or she would be entitled to apply for another social welfare payment for the period between the cessation of employment and the State pension age of 66.
The background to the changes in State pension age is that the challenges facing the Irish pension system are significant. Life expectancy is increasing. The population share of those aged 65 and over is expected to more than double between now and 2050, from 11% to 26%. In contrast, the share of the working age population is projected to decline gradually from 68% to 58%. There are currently six people of working age for every pensioner and this ratio is expected to decrease to less than two to one by mid-century. Spending on public pensions, that is, social welfare pensions and public service occupational pensions, is projected to increase from approximately 5 % of GDP in 2008, to almost 15% by 2050.
Therefore, as provided for in the National Pensions Framework, State pension age will be increased gradually to 68 years. This will begin in 2014 with the standardisation of State pension age at 66. State pension age will be increased to 67 years in 2021 and to 68 in 2028. It is worth noting that, until the early 1970s, the qualifying age for State pension (contributory) was 70 years of age. The legislative changes being included in the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2011 also fulfil one of the commitments in the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland.
A student undergoing a full-time course of study, instruction or training is disqualified from receiving jobseekerâ€™s allowance or benefit. This disqualification also extends to the holiday periods, including the summer holidays. The disqualification for receipt of jobseekerâ€™s benefit or allowance does not apply in the case of mature students during the period between two academic years. During this period a mature student can apply for jobseekerâ€™s benefit or allowance, subject to satisfying the standard qualifying conditions, including that of being available for full-time work. Any changes to these conditions would be for Government to consider in a budgetary context.