Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
State Pension (Contributory) Data
631. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of cases that have been reviewed under the new total contributions approach method for assessing pensioners that became eligible for the State pension after September 2012; the number of such cases in which the payment has increased; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9733/19]
Since late September 2018, my Department has been examining the social insurance records of approximately 90,000 pensioners, born on or after 1 September 1946, who have a reduced rate State pension contributory entitlement on post Budget 2012 rate-bands. These payments are being reviewed under a new Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to pension calculation which includes provision for homecaring periods.
My Department has written to pensioners in Quarter 4 2018 to explain the review process to them. That letter also informed pensioners that where possible the Department would use the information already held to complete their rate reviews but that some pensioners would be required to provide additional information to the Department and these pensioners would contact again as required.
In January 2019, almost 24,000 requests for additional information were issued. These requests included details on how to provide the required information using the Department’s online services, with a dedicated telephone number provided to support and assist pensioners making their applications. Provision has also been made for those who do not have access to a personal computer, or the internet, who can use the dedicated line to request paper forms, which have commenced issuing from this week.
Outcomes will issue to all pensioners in writing when their review is completed and the first of these have begun issuing to pensioners from 13 February, the date I signed the necessary regulations, which together with provisions in the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registrations Act 2018, allows the increased payments to be made on foot of the reviews.
Where due, increased payments will be made without delay and will include arrears of pension back to the 30thMarch 2018, or the pensioner’s 66thbirthday if later than that. Where pension rates do not increase as a result of this review, they will continue to be paid at their existing rate of entitlement. Of those who were asked for further information, thousands have already returned their details via the online service and continue to do so successfully.
As of the week ending Friday 22 February, 1,138 reviews have been completed and of these 86% have resulted in an increase in their payment and 14% will continue on their existing payment.Reviews will continue to be processed until all identified pensioners receive a review outcome in writing.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the deputy.