Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
271. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will furnish a detailed explanation for the significant difference in content of information in relation to the correspondence furnished to a person (details supplied) on 3 September 2020 and 1 July 2021, pertaining to their entitlement to a State pension (contributory); the reason for the difference in the treatment of their reckonable credited contributions for 2005 and 2006 in July 2021 when compared to record and treatment thereof furnished in September 2020; if same will now be reviewed further; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38915/21]
The person concerned reached pension age on 9 February 2020. According to the records of my Department, they have a total of 898 qualifying full-rate paid and credited contributions from their date of entry into insurable employment on 8 November 1971 to end-December 2019.
This equates to a yearly average of 18 contributions, which gives an entitlement to a standard State pension (contributory) at 65% of the maximum rate. As the person concerned is financially better off on their current social welfare payment, their State pension (contributory) claim was withdrawn in favour of the higher payment. They were notified in writing of this decision on 8 January 2020.
Following a requested review, the person’s yearly average was recalculated as 20 which gives an entitlement to a standard State pension (contributory) at 85% of the maximum rate. The person’s current social welfare payment is still higher than their State pension (contributory) entitlement. They were notified in writing of this decision on 3 September 2020.
The person concerned contacted my Department on 8 June 2021 to advise that they wished to avail of their State pension (contributory).
The matter was referred to my Department's Central Records Section for a review of the person’s contribution record for the 2006 contribution year. One contribution had been recorded for 2006 at full-rate PRSI (Class A) which is reckonable for pension purposes. Change of status credits had consequently been awarded to the person’s record for the 2005 and 2006 contribution years. However, the 2006 Class A contribution was found to have been incorrectly awarded and was subsequently amended to Class D, corresponding to the modified rate payable during the person’s prior public service employment. Modified social insurance contributions are not reckonable for State pension purposes.
The change of status credits which were awarded for 2005 and 2006 were therefore no longer applicable and were removed. The person’s yearly average of 18 contributions and State pension (contributory) entitlement of 65% of the maximum rate is correct.
While State pension (contributory) was awarded to the person concerned on 1 July 2021 at 65% of the maximum rate, they are financially better off to remain on their current social welfare payment. An officer from my Department has been in contact with the person in this regard. I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.