Wednesday, 6 October 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
73. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on whether the way the pension recalculation introduced by the former Minister for Social Protection (details supplied) that took effect from 29 March 2018 is denying a full rate of pension to citizens born before 1 September 1946. [48412/21]
Budget 2012 introduced contributory pension rate band changes from 1 September 2012 that were less favourable than those prior to that time.
In January 2018, the Government announced an Interim Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to calculate the entitlement of pensioners who reached state pension age on or after 1 September 2012 (i.e. those born on or after 1 September 1946) and who have a reduced rate pension entitlement based on those post Budget 2012 rate bands.
Work began on examining the social insurance records of over 94,000 pensioners in September 2018. Where these reviews resulted in an increase in the pensioner’s rate of payment, the increase was backdated to 30 March 2018 or the pensioners 66th birthday, as appropriate. As at the end of October 2019, with the project completed, 94,258 reviews had been finalised; of these, 53,092 (56%) were women and 41,166 (44%) were men. Of the 53,092 women reviewed 28,528 (54%) received an increase while the rest remained on their existing rate. Of the 41,166 men reviewed, 9,956 (24%) received an increase and the remainder continued to receive their same rate of payment. No pensioner had their pension payment reduced as part of this review.
People whose pensions were decided prior to 1 September 2012 were not affected by the Budget 2012 rate band changes. As a consequence, people whose pensions were calculated under the 2000-2012 rate bands were subject to a significantly more generous regime than those who qualified before or afterwards, as a Yearly Average of only 20 contributions per year could attract a 98% pension.
There will be some people who have contributed less frequently into the Social Insurance Fund (which pays for contributory pensions), and who will, therefore, be below the threshold required for a maximum rate of the State Pension (Contributory). However, for those with insufficient contributions to meet the requirements for a State Pension (Contributory), they may qualify for a means tested State Pension (Non-Contributory), the maximum personal rate for which is €237 (over 95% of the maximum rate of the contributory pension). This rate of payment does not include rent allowance, household benefits or fuel allowance. Alternatively, if their spouse is a State pensioner and they have significant household means, their most beneficial payment may be an Increase for a Qualified Adult, based on their personal means, and amounting up to 90% of a full contributory pension.
I hope this clarifies the matter.