558. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an application for a State contributory pension by a person (details supplied) will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48686/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory) Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): A copy of the social insurance record relied upon by the Deciding Officer when making the initial decision was provided to the person concerned on 10 April 217. The person was asked to check that this record was in order and to notify the Department of any discrepancy. 
Following a review of the person’s state pension (contributory), it was noticed that not all of the person’s social insurance contributions had been i...

574. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the way in which her Department is addressing the shortfall in pension payments to women retiring since 2012 after changes were made in calculating pension entitlements; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48967/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The current rate bands applying to the State pension contributory were introduced from September 2012, replacing previous rates introduced in 2000. The rate bands prior to 2000 were less generous, and the improved rate bands introduced in 2000 were a feature of the economic and political environment at that time. The economic crash changed the focus and while other payments were reduced as a result, the core rates o...

577. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the pension being paid to a person (details supplied) is the correct amount; if the tax deductions are correct; and if an examination of the matter will be expedited. (Question 48989/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - State Pensions Payments)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The person concerned is in receipt of maximum rate of state pension (contributory), together with an increase for their qualified adult, also payable at maximum rate.
State pension (contributory) payments are not taxed but pension payments are regarded as income for income tax purposes. The income tax liability of a person depends on their overall financial circumstances. Any matters relating to the income tax affai...

600. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to explain the reason a person’s actual PRSI contributions in the year the person reaches 66 years of age are excluded in the calculation of yearly average PRSI contributions for the purposes of the State pension, contributory; the benefit the person receives for those contributions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49370/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): State pension (contributory) entitlement is calculated by the ‘yearly average’ system, where the total number of contributions paid or credited is divided by the number of years of the person’s insurance record. The maximum rate of pension is payable where a person has a yearly average of at least 48, and there are banded entitlements below that.
In calculating the yearly average, the number of full-rate contribution...

243. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is not in receipt of a full State pension. (Question 48452/17 asked on 16 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory) Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The person concerned is in receipt of a reduced rate state pension (contributory) based on an assessed yearly average of 37 contributions, covering the period from November 1966 to December 2015. 
According to the records of my Department, the person has a social insurance record of 1850 reckonable contributions and credits. The person concerned is in receipt of the correct rate of contributory pension based on this s...

484. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of self employed contributions in the case of a person (details supplied); the extent of State pension to which this entitles them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48079/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Entitlement to State pension (contributory) is assessed on the basis of an applicant’s full social insurance record and the eligibility conditions applicable on the date they reach pension age. Therefore, it is not possible to predict a person’s state pension (contributory) entitlement. An individual’s eligibility is examined by a Deciding Officer on receipt of an application. According to the records of the Depart...

490. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) who is at retirement age and has made 520 + 23 social service contributions over a lifetime is only in receipt of €119.00 per week; the further reason persons who make no contributions are in receipt of a full pension. (Question 48135/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Entitlement to state pension (contributory) is assessed on the basis of an applicant’s full social insurance record and the eligibility conditions applicable on the date they reach pension age.
According to the records of my Department, the person concerned has a social insurance record of 653 reckonable contributions and credits. They are in receipt of a reduced state pension (contributory) based on an assessed year...

491. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath is not receiving a full contributory pension; if the calculation for same will be supplied; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48136/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): According to the records of my Department, the person concerned was initially assessed with a total of 346 full-rate paid social insurance contributions for the period from October 1966 to December 2012. As this is less than the required 520 full-rate social insurance contributions, the qualifying conditions for state pension (contributory) were not met and the person concerned was notified, in writing, of this decis...

4. Deputy Michael Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to reinstate the pension bands to their pre 2012 levels; his further plans to correct the pension anomalies that affected approximately 35,000 women; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47440/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - State Pensions)

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: This is a matter for which I have no statutory function. Responsibility for this area sits with my colleague, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Deputy Regina Doherty. In this context, I understand the Minister comprehensively addressed the substance of the question the Deputy has raised in the House on Tuesday, 7 November. In her reply to Deputy Willie O’Dea, she outlined her intention to introduce a total contributions approach to calculating ...

255. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when applications lodged for State pensions by persons (details supplied) will be processed; the reason for the non-granting of a State pension (contributory) to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47461/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory) Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The persons concerned are a couple who both have contributions records based on self-employment. 
Since one member of the couple has not yet applied for the state pension (contributory), a decision on his state pension (contributory) cannot be made. An application form has been issued to this person. On receipt of the application, the pension entitlement will be examined and the person will be notified in writing o...

264. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when the pensions report will be published (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47527/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): It is my intention to introduce a Total Contributions Approach to the calculation of the State Pension (Contributory) from 2020 onwards and I’ll be bringing forward proposals in this regard in the near future.
In the meantime, I have asked my officials to carefully examine approaches that may help to address the issue in relation to the averaging approach as it affects people with a short work period early in their ca...

211. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if eligibility for a State pension contributory will be reviewed in the case of a person (details supplied); her plans to review circumstances such as in the case of this person in the interest of equality and fairness; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47214/17 asked on 08 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): According to the records of my Department, the person concerned has a total of 442 paid full-rate social insurance contributions. As this is less than 520 full-rate social insurance contributions, one of the qualifying conditions for state pension (contributory), the person is not entitled to the state pension (contributory) and was notified in writing of this decision on 23 November 2015.
Where a person who has been...

51. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when the report she has asked her Department to prepare on the post-2012 contributory pension band rates is expected to be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46919/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: This question relates to the recent motion, passed unanimously by the House, on changing the pension contribution rules introduced in 2012. The Minister will recall that in her counter-motion, she made certain commitments, namely, that she would examine the problem, ask her Department to study it and get back to her, and then report to the Cabinet. Has that process started? If so, at what stage is it?
 ...

58. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to re-examine the situation where women who were in the workforce and left in earlier years for family duties are not in a position to receive the full State contributory pension when they reach retirement age; and her further plans to address this situation. (Question 46645/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory))

Deputy Niamh Smyth: I heard the Minister speak about this issue already with my colleague, Deputy Willie O’Dea, but I ask her to outline her plans to re-examine how people, women in particular, are affected by the anomaly within the State pensions system.
 ...

64. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the actions she is taking to address the ongoing discrimination against over 35,000 older persons in the calculation of their State pension payments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46704/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - State Pensions)

Deputy John Brady: As the Minister may be aware, last December Sinn Féin brought forward a motion to address pension inequality for more than 35,000 older people, 68% of whom are women. What specific actions have been taken since then to address the inequality in the pension system?
 ...

66. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to reinstate the State transition pension; her further plans to prevent persons forced to retire at 65 years of age having to apply for jobseeker’s for one year until they reach the State pensionable age of 66; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46590/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - State Pensions)

Deputy Regina Doherty: The Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011 provided that the State pension age will be increased gradually over time. This began in 2014 with the abolition of the State pension (transition), which was available to people aged 65 who satisfied qualifying conditions. This measure standardised the State pension age for all of us to 66 years and this will increase to 67 in 2021 and to 68 in 2028. I will allow the rest of the official reply be taken as read in the Dáil record....

78. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when the budget 2012 changes to pension contribution bands will be reverted back to four bands as per pre-2012; when repayments will be made to those persons adversely affected by these changes since September 2012 and to date in 2017 in view of the recent passing of a Fianna Fáil motion on correcting pension inequities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46542/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - State Pensions)

Deputy John Brady: As the Minister may be aware, last December Sinn Féin brought forward a motion to address pension inequality for more than 35,000 older people, 68% of whom are women. What specific actions have been taken since then to address the inequality in the pension system?
 ...

79. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to ensure pension equality by removing the band changes made to the way in which pensions are calculated and reducing the number of contributions needed to qualify for the State pension from 520 to 260; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46798/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - State Pensions)

Deputy John Brady: As the Minister may be aware, last December Sinn Féin brought forward a motion to address pension inequality for more than 35,000 older people, 68% of whom are women. What specific actions have been taken since then to address the inequality in the pension system?
 ...

84. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the progress that has been made in addressing the issue where women are deprived of a contributory pension having retired from the workplace while raising their families or owing to the marriage ban; if their cases can be re-examined with a view to crediting them with sufficient contributions to enable them to qualify for a State or retirement pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46341/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory))

Deputy Niamh Smyth: I heard the Minister speak about this issue already with my colleague, Deputy Willie O’Dea, but I ask her to outline her plans to re-examine how people, women in particular, are affected by the anomaly within the State pensions system.
 ...

1180. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the amount of contributory State pension being paid to persons (details supplied); and the date in each case on which the pensions commenced. (Question 45708/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): State pension (contributory) is in payment to the person concerned since 28 September 2006, upon transfer from state pension (transition). All state pension (transition) customers aged over 66 were automatically transferred to state pension (contributory) from this date. The person’s state pension (transition) had been in payment at the maximum rate from 12 February 1998, the Thursday following the customer’s 65th b...

1194. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the work that has been done to date by her Department on the proposed total contributions approach for the State pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45839/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): It is my intention to introduce a Total Contributions Approach to the calculation of the State Pension (Contributory) from 2020 onwards and I will be bringing forward proposals in this regard in the near future. 
Officials in my Department have been working on the introduction of the scheme since 2015. The recent Actuarial Review of the Social Insurance Fund has been used to explore the costs of various options and to...

1195. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the persons that will benefit from the total contributions approach; if it will apply to all persons that retire post 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45840/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The introduction of a Total Contributions Approach to the State Pension (contributory) is being examined by officials in my Department. I expect them to report to me shortly before bringing the matter to Government. Particular attention will be paid to people who have intermittent PRSI records as a result of taking time out of paid employment for caring duties. 
The Total Contributions Approach will be a fairer way ...

1196. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she has considered the introduction of a universal State pension; if so, the work that has been done on this; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45841/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - State Pensions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The State pension is a valuable benefit and is the bedrock of the pension system. There are two State pensions. Firstly, the State pension non-contributory is a means-tested pension funded from taxation. Secondly, the State pension contributory, which is not means-tested, but is based on social insurance contributions, is paid from the Social Insurance Fund. Accordingly, it is important to ensure those qualifying for ...

1215. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when discussions regarding pension contributions for those who took time out of their working lives previous to 1994 to raise their families will conclude; and when those affected can expect to be in receipt of a full pension payment. (Question 46135/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The State pension is a valuable benefit and is the bedrock of the pension system. There are two State pensions. Firstly, the State pension non-contributory is a means-tested pension funded from taxation. Secondly, the State pension contributory, which is based on social insurance contributions rather than a means-test, is paid from the Social Insurance Fund. Accordingly, it is important to ensure those qualifying ...

1220. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is not in receipt of a full State pension. (Question 46167/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): According to the Department’s records, the person concerned has a social insurance record of 1822 reckonable contributions and credits. They are in receipt of a reduced rate state pension (contributory) based on an assessed yearly average of 36 contributions, covering the period from August 1966 to December 2015. The person concerned is in receipt of the correct rate of contributory pension based on this record. 
Th...