285. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons living outside the Republic of Ireland that receive a State pension payment from her Department; and the associated costs involved. (Question 20641/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - State Pensions Payments)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the following tabular statement. 
Eligibility for the State Pension (Non-Contributory) requires that the claimant be habitually resident in the State.
Tabular statement
 Pension Number of recipients residing outside the State Average weekly payment (all claimants) Approximate weekly expenditure (non-resident claimants)€m State Pension Contributory 46,...

286. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of recipients of a State pension payment that are under 66 years of age; the associated cost involved; and the average payments awarded. (Question 20642/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - State Pensions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The information requested (where available) by the Deputy is detailed in the following tabular statement. I note that all Invalidity Pension recipients are transferred to State Pension (Contributory) on reaching the age of 66. 
Tabular statement
 Pension Number of Recipients under the age of 66 Average weekly payment (all claimants) Approximate weekly expenditure (claimants under 66) State Pension Non-Con...

449. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the way in which it can transpire that between combined contributions from Ireland and the United Kingdom and being only short 19 contributions from the full amount required for a full pension, a person (details supplied) is only receiving a €10 pension per week; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19943/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - 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 129 reckonable paid contributions. A minimum of 520 contributions is required for entitlement to standard state pension (contributory) and a minimum of 260 contributions is required for entitlement to a mixed insurance pro-rata pension. 
Under European Union regulations, a person’s social insurance record in one or more EU countries can be ...

457. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person (details supplied) can buy voluntary contributions to make it up to 520 contributions for a State pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20105/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - State Pensions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The legislation governing voluntary contributions is contained in the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 and Statutory Instrument 312/1996.
The acceptance criteria for the voluntary contributions scheme currently requires applicants 
- To submit an application within 60 months (5 years) of the end of the year in which they last paid, or were credited with a social insurance contribution
- To have a minimum of 520 c...

9. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when legislation will be brought forward to give effect to the approach that will correct the anomalies relating to contributory pensions post 2012; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19251/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - State Pension (Contributory))

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Deputy Heydon has indicated that he wants Deputy Deering to take his question. I have no difficulty with that. I call Deputy Aindrias Moynihan to introduce his question.
 ...

10. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the timeframe for reviews of contributory pensions for those who took time out of work to care for the family, following changes announced in 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19300/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - State Pension (Contributory))

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Deputy Heydon has indicated that he wants Deputy Deering to take his question. I have no difficulty with that. I call Deputy Aindrias Moynihan to introduce his question.
 ...

25. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the State pension rates will be restored to those who left the workforce due to childcare and are now receiving a lower rate of pensions due to previous changes in regard to PRSI contributions in 2012. (Question 19166/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - State Pensions Reform)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 25 and 29 together.
A policy to introduce the Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to pensions calculation was adopted by the then Government in the National Pensions Framework in 2010, as was the decision to base the entitlements of all new pensioners on this approach from 2020.
On the 23rd January, the Government agreed to a proposal that will allow pensioners affected by the 2012 chan...

28. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the circumstances under which or the reason a person can avail of ten years credited contributions as distinct from the 20 years allowed for homemaking and caring duties regarding the forthcoming total contributions approach for the contributory pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19252/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): PRSI contributions can be credited to people in a number of contexts, for example when in receipt of a Jobseekers or Illness benefit payments. Where applicable, these may be used towards PRSI-based social protection payments, including the State pension contributory (SPC). Not all classes of paid or credited contributions are reckonable for a State pension contributory, e.g., those of a civil servant who paid the re...

29. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the progress that has been made to address the anomalies in the State pension due to the changes introduced in 2012. (Question 19165/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - State Pensions Reform)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 25 and 29 together.
A policy to introduce the Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to pensions calculation was adopted by the then Government in the National Pensions Framework in 2010, as was the decision to base the entitlements of all new pensioners on this approach from 2020.
On the 23rd January, the Government agreed to a proposal that will allow pensioners affected by the 2012 chan...

46. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to amend legislation regarding the State pension (contributory) with particular reference to persons whose insurance contribution records were interrupted due to periods in receipt of farm assist; if the periods that persons were on farm assist can be credited for insurance purposes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19250/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The farm assist scheme was introduced in 1999 to provide income support for low income farmers. It replaced the former smallholders’ unemployment assistance payment. In line with the then existing arrangements for unemployment assistance (including smallholders) and pre-retirement allowance, the income of farm assist recipients was exempt from class S PRSI for self-employed workers.
Recipients of farm assist who had...

258. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will issue in regard to a State pension in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19509/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The person concerned was awarded a maximum rate state pension (contributory) with effect from their 66 birthday. The person concerned was notified in writing of this decision on 16 June 2017. Due arrears of pension were also paid at that time.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.
 ...

172. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of extending a pension payment of €243.30 to all persons resident here who are 66 years of age and over and are not in receipt of a State pension payment either in their own right or as a qualified adult based on the latest CSO population projections. (Question 19195/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 172 to 176, inclusive, 179 and 180 together.
In 2018, it is estimated that this Department will spend almost €7.6 billion on pension payments. The cost includes payments to just over 650,000 pensioners and qualified adults who are aged 66 and over as well as pensions paid to those who are under 66 years of age (such as widows and qualified adults under the age of 66). The cost of inc...

173. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of extending a pension payment of €243.30 to all persons resident here who are 65 years of age and over and are not currently in receipt of a State pension payment either in their own right or as a qualified adult based on the latest CSO population projections. (Question 19196/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 172 to 176, inclusive, 179 and 180 together.
In 2018, it is estimated that this Department will spend almost €7.6 billion on pension payments. The cost includes payments to just over 650,000 pensioners and qualified adults who are aged 66 and over as well as pensions paid to those who are under 66 years of age (such as widows and qualified adults under the age of 66). The cost of inc...

174. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of increasing the State pension (contributory) rate to 35% of the average industrial wage. (Question 19197/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 172 to 176, inclusive, 179 and 180 together.
In 2018, it is estimated that this Department will spend almost €7.6 billion on pension payments. The cost includes payments to just over 650,000 pensioners and qualified adults who are aged 66 and over as well as pensions paid to those who are under 66 years of age (such as widows and qualified adults under the age of 66). The cost of inc...

175. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of increasing the State pension (contributory) rate to 40% of the average industrial wage. (Question 19198/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 172 to 176, inclusive, 179 and 180 together.
In 2018, it is estimated that this Department will spend almost €7.6 billion on pension payments. The cost includes payments to just over 650,000 pensioners and qualified adults who are aged 66 and over as well as pensions paid to those who are under 66 years of age (such as widows and qualified adults under the age of 66). The cost of inc...

176. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated additional cost of a payment of €216.38 to all persons in receipt of the State pension who are receiving a State pension less than that amount including qualified adults. (Question 19199/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 172 to 176, inclusive, 179 and 180 together.
In 2018, it is estimated that this Department will spend almost €7.6 billion on pension payments. The cost includes payments to just over 650,000 pensioners and qualified adults who are aged 66 and over as well as pensions paid to those who are under 66 years of age (such as widows and qualified adults under the age of 66). The cost of inc...

177. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons in receipt of a non-contributory State pension in which the amount received is below the top rate of €232. (Question 19200/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - State Pension (Non-Contributory) Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): As of 31 March 2018 there were 27,905 persons in receipt of a non-contributory state pension whose personal rate was less than €232.00.
 ...

178. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of men and women, respectively, in receipt of each of the State pension payments; and the number of qualified adults receiving payments. (Question 19201/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - State Pensions Payments)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The information requested (where available) by the Deputy is detailed in the following table.
Recipients of State Pensions by sex and adult dependent allowances in payment at the end of March 2018

 Scheme Type Female Male Total Qualified Adults State Pension Contributory 147,806 249,569 397,375 65,580 State Pension Non Contributory 57,774 36,675 94,449 3,182 Widow(er)’s and Surviving Civil Partner’...

179. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated additional cost of providing a payment of €216.38 to all persons in receipt of the State pension who are receiving a State pension less than that amount including qualified adults. (Question 19202/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 172 to 176, inclusive, 179 and 180 together.
In 2018, it is estimated that this Department will spend almost €7.6 billion on pension payments. The cost includes payments to just over 650,000 pensioners and qualified adults who are aged 66 and over as well as pensions paid to those who are under 66 years of age (such as widows and qualified adults under the age of 66). The cost of inc...

180. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated additional cost of providing a payment of €216.38 to all persons in receipt of the State pension that are receiving a non-contributory State pension that is below the top rate of €232 including qualified adults. (Question 19203/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 172 to 176, inclusive, 179 and 180 together.
In 2018, it is estimated that this Department will spend almost €7.6 billion on pension payments. The cost includes payments to just over 650,000 pensioners and qualified adults who are aged 66 and over as well as pensions paid to those who are under 66 years of age (such as widows and qualified adults under the age of 66). The cost of inc...

193. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an appeal for a State pension (non-contributory) by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19304/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - State Pension (Non-Contributory) Appeals)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 5th April 2018, who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is ...

432. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the amount spent by her Department on State pension payments in 2017; and the number of recipients for each payment. (Question 19042/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - State Pensions Payments)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The total amounts spent on State Pension payments in 2017 and the number of recipients of each payment is detailed in the following table:
 Pension Type Amount (€000) Recipient numbers State Pension (Contributory) 4,915,853 394,378 State Pension (Non-Contributory) 994,740 95,140 State Pension (Transition) 159 55 Widows’/Widowers’/Surviving Civil Partners (Contributory) Pension 1,466,597 121,091 Wido...

441. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the progress she has made to set a formal benchmark target of 34% of average earnings for State pension (contributory) payments and institute a process whereby future changes in pension rates of payment are explicitly linked to changes in the consumer price index and average wages; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19122/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Expenditure)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The level of income provided to pensioners in the form of the State pension is currently decided through the annual budget process. The Roadmap for Pensions Reform commits the Government to examine and develop proposals this year. In order to protect the adequacy into the future the Government intends to examine and develop proposals to set a formal benchmark target of 34% of average earnings for the State pension ...

216. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the most advantageous procedure to follow in respect of old age pension applications by persons (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18362/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The person concerned is in receipt of a reduced rate of state pension (contributory) of €238.50 which is their correct entitlement based on the contribution record held by my Department. This weekly entitlement is greater than the highest rate of entitlement payable on state pension (non - contributory) and therefore the most financially beneficial to the person concerned. 
The person concerned is also in receipt of ...

221. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to remove the anomalies in the method of calculation of entitlements to the State pension, contributory, with particular reference to the need to reverse the changes that were introduced in 2012; when the necessary legislative measures will be introduced; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18476/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): A policy to introduce the Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to pensions calculation was adopted by the then Government in the National Pensions Framework in 2010, as was the decision to base the entitlements of all new pensioners on this approach from 2020.
On the 23rd January earlier this year, the Government agreed to allow pensioners affected by the 2012 changes in rate bands to have their pension entitlement calc...