288. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) was not entitled to the full contributory pension; the options available to seek an increase in their pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7860/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The person concerned is in receipt of a reduced rate state pension (contributory) with effect from their 66th birthday, based on an assessed yearly average of 24 contributions, covering the period from April 1981 to end-December 2012. According to the records of my Department, the person concerned has a social insurance record of 969 reckonable contributions and credits, and is in receipt of the correct rate of contr...

291. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) is only in receipt of a €202 contributory State pension in view of the fact they have made social insurance contributions since 1964-65; if their situation can be reviewed in the context of new proposals to deal with contributory State pension recipients; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7926/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The person concerned is in receipt of state pension (contributory) with effect from their 66th birthday. According to the records of my Department, the person concerned has a social insurance record of 982 reckonable paid and credited contributions. They are in receipt of a reduced state pension (contributory) based on a yearly average of 20 contributions, covering the period from October 1964 to end-December 2013 i...

284. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an anomaly exists (details supplied); if so, her plans to rectify it; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7553/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Non-Contributory) Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Social welfare legislation provides that, for social assistance schemes, all income and capital, including property other than the family home, is assessable for means-testing purposes.
For recipients of the State Pension (Non-Contributory), Disability Allowance and the Blind Pension, where the claimant sells their principal residence in order to purchase alternative accommodation which will be occupied as his or her ...

293. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person (details supplied) who was on the transition pension prior to the changes being introduced in respect of eligibility for the State contributory pension in 2013 can obtain the rate that was effective at the time the person went on the transition pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7763/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Prior to reaching age 66, the person concerned was in receipt of a mixed insurance pro rata state pension (transition), based on a combination of full-rate and modified contributions. The person concerned is currently in receipt of state pension (contributory) with effect from 19 April 2013, their 66th birthday. 
According to the records of my Department, the person concerned has a social insurance record of 1,152 re...

297. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if in the determination of an application for a State pension by a person (details supplied) their entire working life was accounted for; if the application can be reviewed in view of these issues; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7816/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): To qualify for a contributory state pension a person must have at least 520 full rate paid contributions. According to the records of my Department, the person concerned has a social insurance record of 412 reckonable contributions which is insufficient to qualify for the contributory pension. They have no recorded contributions for the tax years from 1975 to end December 2016 inclusive. The person was notified in wr...

270. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if persons who work part-time or on a casual basis are classified as a dependant if their spouse is in receipt of a social protection payment; the impact this has in the context of their State pension entitlement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6483/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - State Pensions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Social Protection payments are comprised of a personal rate payment for the claimant with an increase payable for a qualified adult and/or qualified child/children where applicable. An increase for a qualified adult (IQA) is payable in respect of a person who is wholly or mainly maintained by the claimant. This can be the claimant’s spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant or a person over 16 years of age who is caring ...

273. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the sectors and-or industries in which persons who are engaged in informal partnerships for work with their partner are recognised as being eligible for a State pension in their own right; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6486/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - State Pensions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Under social welfare legislation, the social insurance status of family members including spouses working in a family business can vary. Spouses and relatives who are engaged in a business partnership are treated as individual self-employed contributors who are liable to social insurance contributions, provided their annual income exceeds €5,000. These contributions enable them to build up an insurance record in the...

285. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the criteria used to write to persons approaching their 66th birthday to inform them to apply for their pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6151/18 asked on 07 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): My Department identifies customers who appear to have an entitlement to state pension (contributory), in advance of reaching pension age (currently 66 years of age), to invite them to make a timely application for pension. This customer service initiative is aimed at helping approx. 14,000 applicants annually to receive their pension entitlement by the due date (currently their 66th birthday) and minimise late appli...

571. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position regarding an application by a person (details supplied) for a non-contributory pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5301/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Non-Contributory) Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence including that adduced at the oral hearing, has decided to allow the appeal of the person concerned. The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision.
The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protecti...

573. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the action being taken to provide pension equality for those who were historically penalised for being stay-at-home parents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5318/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): On 23 January, the Government agreed to a proposal that will allow pensioners affected by the 2012 changes in rate bands to have their pension entitlement calculated by a new “Total Contributions Approach” (TCA) which will include up to 20 years of a new HomeCaring credit. This approach is expected to significantly benefit many people, particularly women, whose work history includes an extended period of time outsid...

574. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if persons who were receiving a prescribed relative allowance, PRA, for providing full-time care to a relative, which was subsequently replaced by a carer’s allowance, will be awarded home caring credits for the period that they were receiving the PRA under the new total contributions approach for calculating pensions in recognition of their caring role; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5342/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Prescribed Relatives Allowance preceded the introduction of the Carer’s Allowance scheme. It was payable in respect of a relative (specified in legislation) of a social welfare pensioner, who was living with and providing full-time care and attention to the pensioner. Initially, the allowance was paid by way of an increase in the pension payment. In 1989 provision was made for direct payment of the allowance to...

577. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address the anomaly whereby farmers on reaching pension age do not receive the benefit of the earnings disregard of €200 in the means test for the State non-contributory pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5412/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Non-Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The State pension (non-contributory) is a means-tested payment and the weekly rate payable is dependent on the means of each claimant. Account is taken in the means test of the value of property (other than the family home) and capital the person may have as well as cash income such as earnings from employment or self-employment, occupational pensions, foreign social security pensions and so on.
These arrangements app...

588. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a further review will be carried out on a person’s (details supplied) application for further backdating of their old age non-contributory pension at the maximum rate. (Question 5580/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Non-Contributory) Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The State pension non-contributory claim of the person concerned has been reviewed based on comprehensive information now provided of her farming activities and the verification of her actual income from farming over the past three years. While acknowledging that the pattern of her farming activity has changed, the documentation examined and the inspector’s interview with the person concerned indicate a level of week...

597. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the differences that exist between long-term unemployment and long-term disability payments in respect of opting for credits to count towards a person’s State pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5846/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - State Pensions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The purpose of credited contributions or “credits” is to protect social insurance entitlements by bridging gaps in an employee’s social insurance record, where they are not in a position to pay PRSI, such as for periods of unemployment or illness. Therefore in general credits can only be awarded where an individual has had a recent attachment to the workforce i.e. within the last 2 years.
In isolation, credits do not...

598. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to put in place protection for persons due to retire in the period 2020-30 to ensure they are not financially disadvantaged and do not receive a reduced rate of pension when the total contributions approach replaces the yearly average approach for entitlement to a contributory pension in 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5858/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - State Pensions Reform)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): A policy to introduce the Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to pensions calculation was first adopted by Government in the National Pensions Framework in 2010, as was the decision to assess all new pensioners under this approach from around 2020.
The Government at that time was aware that there would be some people who would benefit, and some people who would have a lower rate of entitlement as a result of TCA, but t...

600. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the 20 year home caring credits announced recently will apply to qualifying pensioners after the total contributions approach comes into effect in 2020. (Question 5871/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): On 23 January, the Government agreed to a proposal that will allow pensioners affected by the 2012 changes in rate bands to have their pension entitlement calculated by a new “Total Contributions Approach”, TCA, which will include up to 20 years of a new HomeCaring credit. This approach is expected to significantly benefit many people, particularly women, whose work history includes an extended period of time outside...

320. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that under the proposed total contributions approach to pensions, persons who retire after 2020 will face cuts of up to 44% in their pensions relative to current rates such as in examples (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5045/18 asked on 01 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 320 to 322, inclusive, together.
On the 23 January, the Government agreed to a proposal that will allow pensioners affected by the 2012 changes in rate bands to have their pension entitlement calculated by a new “Total Contributions Approach” (TCA) which will include up to 20 years of a new HomeCaring credit. Unlike the current Homemakers scheme, this credit will apply to periods bot...

321. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she is satisfied that the plan to substantially raise the bar of qualification for a full State contributory pension is a fair and equitable approach for persons retiring after 2020 with reference to the total contribution approach. (Question 5046/18 asked on 01 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 320 to 322, inclusive, together.
On the 23 January, the Government agreed to a proposal that will allow pensioners affected by the 2012 changes in rate bands to have their pension entitlement calculated by a new “Total Contributions Approach” (TCA) which will include up to 20 years of a new HomeCaring credit. Unlike the current Homemakers scheme, this credit will apply to periods bot...

322. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the effect that gaps in work years other than those spent caring or unemployed will have on pension entitlements when a total contributions approach to pensions is introduced. (Question 5047/18 asked on 01 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 320 to 322, inclusive, together.
On the 23 January, the Government agreed to a proposal that will allow pensioners affected by the 2012 changes in rate bands to have their pension entitlement calculated by a new “Total Contributions Approach” (TCA) which will include up to 20 years of a new HomeCaring credit. Unlike the current Homemakers scheme, this credit will apply to periods bot...

324. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the pension entitlements of a person (details supplied) will be reviewed; the entitlement of the person; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5071/18 asked on 01 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The person concerned is currently in receipt of a reduced rate widow(er)/survivor’s contributory pension, with effect from 17 July 1979, based on their own insurance record.
The person’s entitlement to state pension (contributory) was examined on 10 February 2017. According to the records of my Department, the person concerned has a social insurance record of 1,637 reckonable contributions and credits, based on an as...

290. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an application by a person (details supplied) for a contributory pension will be reviewed. (Question 4694/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The social insurance record of the person concerned has been updated following the payment of their self-employment liabilities for 2016.
A revised decision has been made awarding a maximum rate of state pension (contributory), with effect from 11 September 2017, the person’s 66th birthday. 
The person concerned has been notified of this decision in writing on 30 January 2018 and due arrears have issued. 
I hope ...

296. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to outline the reason a person (details supplied) has only received €214 in State contributory pension from 17 May 2017; if this can be reviewed in the context of the person’s contribution record and in particular in the context of the proposals to deal with the pension anomalies which have arisen particularly for persons that had a break in contributions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4946/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The person concerned is in receipt of a reduced rate state pension (contributory) at 90% of the maximum rate with effect from their 66th birthday, based on an assessed yearly average of 39 contributions, covering their working life from 1974 to 2016 inclusive. According to the records of my Department, the person has a social insurance record of 1,688 reckonable contributions and credits during that period. The pers...

577. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of the consultation process to find a resolution to the inequities in the averaging system for the State contributory pension; the status of a report in this regard completed by her department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3941/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): On 23 January, the Government agreed to a proposal that will allow pensioners affected by the 2012 changes in rate bands to have their pension entitlement calculated by a new “Total Contributions Approach” (TCA) which will include up to 20 years of a new HomeCaring credit. This approach is expected to significantly benefit many people, particularly women, whose work history includes an extended period of time outside...

580. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the record of contributions in the case of a person (details supplied); and the reason they are not in receipt of a full State pension (contributory). (Question 4022/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The person concerned is in receipt of a reduced rate state pension (contributory) with effect from 28 December 2017, based on an assessed yearly average of 38 contributions, covering their 50-year working life from December 1967 to end-December 2016. According to the records of my Department, the person has a social insurance record of 1,885 reckonable contributions and credits. The person concerned is in receipt of...

598. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to set out the estimated number of persons due to retire in coming years that will be in receipt of a reduced contributory pension as a result of the new calculation method announced on 23 January 2018; and the estimated amount of the reduction in pension for those persons. (Question 4212/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): On the 23rd January, the Government agreed to a proposal that will allow pensioners affected by the 2012 changes in rate bands to have their pension entitlement calculated by a new “Total Contributions Approach” (TCA) which will include up to 20 years of a new HomeCaring credit. This approach is expected to significantly benefit many people, particularly women, whose work history includes an extended period of time o...