Mean-spirited pension cut hits retiring workers – Smith

(This statement was originally issued earlier this year, but it just now being moved to my “News” page)

Cavan-Monaghan Deputy Brendan Smith has raised concerns about a sneaky cut in the State pension entitlement that is now hitting workers who are due to retire at 65.

Under Government cuts, the pension age has been increased to 66 while the retirement age for many employees remains at 65.  It means that since January 1st, people who retire at 65 have to wait a year to get their State pension.

Deputy Smith explained, “The reality of this sneaky cut is only beginning to dawn on people in the last few weeks.  I have spoken to a number of people locally who have retired since the start of the year because they are contractually obliged to do so at the age of 65, and have discovered that they can’t get their State pension for another year.

“This has come as a shock to many workers.  The transition pension has been scrapped since January, so the only option available to them is to apply for the job seekers allowance for the intervening year.  So instead of getting a full pension payment of €230.30 a week, newly retired workers can only get a job-seekers payment of €188.

“In addition to this, they may also be forced to jump through a number of hoops just to qualify for the job-seekers in the first place.  There’s still uncertainty surrounding whether or not these retirees, like other job seekers’ recipients, will be forced to show proof that they are involved in a training scheme or are looking for work in order to qualify.

“The qualifying age for the State pension is due to increase further in the coming years – from 66 years to 67 years in 2021 and eventually to 68 years in 2028.  This creates a big problem for many workers, like civil servants for instance, who are contractually obliged to retire at 65.  With no transition pension available anymore, those dependent on the State pension are facing serious difficulties until they get the support they are entitled to.

“People who have worked their whole lives and have paid taxes for decades deserve better treatment. At the very least, there needs to be proper transition plan between retirement age and pension age.  They cannot be expected to jump through hoops just to qualify for a radically reduced weekly payment for 1,2 and 3 years until they get their State pension,” said Deputy Smith.