FF tables amendments to tackle pension inequality – Smith

– Measures will also reverse changes to the One Parent Family Payment –

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith says his party has tabled amendments to the Social Welfare Bill that will see the eligibility criteria for the State pension reviewed to ensure that women, who took time out of work to look after children or to care for a loved one, are not penalised.

Under the current system workers must make a minimum of 520 paid contributions before they qualify for the State pension.  This is not always possible for women who have stepped out of the workplace to care for children.

Deputy Smith commented, “The last government introduced a range of punitive changes which discriminated against women.  It raised the number of paid contributions needed to qualify for a State pension increased from 260 to 520, making it more difficult for women who took career breaks, to reach this target.

“This is a deeply unfair situation and fails to recognise the important contribution that these women have made to the workplace, but also to their families and to society.  My Party Spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea has submitted a number of amendments to the Social Welfare Bill to address this discrimination.

“Measures which were brought in under Fine Gael and Labour have plunged many one parent families into poverty and they must be reversed. The evidence is clear on this matter- social exclusion is increasing in lone parent households and more and more families are falling below the breadline.  This needs to be urgently addressed.

“The amendments that Fianna Fáil has tabled are aimed at addressing these imbalances and improving the effectiveness of the social welfare system to ensure that it’s fit for purpose and serving those who need it the most”.