Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has again called on the Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection to ensure that a commitment to remove the anomalies in the State contributory pension are progressed this year.
“This is an issue that I have been raising for years, and the fact that we still have a situation where thousands of people, and women in particular, are losing out on pension entitlements as a result of crass changes that were brought in by the previous Fine Gael-Labour Government, is scandalous”, said Deputy Brendan Smith.
“In a Parliamentary Reply, Minister Regina Doherty stated that “it is expected that this approach to pension qualification will replace the current one from around 2020”. That’s another two years away. This anomaly, which was introduced 6 years ago needs to be rectified as a matter of urgency – why can’t the Government understand that?
“Some people are losing as much as €30 per week or €1,500 per year. This is a substantial amount of money, especially for older people who are solely reliant on the State pension.
“My party brought forward a motion on this issue back in October, which received cross party support. The time has come now for the Government to act and begin the process of addressing this anomaly. I am urging Minister Doherty not to let this issue slip off the Government agenda, and to ensure that the punitive changes, which were introduced by the last Government are reversed as quickly as possible”.
To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of the commitment to remove the anomalies in the method of calculation of entitlements to the State contributory pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
– Brendan Smith.
* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 28th November, 2017.
R E P L Y
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Regina Doherty T.D.):
It is proposed to answer Question Nos. 661 and 678 together.
The National Pensions Framework proposed that a total contribution approach should replace the yearly average approach. Under this approach, the rate of pension paid would more closely reflect the total number of Social Insurance contributions made by a person throughout her or his working life and the anomalies of the Yearly Averaging method of calculating entitlement would be removed. It is expected that this approach to pension qualification will replace the current one from around 2020.
A proposal for the precise method of how the Total Contributions Approach will be implemented is currently being finalised by officials in my Department, having recently received the Actuarial Review of the Social Insurance Fund 2015. When this has been finalised, I intend to consult with relevant stakeholders before a decision in made on the final proposal by Government. That proposal will then be subject to the legislative process which may result in further changes.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputies.