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Written Answers - Pension Provisions

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 309.  Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams  asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton  if she will consider reviewing the decision to extend the age whereby a citizen can access a pension at age 66 years; if he will confirm that public servants who are due to retire this year aged 65, as per their contracts, will face the prospect of having to seek jobseeker’s allowance for a one year period until they reach the pensionable age; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24139/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I would like to re-iterate the policy background to the necessary changes to State Pension provision. With increases in life expectancy, more people are living to pension age and living longer in retirement. The period for which an average pension will be paid will be greater than the period for which a pension is paid at present. This has obvious and significant implications in relation to the future costs of State pension provision and therefore pension reform is necessary if we are to have a sustainable and fair pension system in Ireland. One of the ways we are addressing these issues is for people to work longer and contribute more if they are to have the financial support they wish to receive in retirement.

The Social Welfare and Pensions Act, 2011 provides that State pension age will be increased gradually to 68 years. This will begin in 2014 with the standardisation of the State pension age at 66. State pension age will be increased to 67 years in 2021 and to 68 in 2028.

There are no plans to change the dates of implementation.

In relation to State pension, there are two main contributory State pension schemes — the State pension (transition) and the State pension (contributory). The State pension (transition) is paid to people aged 65 who have retired from work and who have the required number and class of social insurance contributions. State pension contributory (SPC) is paid at age 66 to those who meet the qualifying conditions.

With effect from 1 January 2014, the State pension (transition) will be abolished and accordingly, people who retire on reaching age 65 between now and then may apply and qualify for the State pension (transition) provided they have the required number of PRSI contributions at the relevant Class.

The conditions of retirement for public servants are the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. Public service pensioners who are due to retire this year at age 65, in line with their contracts, will receive their public service pensions on retirement. If their pensions are integrated with social welfare benefits, the State pension (transition) may also be payable at age 65 if the qualifying conditions are met.

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