I welcome a decision by the Government to correct a pension anomaly that has existed for many people – particularly women – since 2012.
In recent months, many people expressed concerns about their pension rates, which were affected by rate band changes in 2012. This anomaly is something that the members of the Independent Alliance raised with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe during their pre-Budget negotiations late last year and they received a commitment that it would be resolved without delay.
It was announced on Tuesday that a new Total Contribution Approach (TCA) will be available to pensioners affected by the 2012 changes, and will include up to 20 years of a new Home Caring credit.
This approach is expected to significantly benefit many people, particularly women, whose work history includes an extended period of time outside the paid workplace while raising children or in a caring role.
We in the Independent Alliance identified this as a serious issue last year and raised it with Minister Donohoe during our pre-Budget negotiations in the Autumn. Minister Donohoe gave us a commitment that he would work on fixing this anomaly as a matter of urgency.
Pensioners currently assessed under the 2012 rate band changes will be contacted by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in Autumn of this year and invited to apply for a review. The payments will be back-dated to March 2018 (the same time as the Budget 2018 changes to weekly social welfare payments come into effect).