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Tuesday 21 November 2017

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Irish pensions anomaly withheld from Cabinet until assessment completion

Written by Talya Misiri
13/11/17

A report considering the state pension anomaly in Irish law will not be presented to the Cabinet before its completion, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has announced.

As a result of a law change in 2012, the anomaly has seen women and men who took time out of their careers suffering from reduced pensions of up to €1,500 a year. It has been recognised by the Minister and the Irish government that the issue affects 42,000 men and women and needs to be addressed, the Irish Times has reported.

According to the paper, there had been speculation as to whether Doherty would bring a solution to the issue to the Cabinet on Tuesday 14 November. But, the Minister has explained that she is awaiting the completion of the report to assess the anomaly fully.

The anomaly has led to the loss of the state pension for many men and women who had to take time out of work. These workforce are currently ineligible for the state pension as it is currently based on an averaging system, with a minimum number of contributions required for any pension.

Workers who took time out since 1994 have been able to discount up to 20 years from their working lives for calculating their state pension, but many of those reaching retirement now would have left work before 1994, the Irish Times noted.

Post-1994 discounting applies only to those who left work to raise a family or to care for relatives. The system was changed further in 2012 to double the minimum number of contributions required.

“It’s wrong that people who worked for a shorter period are getting larger pensions,” Doherty told Newstalk Breakfast. “We want to fix it, we will fix it. But I’m not going to bring an incomplete report to Cabinet. I want a complete report and a proposal how to fix the anomaly without creating another anomaly.”

The Minister explained that it would be the mid-term before the anomaly is rectified as it will cost “a large amount of money”.

“We are working on it… It is not so easy to find out how to pay to correct the anomaly.”

The earliest the issue could be addressed is next year’s Budget, Doherty stated.



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