Sinn Féin TD for Sligo, Leitrim, North Roscommon and South Donegal, Martin Kenny says many of his constituents tell him that they are still confused about the changes to pension arrangements for those who reached pension age in or after 2012.
“The main point,” he said, “is that no one will have a pension cut. It either will be increased or stay the same. However, any changes will be back dated only to March last year. They will be not be backdated until 2012, when the changes were originally implemented.
“I hope this guide will help people know where they stand now,” he added.
· On 23rd January last, the government announced measures to allow pensioners affected by the 2012 changes in rate bands to have their pension entitlement reviewed on a total contributions basis;
· This new calculation method includes a provision for up to 20 years of home caring in the calculation of that entitlement;
· The changes apply to those who reached pension age on or after 1st September 2012 and were awarded on post Budget 2012 rate bands;
· Letters are now being issued to 76,000 pensioners including 9,000 who live abroad – this letter informs them that they are included as part of the Department’s pension rate review and therefore, their current pension rate will be re-calculated;
· It is important to note that their pension rate will either increase or stay the same – nobody will see their rate reduced following the review;
· The reviews are expected to begin in January 2019 and each individual will receive correspondence from the Department detailing the outcome of their review;
· If a person is entitled to an increase they will receive it in March 2019 and this will be backdated to March 2018 (or the date they turned 66 years – whichever is later) – it will not be backdated to 2012 when the changes were implemented
· If the Department require information from an individual on gaps in their PRSI record they will be contacted to provide information such as time spent in the home raising children or caring for someone
· If the Department contact a person looking for additional information they will ask them to reply via an online form – this is something to be aware of as some older people may be unable to use the online method of reply and they may not have anyone to help them – the Department have said that they will arrange another means of reply if this is a problem
· Anyone who receives a letter telling them that their pension rate is being reviewed does not need to do anything or reply to the Department – they will be contacted if additional information is needed otherwise they will receive a letter informing them of the outcome of their review before March next year
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