State Pension Contributory Rate Review - FAQ's


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  1. Are all State Pension Contributory customers eligible to have their rate of pension recalculated using the new calculation method?

  2. I get more that €243.30 per week. Will I be reviewed?

  3. I qualified for State Pension contributory before 1 September 2012, am I eligible for review?

  4. When is the new scheme going to be up and running?

  5. Do I have to contact the Department to let you know I'm on a reduced Pension?

  6. I qualified for state pension contributory after 1/9/2012, but was better off on another payment. Am I eligible for a review?

  7. When will you be notifying pensioners of the outcome of the review?

  8. When will you be making payments?

  9. I am receiving an Increase for qualified adult. Will my Increase for qualified adult rate change if I receive an increase to my pension?

  10. What is the aggregated contributions method?

  11. I have heard in the papers of the Total Contribution Approach, is this different to the Aggregated Contribution Method?

  12. What are HomeCaring Periods and how will you use them to improve my SPC rate?

  13. I left the workforce when my first child was born and did not return to paid employment until my youngest reached 16 years of age. Are all these periods eligible to be considered as HomeCaring Periods?

  14. Am I eligible for HomeCaring Period for time I was living outside of the country?

  15. My spouse and I both have gaps in our record in the same period and have one child. Are we both eligible for HomeCaring Periods?

  16. My spouse and I both have gaps in our record in the same period and have more than one children. Are we both eligible for HomeCaring Periods?

  17. I will be reaching 66 in 2019. Can I be eligible for a review?

  18. Will everyone be entitled to an increase?

  19. What do I need to do next?


1. Are all State Pension Contributory customers eligible to have their rate of pension recalculated using the new calculation method?

No, only state pension contributory customers (men and women) with a date of birth on, or after, the 1 September 1946, with a personal rate of payment less than €243.30 per week will be reviewed using the new calculation method.

2. I get more that €243.30 per week. Will I be reviewed?

The maximum personal rate of state pension contributory is €243.30 per week.  There are a number of increases you might be getting which could mean your total weekly payment is more than €243.30.  These could include:

  • Increase for qualified adults
  • Increase for qualified child
  • Household benefits package
  • Fuel Allowance,
  • Living Alone Increase,
  • Telephone Support Allowance
  • Island Allowance

However, once your weekly personal rate of payment is less than €243.30 excluding the increases mentioned above, and you were born  on or after 1/9/1946, your rate of pension  will be reviewed.

3. I qualified for State Pension contributory before 1 September 2012, am I eligible for review?

No, if you were getting State Pension Contributory before 1 September 2012, then your date of birth is before 1 September 1946 and you are not eligible for this review.

4. When is the new scheme going to be up and running?

We have started contacting people in relation to reviews and will continue to make contact with people throughout the first half of 2019, until all the reviews have been completed.

There is no need to worry if you do not hear about your review right away because if you qualify for an increase your increase will be backdated to the 30th of March 2018, or the date you turned 66 if later.

5. Do I have to contact the Department to let you know I'm on a reduced Pension?

No, we will be able to find all the State Pension Contributory customers on a reduced rate of payment. You do not need to contact us to let us know you are on a reduced rate of payment.

6. I qualified for state pension contributory after 1/9/2012, but was better off on another payment. Am I eligible for a review?

Yes, If you previously qualified for a reduced rate State Pension Contributory and are now getting another payment, which is less than €243.30 per week, we will be in touch in the coming months telling you what to do next. You do not need to take any further action until we contact you directly. In the meantime you will continue to receive your current rate of payment.

7. When will you be notifying pensioners of the outcome of the review?

We have started making contact with pensioners who are being reviewed and will continue to contact customers throughout the first half of 2019, until all the reviews have been completed.

It will take a number of months to work through all the reviews because of the number of people involved. There is no need to worry if you do not hear about your review right away because any person who qualifies for an increase will have their increase backdated to the 30th of March 2018, or the date they turned 66 if later. 

8. When will you be making payments?

The first pension increases are expected to be paid in January 2019. Arrears of pension due will begin to be paid at that time as well. It will take a number of months to work through all the reviews because of the number of people involved.

There is no need to worry if you do not hear about your review right away because any person who qualifies for an increase will have their increase backdated to the 30th of March 2018, or the date they turned 66 if later. .

9. I am receiving an Increase for qualified adult. Will my Increase for qualified adult rate change if I receive an increase to my pension?

Yes, if your personal rate of pension ins increased, the rate of your Increase for Qualified Adult will increase as well. Any increase will be back date to 30 March 2018 or the date the Increase for qualified was awarded from, whichever is the later.

10. What is the aggregated contributions method??

This is a new calculation method for State Pension Contributory (SPC) being introduced for SPC pensions with a date of birth on or after 1/9/1946, who qualify for a reduced rate of pension.  This new method does not use a yearly average to the rate of SPC instead the rate of pension  is based on the total number of contributions you have paid. 

It you have 2,080 or more social insurance contributions (or 40 years full time employment) you will qualify for a maximum personal rate of contributory pension. 

If you have less than 2,080 contributions, up to 520 credited contributions  may be used as part of your pension calculation.

The inclusion of new HomeCaring Periods also may help you to qualify for a higher rate of pension entitlement. Up to 1,040 HomeCaring Periods (equivalent to 20 years) may be included as part of your pension re-calculation. 

If you have credited contributions on your record, and less than 1,040 HomeCaring Periods we include up to 520 (equivalent to 10 years) credited contributions to your HomeCaring Period, but the combined total of credits and HomeCaring Periods cannot be more than 1,040. 

If your combined total of paid contributions, HomeCaring Periods and credited contributions is less than 2,080, you would qualify for a proportionality reduced rate of pension.    

For example a combined total of 1,560 of paid contributions, HomeCaring Periods and credited contributions, would entitle you to 75% of pension (1,560 / 2,080 = 75%).

11. I have heard in the papers of the Total Contribution Approach, is this different to the Aggregated Contribution Method?

They are both the same, the Aggregated Contribution Method is the official name for the new State Pension Contributory test which will be used in the rate review project.

12. What are HomeCaring Periods and how will you use them to improve my SPC rate?

.A Home Caring Period is the name for a period of time when you were not employed or signing on for credits because you were providing full-time care for:

  • a child or children under 12 years,    
  • a child or children over 12 years who needed an increased level of care, or
  • an adult who needed an increased level of care.

You can only be awarded HomeCaring Periods if you were born on or after 1 September 1946.

A HomeCaring period may be awarded for each week not already covered by a paid or credited social insurance contribution, where you were caring for someone in the one of the above categories. 

HomeCaring Periods can only be used in a State Pension Contributory Aggregated Calculation Method test.

13. I left the workforce when my first child was born and did not return to paid employment until my youngest reached 16 years of age. Are all these periods eligible to be considered as HomeCaring Periods?

HomeCaring Periods can be awarded from a child’s date of birth up until they are 12 years of age. 

If you had a number of children, and each was born within 12 years of each other, you be considered for HomeCaring Periods from the date of birth of the oldest child to the 12th birthday of the youngest child

You are not eligible to be considered for HomeCaring Periods once the child turns 12, unless your child is in need of an increased level of care.  In such instanced no upper age limit applies, but you would need to show the need for the increased level of care

I was unemployed for some, but not all of the periods while I was caring for my children.  Am I eligible to be considered for HomeCaring Periods?
Yes. Once you satisfy the conditions for the HomeCaring Periods scheme, we can award a HomeCaring Period for each week you were not receiving a jobseeker payment from us.    

14. Am I eligible for HomeCaring Period for time I was living outside of the country?

No. You must be living in the Republic of Ireland to qualify for HomeCaring Periods.

15. My spouse and I both have gaps in our record in the same period and have one child. Are we both eligible for HomeCaring Periods?

Only one person can benefit from a HomeCaring Period for supporting a child or adult for any specific period — for example only one parent can benefit from one HomeCaring period for one child at a time. It will be necessary for you to decide who (you or your spouse) will claim the HomeCaring Periods in respect of that child in situation where the gaps in your social insurance records coincide.

It is possible to share the HomeCaring periods in respect of that child, for example you may wish to claim the HomeCaring Periods when your child was 0-6, and your spouse would benefit from them when your child was 6-12.

16. My spouse and I both have gaps in our record in the same period and have more than one children. Are we both eligible for HomeCaring Periods?

Each child will be eligible to be considered for HomeCaring Period from each child’s date of birth until they each reach 12 years of age, unless they are in need of an increased level of care, where no upper age limit applies. If it would benefit you and your spouse to claim HomeCarining Periods for different children, you may do so. However, only one parent can be awarded a HomeCaring Period for one child at a time.

17. I will be reaching 66 in 2019. Can I be eligible for a review? ?

If you have already received an award letter from us then yes we will review your rate of pension as part of the review project.

If you have not yet applied for State Pension Contributory, then we will check your rate of entitlement based on all the available pension tests, including the new Aggregated Contribution Method and award you the best rate of pension possible.

18. Will everyone be entitled to an increase?

The review will not lead to

an increase in every pension. If you are not entitled to an increase, you will continue to receive your current rate of pension entitlement. Your rate of pension will not be reduced as a result of this review

19. What do I need to do next?

You do not need to do anything until we write to you again. Once we have examined your record, we will write to tell you the outcome of your review or to ask you for more information.

Last modified:02/01/2019
 

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