The first reviews for pensioners who received less than the maximum rate of pension on post Budget 2012 rate-bands have been adjusted with the vast majority benefitting, North Cork Fine Gael Councillor John Paul O’Shea said.
Cllr O’Shea said: “As of the week ending Friday 22 February, 1,138 reviews were completed and from this 86% (978) have resulted in an increase in their payment and 14% will continue on their existing payment. Reviews will continue to be processed until all identified pensioners receive a review outcome in writing.
“The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty has confirmed her department is currently examining the pension payments of approximately 90,000 pensioners nationwide who reached pension age on or after the 1st September 2012.
“This is good news for Cork pensioners, who lost out following Budget 2012, when the government introduced changes to rate bands which reduced some pension payments.
“These payments are being reviewed under a new Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to pension calculation which includes provision for home caring periods. The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has already written to these pensioners to explain the process. “It is great that the economy has recovered significantly to allow this review to take place,” the Cork North West general election candidate said.
Minister Doherty said: “I am pleased to see that the first decisions have begun issuing to pensioners since I signed the necessary regulations to allow the increased payments to be made on foot of the reviews. This review will benefit many pensioners and even where pension rates do not increase, I want to assure everyone no pensioner will be worse off as a result.
“Given the number of reviews involved, the process is expected to continue for a number of months to complete but my Department is committed to doing this as speedily as possible for all the pensioners involved and has recruited additional staff to carry out the necessary work.
“Where due, increased payments will be made without delay and will include arrears of pension back to the 30th March 2018, or the pensioner’s 66th birthday if later than that. Where pension rates do not increase as a result of this review, they will continue to be paid at their existing rate of entitlement.”