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54% of women who had State pensions reviewed after 'cruel' 2012 changes will get more money

Changes to the State pension in 2012 meant carers who took time off work received less in their State pension.

Image: Shutterstock/vivooo

54% OF WOMEN who had their State pensions reviewed following “cruel” 2012 changes are to get more money.

Changes to the State pension introduced by the government in 2012 meant that carers who took time off work received less in their State pension – which particularly affected women who took time out to have children.

Last year, Fine Gael promised to review the anomaly, and indicated that it would cost €55 million to fix it. The new approach meant that pensions would be calculated differently, and that up to 20 years of a new HomeCaring credit would be included.

In response to a Parliamentary Question posed by TD Éamon Ó Cuív, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said that reviews commenced on 13 February 2019 and to date, 94,244 reviews have been completed. 

Of these, 53,080 are women and 41,164 are men. 

Of the 53,080 women, a total of 28,520 (54%) received an increase while the rest remain on their existing rate. 

Of the 41,164 men, 9,955 (24%) received an increase and the remainder continue to receive their same rate of payment.

As of the end of September, 21% of those who received an increase received a weekly increase of €30 or more. 

32% received a weekly increase of between €20 and €30, and 10% received an increase of between €10 and €20. A total of 37% received an increase of up to €10 per week. 

Of those awarded an increase of less than €10 following review, 7,662 are now in receipt of the maximum rate of State pension (contributory). 

Speaking in July, TD Mary Butler, Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on older people, said older people are still paying the price of “mean-spirited” changes which disproportionately impact on women. 

“I have been contacted by pensioners who are extremely disappointed and disillusioned with the process and feel that they are being discriminated against,” she said. 

“The cruel pension anomaly brought in by Fine Gael and Labour is continuing to penalise pensioners – mostly women who took time out of the workforce to care for family members or raise children – and is not only deeply unfair, it is also deeply disrespectful.”

Where an increase is due, the Department said that the person’s rate of payment is adjusted without delay and arrears issued backdated to 30 March 2018, or the person’s 66th birthday if later.

With reporting by Gráinne Ní Aodha

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