Calleary welcomes movement on pension anomaly back pay – Around 79,000 pensioners affected by change –

Fianna Fáil Deputy Leader and TD for Mayo Dara Calleary has received confirmation from the Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection that her department will be writing to pensioners shortly to outline how the review of the changes in rate bands for the state pension will work.

Last January Minister Regina Doherty acceded to Fianna Fáil demands to reverse a punitive change introduced by the previous Fine Gael and Labour government, which resulted in women, who spent time out of the workplace to care for children or a loved one, being penalised in their pension entitlements.

While this government u-turn was welcomed, many pensioners have been left confused by the process.

Deputy Calleary explained, “The reversal of this measure was announced over 10 months ago but there had been no movement on it up until this point.  Pensioners have been getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of information from the Department – many of the people contacting my office were expecting to have received payments by now, however the reality is that payments will not be made until January 2019 at the earliest.

“I appreciate that a timeline for the roll out of back payments was detailed when Minister Doherty first announced the decision to rectify this pension anomaly last January, but there has been an information vacuum since then.  I welcome the fact that the Department will be “writing to the pensioners concerned shortly, to let them know how the process of review will work”.  However, it would have been better practice to keep the information channels open throughout the year.

“I am urging the Minister to move quickly to process these changes and back-payments without delay once the legislation needed to enact these changes is passed”.