Kildare South Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon has said that proposals announced to address anomalies in our pension system affecting many women who took time out from their careers to care for children or family members is due recognition of that important work. The proposals were approved by cabinet this morning and confirmed by Minister Regina Doherty this afternoon.
“This anomaly first arose when the calculation rules for contributory pensions were changed in 2012 to an averaging system. In the years since I have met many Kildare pensioners who were affected by the rule change and so received reduced pensions on their retirement.
“I have engaged with Minister Regina Doherty and her predecessor now Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to highlight the issue in recent years. As it affects many people in different ways there has not been one obvious solution that would not have knock on impacts for other pensioners.
“The proposals announced today are recognition that women who spent valuable time caring for their families should not be penalised for that work. The homemakers scheme established in 1994 means that caring duties since 1994 are factored into pension calculations but the years before that had not previously been addressed.
“Today’s proposals will allow individuals to review their pension on a total contributions basis rather than the current averaging system. It will also provide additional homecaring credits for up to 20 years for homemaking and caring duties. Where individuals will be better off under the new scheme they can choose to move to the higher rate.
“These changes will come into effect from 30 March 2018 and will be paid from early 2019. I look forward to working with those affected in Co. Kildare to submit their details and hope to see their pensions increased where possible.