Fine Gael TD for Kildare South and Chairman of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party, Martin Heydon, has received confirmation from Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty that the first reviews of reduced contributory pensions have been processed this week. The Minister was replying to a parliamentary question on the progress of the reviews from Deputy Heydon.

“This has been a huge issue of concern for many Kildare residents, particularly women in receipt of reduced contributory pensions. I am pleased to see the promised reviews are now being processed on this important matter and I hope we will see revised and increased pension amounts paid very shortly.

“As the required legislative and system changes are now in place, the Minister confirmed that the first reviews have been processed this week. Where an increase in awarded, the rate of payment will be adjusted without delay and backdated to 30 March 2018 or the persons 66th birthday if later. Where a pension rate does not increase as a result of this review, the person will continue to receive their existing rate of payment. No one will be worse off as a result of this review.

“The Minister confirmed to me that her department is examining the social insurance records of around 90,000 pensioners, born on or after 1 September 1946 who are currently in receipt of a reduced rate state contributory pension. Information letters issued in late 2018 to those included in the review to explain the review process. Last month almost 24,000 requests for additional information issued where there were unexplained gaps in an individual’s social insurance records.

“While the information requested can be submitted online, the Minister also advised that paper applications are now being made available to those who have requested them through the Departments dedicated telephone number.