Latest: State pension payments will not be back-dated, says Minister

Update 8pm: Pensioners who have lost out financially on State pension payments will not be reimbursed, despite a new system for calculating pensions being introduced.

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said payments would not be backdated to pensioners who had been negatively affected by changes made in 2012.

They will only be entitled to increased payments once the changes are implemented in March.

Ms Doherty was speaking in the Dail after announcing a new calculation system for pensions, aimed at addressing inequalities in the current system.

Some pensioners have seen their State benefit reduced by up to €30 a week over the past five years because of revised rate bands.

The new system will take effect from March 30 this year and, unlike the current system, it will factor in years spent caring for family.

"The length of period of time of someone's working life is no longer going to be the key factor in determining their pension payments," Ms Doherty said.

"Their total contributions, regardless of the amount of years that they worked, is going to be what's going to be key alongside the addition of a credit for home-caring whether that's for caring for your children or caring for an elderly relative."

The new measures are being introduced to amend changes made by the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government in 2012.

The former Government made changes to the system which has led to reduced rates for women who sacrificed their careers, gave up permanent jobs or were forced to quit work to look after their children.

Last week scores of aggrieved women and campaigners protested outside Leinster House to highlight the inequalities in pension reforms.

Up to 40,000 people are affected, many of them women.

Age Action Ireland said the changes fall short of what pensioners were demanding.

Spokesman Justin Moran said the charity was disappointed that the government had not opted to simply reverse the 2012 cuts.

"It's clear she (the minister) has been listening to those who lost out but it falls short of what pensioners were demanding," he said.

"It also means those who were out of the workforce for reasons other than providing care won't benefit from this at all."

The cost of the changes to the system are expected to cost 40 million euro.

The first payments, under the new scheme, will be made in early 2019.

- PA

Earlier: Regina Doherty announces pension changes that should give 30,000 retired people a rise

The Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty, has announced pension changes that should see 30,000 retired people see a rise in their pensions.

It is aimed at closing a loophole brought in back in 2012 which saw 40,000 pensioners losing out on around €1,500 a year.

This was largely mothers who had been out of the workforce to raise children.

A new homecare credit will allow people to get their full state pension if they have stayed at home for up to 20 years before returning to the workforce.

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty.
Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty.

- Digital Desk

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