- Workers turning 65 after January 1st 2020 will not be eligible for State Pension until 2022, as the age of eligibility increases by another year – from 66 to 67 in 2021.
- Pension representatives criticize Government’s handling of changes to the State Pension regime
Tens of thousands of workers turning 65 this year may be forced join the Dole queue for two years as they try to bridge the gap between the standard retirement age of 65 and the new age of eligibility for the State Pension, which is set to increase from the current threshold of 66 to 67 from 2021. These retirees, many of whom will have worked for the last 40 or even 50 years, will have to draw down the job seekers allowance and ‘pretend’ that they are looking for work.
The IAPF (Irish Association of Pension Funds), Ireland’s pension saver representative body, says this situation is highly concerning and demeaning for Ireland’s older population. The pension experts say that while there is some merit in the Government’s rationale to increase the State Pension age, more realistic and workable solutions should be provided for workers who either choose to leave the workplace at 65, or who simply cannot continue to work for health and other practical reasons.
According to Jerry Moriarty, CEO of the IAPF,
“The fact that our Government expects the 30,000 people who will turn 65 in 2020 to sign up for job seekers allowance for two years is nothing short of an insult. A group, who will have contributed to both the Irish tax take and the Irish economy for over 40 years should not have to face this prospect after a lifetime of work.”
The IAPF have are asking the Government to consider two key moves now to avoid those who warrant and deserve a State Pension in the coming year, having to wait until they reach 67 years of age.
“There is still time to rectify matters. Firstly, we would ask that the Government look into how they might introduce the payment of a reduced pension for retirees who need or want to retire before the new State Pension Age. We are also advocating for some form of staged phasing in of the changes, to avoid the cliff edge, and to ensure that these pensioners do not lose out on a full year’s pension”.
The IAPF argue that the Government is devoid of fairness in its current approach to these changes which:
- Will force more people onto the Dole effectively for two years
- Do not make any allowance for people who have to retire as they can no longer do manual work
- Will have a disproportionate impact on poorer people, as the statistics show their mortality rates are higher and therefore, they receive even less in total State pension payments
“With an ageing population it is clear that we will have to take measures to ensure the State pension is sustainable over the long-term. This will involve a combination of additional saving by workers for their retirement, additional Government expenditure on pensions and more people working longer.
If we want people to consider working longer than has been traditionally the case, we must approach this massive shift in social norms with flexibility and compassion. It has to be remembered that not everyone in their mid to late 60s is in a position to work for longer.
With a year until the next increase in State Pension Age, there is time to address these issues.”
About the IAPF
Established in 1973, the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) is a non-profit, non-commercial organisation representing pension savers, whose aim is to ensure we have a secure, fair and simple system of pension provision in Ireland.