FINE Gael has promised to introduce a pension transition payment for people who want to retire at 65, so that they would not have to seek jobseeker’s allowance while waiting for the state pension.
Proposed changes to the pension age are becoming a key issue in the general election, with parties pledging to lower the age at which people become eligible to receive the state pension.
The qualifying age for the state pension is 66, having increased from 65 in 2014.
The age is set to increase again, to 67 in 2021, and 68 in 2028.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said leaving the state pension age below 67 would be “irresponsible” and that “reforming makes sense.”
“If pensions are going to be sustainable into the future, we will need to increase the pension age along with life expectancy.”
Fine Gael plan to press ahead and increase the pension age to 67, but are proposing a transition pension, or an early retirement pension, for people contractually required to retire earlier. Minister for Social Protection, Regina Doherty, said: “People have been telling me that it is not fair that, having worked 30 or 40 years, that some people will be forced to sign on to the live register.
“We recognise that, so we are going to re-introduce a pensions pathway, or transition payments, that does not have the conditions attached, like the jobseeker’s payment, to the habitual residency rule, because we know that pensioners want to travel and they should be allowed travel.”
When asked where the money will come from to fund the transitional payment, Minister Doherty said: “The social insurance fund came under incredible pressure during the great recession and I want to make sure that never happens again.
“The total-contributions model of how we manage pensions, and we calculate pensions, will be brought forward and come into play this year.”