State pensions outlook still unclear after 2020

Q&A: Dominic Coyle

We don’t yet have the full details of what is happening after 2020. Photograph: iStock

We don’t yet have the full details of what is happening after 2020. Photograph: iStock

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I started work in 1975 at 17 years of age. At 36, I went on medical certs. A year later, I transferred to Invalidity Pension. Under present rules, I would automatically transfer to full contributory old age pension. Will this remain the same after 2020?

Ms C.O’C., email

We don’t yet have the full details of what is happening after 2020.

What we do know is that the yearly averaging system that people have been using for many years will go and a new total contributions system will come into force.

Under that system, you will certainly be entitled to some contributory State pension when you reach pensionable age – then 67 – in 2025. Whether it will be a full weekly payment or a fraction of that will only become clear when the Government publishes their full post-2020 plan.

The measures announced to date have focused entirely on the position of people who have retired since September 2012 – when the regime was changed and made more onerous – and 2020, when the new system will come fully into effect.

For this cohort, they can choose which calculation will offer them the higher payment. That choice will no longer exist post-2020, but that doesn’t mean the Government will necessarily stop people in your position transferring with the same entitlements they now have. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Please send your queries to Dominic Coyle, Q&A, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2, or by email to dcoyle@irishtimes.com. This column is a reader service and is not intended to replace professional advice.

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