Thousands of women in Louth and across the country are facing massive cuts to their pensions due to changes that have come into effect under the radar this month, according to Louth Fianna Fáil TD Seamus Kirk.
Deputy Kirk said many women in Louth who are due to retire soon have no idea that their pensions payments will be reduced significantly, while others don’t know that they may no longer qualify at all.
“This is due to changes to the State contributory pension which were announced in December’s budget but only came into effect until this month. Women in Louth and across the country who are due to retire shortly are unfairly targeted, as the new rules make no consideration of time they took out of the workplace to raise their children,” explained Deputy Kirk.
Anyone with an average of less than 48 PRSI contributions a year faces a cut to pension payments. Those with the minimum of 10 ‘stamps’ a year on average will see their pension drop to €92 a week, down from the current minimum of €115.20 a week. In many cases, people could be hit with an unexpected cut of thousands of euro over the course of their pension.
Deputy Kirk described it as “an underhand cut to the pension entitlements of thousands of workers in Louth and across the country.”
“It will disproportionately hit women with broken employment records after taking time out to raise their children or to care for relatives. It could also hit people who left the workplace due to a long-term illness or illness in their family,” he said.
“Once again the Government has failed to adequately explain all of this to people. Most people have no idea that these changes are now in place and they certainly don’t know how their own pension will be affected. If this isn’t explained properly, there will be uproar when people who are due to retire soon see an unexpected cut to their pension entitlements over the next few years.
“At the very least, the Government needs to explain the new criteria in a coherent and comprehensive way. People who feel squeezed from every angle at this time need time to plan such significant changes to their incomes.”