Sinn Féin wants a 10-year contribution exemption limit for the state pension

SINN Féin is pushing for a 10-year reduction in the maximum contribution limit for the PRSI state pension scheme.

She is also calling for the reintroduction of a state pension bridging payment for those retiring at 65 and the extension of widows’ pensions to unmarried couples.

The party wants the government to honor a commitment made in 2010 that workers should be entitled to the maximum contributory state pension if they have worked for 30 years or more.

The maximum pension limit is currently set at 40 years.

However, those with fewer than 40 years of contributions may still qualify for high rates of pension – with a cap of 20 years for home carers; alternatively, up to 10 years of contributions can be credited.

Individuals with fewer than 2,080 contributions may still be entitled to a high rate of pension, as up to 1,040 home care periods (20 years) and up to 520 credited contributions (10 years) can be used to calculate the pension.

Sinn Féin outlined its proposals in a submission to the Pensions Committee.

The government has indicated it will ratify major pension reforms that will maintain the state pension age of 66, but workers who retire later will be entitled to a higher pension in five installments, to be introduced shortly.

“The 2010 national pension framework was clear in that it introduces a total contribution obligation of 30 years of contributions for a maximum pension,” said Roscommon TD Claire Kerrane, Sinn Féin’s social protection spokeswoman, in the party’s submission.

“This commitment should be honored.”

In the document, the party later officially recommends reducing the contribution obligation from 40 years to 30 years, in line with the government’s pension framework from 12 years ago.

Sinn Féin is also pushing for a transitional allowance for people retiring at 65 to be reinstated.

From the looks of it, the payment is similar to the Jobseeker’s Benefit, but retirees don’t have to look for work.

However, the maximum rate is €208 per week, with increases for adult dependents.

“Some of these people have never been to social services in their lives and we know from direct contact with people who have been in this situation that they felt really let down by the system,” Ms Kerrane said.

“Sinn Féin has long called for the reintroduction of state pension transitions for those who wish to retire at 65, an end to compulsory retirement to end the practice by employers of preventing a worker from performing their job after a certain age (previously 65 years) and also a longer working life for those who want to work longer.”

She said while that option “isn’t for everyone,” all workers should have the option to choose to retire.

“For those who choose to continue working past age 65, they should be able to continue collecting contributions towards their state pension,” Ms Kerrane said.

The party also calls for pension rates to be linked to the “essential minimum standard of living”.

Department of Social Protection officials are currently working to compare pensions and other benefits to the average industry wage.

Sinn Féin also encourages the state to extend widows’ pensions to couples who did not marry but lived together or had a family.

Ms Kerrane writes that the requirement for a marriage license is “outdated” and “discriminates” against certain couples.

“This issue should be examined and consideration should be given to changing the rules to at least allow access to a widow’s pension if there are dependents,” she said.

Sinn Féin also called for family carers to receive full state pensions and for foster parents to be recognized in the pension system. Sinn Féin wants a 10-year contribution exemption limit for the state pension

Fry Electronics Team

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