independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Retirees turning 65 must wait an extra year for pension

Jerry Moriarty, director of
policy at Irish Association
of Pension Funds
Jerry Moriarty, director of policy at Irish Association of Pension Funds

THOUSANDS of workers are facing a retirement shock as all those hitting 65 next year will have to wait an extra year to get the state pension.

Up to 14,000 people are expected to turn 65 next year.

But a tiny minority of employers are planning to provide workers retiring in 2014 with a bridging pension to make up for the loss of the state scheme.

The State Transition Pension, which is paid for a year to those between the ages of 65 and 66, has been abolished from next year. The new rules mean they will have to wait an extra year to get the full state pension, which is worth €12,000 a year.

The government change is part of a staggered move to increase the retirement age to 68 by 2028.

A survey carried out by the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF), which represents fund trustees, found that just 1.5pc of employers with a defined-benefit scheme plan to pay out a bridging pension to compensate workers for the loss of the state benefit.

Jerry Moriarty, of the IAPF, said the survey showed just one in six employers planned to change the company retirement date to bring it into line with the state pension age.

"The vast bulk (83.9pc) of those pension trustees surveyed responded to the effect that they are not considering adjusting the retirement date on their scheme.

"They are of the opinion that it will be up to the employers to decide whether or not to alter the retirement date of their employees' employment contracts."

A small number of employers may allow their staff to keep working from the age of 65, the survey found.

CONCERNED

"We are concerned that not enough has been done to highlight this issue and we believe many people are going to be in for a shock when they realise they aren't going to get the state pension when they reach the age of 65 in 2014," Mr Moriarty said.

ESRI economist Professor John FitzGerald said there was a question mark around the ability of some private-sector workers to fund a private pension, especially with so many defined-benefit schemes in trouble.

Chief executive of the Irish Brokers' Association Ciaran Phelan said the majority of workers in the private sector did not have sufficient savings to provide for a comfortable retirement. He said the average fund was just €120,000, which would pay an annual pension of €5,000.

Asked how many workers were due to hit 65 next year, a spokeswoman for Social Protection Minister Joan Burton said 12,556 people got the State Transition Pension in 2012.

People affected from January may be able to get jobseeker's benefit or jobseeker's allowance. These payments are €180 a week, less than the state pension of €230 a week.

The Department of Social Protection said those getting the dole at 65 would only have to sign on once over the year and would not be sanctioned if they were not actively seeking a job.

Irish Independent

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