Dutch case casts doubt on move to raise pension age to 68
The decision to raise the State pension age has been cast into doubt after a Dutch court found against a similar move there.
Partner in Dublin law firm Mason Hayes & Curran, Stephen Gillick, said it was open to those affected by the change to take a similar case here. A successful challenge could limit the State's ability to alter the pension age. He said he was surprised there had not already been a challenge.
At the start of 2014, the traditional State pension paid from the age of 65 ceased to exist.
This means that instead of getting the full contributory pension of €230.30 a week, those who retire from that date will instead have to apply for Jobseeker's Allowance, which is paid at a rate of €188 a week. It is means tested, whereas the State pension is not.
By 2028 the qualification age for the State pension is set to rise to age 68.
The Dutch case concerned a 60-year-old widow in poor health. She was being paid a widow's pension but would cease to be entitled to payment when she reached 65. As the Dutch state pension is not payable until age 67, it left the widow with a two-year income gap.
The Dutch court found that raising the pension age could be considered a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Department of Social Protection responded that case law indicated the change would not be considered a breach of rights where there are valid policy reasons, notably related to State finances.