Dáil Éireann - Volume 632 - 01 March, 2007

Written Answers. - Pension Provisions.

Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the fact that an anomaly now exists with regards to the pensions of women civil servants who were obliged to retire from the service on marriage and who returned, having repaid their marriage gratuity with interest, to the service, post 1995 in view of the fact that civil servants are now obliged to pay full social welfare and it now transpires that the women who returned post 1995 find that under a new formula their previous service is being aggregated with their current service thus reducing their pension entitlements substantially; his views on whether this is an anomaly situation which affects all women who were forced to retire on marriage and return to the service post 1995; and when he will propose to address this anomaly. [8066/07]

  Mr. Cowen: Civil Servants appointed prior to April 1995 pay a modified rate of Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) and are not eligible for most Social Welfare benefits, including the Old Age Contributory Pension (OACP). Their personal pension entitlements are met entirely from the Civil Service (occupational) Pension Scheme.

All staff (with minor exceptions) appointed or reappointed as established civil servants on or after 6th April 1995 are full Class A PRSI contributors. As such they are entitled to the full range of Social Welfare benefits. Their civil service retirement benefits are integrated with the OACP.

The introduction of “integrated pensions” in 1995 was designed in such a way as to ensure that the combination of personal Social Welfare and civil service pension benefits was at least as favourable as the civil service benefits payable to pre 1995 appointees.

Any officer who received a marriage gratuity as a result of the “marriage bar” and who was subsequently re-appointed as an established civil servant is entitled to have all of the earlier service reckoned for civil service pension purposes subject to repayment of the gratuity with appropriate compound interest.

A person whose reappointment was prior to 1995 would, on retirement, receive a civil service pension and lump-sum calculated by reference to salary and length of service.

In the case of persons reappointed after 1 April 1995 the civil service retirement lump sum would be calculated on the same basis as above. Civil [1671] service pension would be calculated by reference to length of service but by reference to “integrated salary” i.e. salary less twice the personal rate of OACP. However, when aggregated with OACP entitlements, the total pension payable would be at least equal to, and in many cases greater than, the pension payable to a comparable pre 1995 appointee.

I would not accept therefore that the occupational pension entitlements of persons re-appointed after 1995 are less favourable than those of persons appointed or reappointed prior to that time.

The existing Social Welfare entitlements of a retiring officer who is in full PRSI and who is in receipt of a Social Welfare Spouse's pension prior to retirement are subject to review where the person is entitled also to receive an OACP following retirement. In these circumstances the officer is entitled to one Social Welfare benefit payment only and is awarded the greater of the benefits. This is a feature of the Social Insurance system [1672] and applies to all individuals covered by full PRSI. I would not accept that it is an anomaly situation affecting women who resigned from the civil service on marriage but who were reappointed to the civil service subsequent to 1995.