Social Welfare Law Reform and Pensions Act 2006

16

State pension (non-contributory).

16.— (1) The Principal Act is amended—

( a) by substituting the following for section 153:

“Entitlement to pension.

153.— Subject to this Act, a person shall be entitled to State pension (non-contributory) where—

( a) the person has attained pensionable age,

( b) the means of the person as calculated in accordance with the Rules contained in Part 3 of Schedule 3 do not exceed the appropriate highest amount of means at which pension may be paid to that person in accordance with section 156, and

( c) the person is habitually resident in the State at the date of the making of the application for State pension (non-contributory).”;

( b) by deleting sections 154 and 155;

( c) by substituting the following for section 156:

“Rate of pension and increase for qualified child.

156.— (1) Subject to section 159, the rate (in this Chapter referred to as ‘the scheduled rate’) of State pension (non-contributory) shall be the weekly rate set out in column (2) at reference 4 in Part 1 of Schedule 4 increased by the appropriate amount set out in column (4) of that Part in respect of each qualified child who normally resides with the claimant or beneficiary.

(2) ( a) The pension shall be payable where the weekly means of the claimant or beneficiary—

(i) do not exceed €20.00, at the scheduled rate, and

(ii) subject to paragraph ( b), exceed €20.00, at the scheduled rate reduced by €2.50 for each amount (if any) of €2.50 by which those weekly means exceed €20.00, any fraction of €2.50 in those weekly means being treated for this purpose as €2.50.

( b) Where the rate calculated under paragraph ( a)(ii) at which, but for this paragraph, the pension would be payable is less than €2.50, the pension shall not be payable.”;

( d) in section 157, by substituting the following for subsection (2):

“(2) An increase under subsection (1)( a) shall not be payable where the spouse is—

( a) in receipt of any benefit, pension, assistance or allowance under Part 2 or this Part, or

( b) entitled to or in receipt of an allowance in respect of participation in a scheme administered by the Minister for Education and Science and known as the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme, or

( c) entitled to or in receipt of an allowance in respect of participation in a scheme administered by the Minister and known as—

(i) Back to Education Allowance, or

(ii) Back to Work Allowance, or

(iii) Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, or

(iv) Part-Time Job Incentive.”;

( e) by substituting the following for section 159:

“Rate of pension for persons in receipt of other payments.

159.— In the case of a person who is in receipt of blind pension under Chapter 5 of this Part, widow’s (non-contributory) pension or widower’s (non-contributory) pension under Chapter 6 of this Part, one-parent family payment under Chapter 7 of this Part, a payment referred to in paragraph ( b) or ( c) of the definition of ‘relevant payment’ in section 178 or farm assist under Chapter 11 of this Part, immediately before becoming entitled to State pension (non-contributory), the weekly rate of pension payable shall be the greater of—

( a) an amount equal to the rate of blind pension which was payable in accordance with sections 161B, 161C and 161D immediately before becoming entitled to State pension (non-contributory) and the rate payable in accordance with sections 156, 157 and 158, or

( b) an amount equal to the rate of widow’s (non-contributory) pension or widower’s (non-contributory) pension which was payable in accordance with section 164 immediately before becoming entitled to State pension (non-contributory) and the rate payable in accordance with sections 156, 157 and 158, or

( c) an amount equal to the rate of one-parent family payment which was payable in accordance with section 174 immediately before becoming entitled to State pension (non-contributory) and the rate payable in accordance with sections 156, 157 and 158, or

( d) an amount equal to the rate of farm assist which was payable in accordance with sections 215 and 216 immediately before becoming entitled to State pension (non-contributory) and the rate payable in accordance with sections 156, 157 and 158.”;

( f) by substituting the following for section 160:

“Disqualifi-cations.

160.— (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), a person in receipt of or entitled to widow’s (contributory) pension, widower’s (contributory) pension or old age (contributory) pension or a person in respect of whom an increase of old age (contributory) pension is payable by virtue of section 112(1) shall be disqualified for receipt of State pension (non-contributory).

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a person may be paid State pension (non-contributory) for any period during which the rate of pension payable would be greater than the rate of widow’s (contributory) pension, widower’s (contributory) pension, old age (contributory) pension or the increase thereof, as the case may be, payable.

(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1), in any case where State pension (non-contributory) is so paid, entitlement to widow’s (contributory) pension, widower’s (contributory) pension, old age (contributory) pension or the increase thereof, as the case may be, shall continue but the amount of any such pension or increase payable during any such period shall not be paid to or in respect of the person.”;

and

( g) by substituting the Schedule set out in Schedule 2 to this Act for Schedule 4.

(2) Notwithstanding section 153 (as substituted by subsection (1)(a) of this section) of the Principal Act, a person shall be entitled to a State pension (non-contributory) where—

( a) the person has attained pensionable age, and

( b) on the coming into operation of subsection (1) of this section, the person is in receipt of old age (non-contributory) pension, blind pension, widow’s (non-contributory) pension, widower’s (non-contributory) pension, one-parent family payment or a payment referred to in paragraph ( b) or ( c) of the definition of “relevant payment” in section 178 of the Principal Act.

(3) A decision made by a deciding officer or an appeals officer under the Principal Act in relation to the award of old age (non-contributory) pension, blind pension, widow’s (non-contributory) pension, widower’s (non-contributory) pension or one-parent family payment before the coming into operation of this section, shall be deemed to be a decision to award State pension (non-contributory) to the person concerned on and from such coming into operation, where the person has attained pensionable age.

(4) Where, immediately before the coming into operation of this section, a person has applied for old age (non-contributory) pension, blind pension, widow’s (non-contributory) pension, widower’s (non-contributory) pension or one-parent family payment and that application has not been finally determined, any such application shall be deemed to be an application for State pension (non-contributory), where the person has attained pensionable age.