Ireland Launches Public Consultation on State Pension

Government seeks advice in helping design new Total Contributions Approach.

Ireland has launched a public consultation to help inform the design of a new Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to the state pension from 2020.

The approach, which was first announced in the 2010 National Pensions Framework and was also included in the government’s “Roadmap For Pension Reform 2018-2023” published earlier this year, assesses a person’s entitlement to a pension using their total social insurance contributions paid, rather than when they were paid.

The TCA requires consideration from both a policy and budgetary perspective, said Regina Doherty, Ireland’s Employment Affairs and Social Protection minister.

“This consultation process will allow all stakeholders an important opportunity to contribute to the design of the state pension system that will be used in Ireland for decades to come,” Doherty said in a release.  

She said a detailed report will be compiled on the proposals and observations made by those who take part in the consultation, which she said she will use to prepare her proposals on the shape of the final plan. 

“It is also very important to ensure that all employees are putting aside sufficient funds for their old age, so that they won’t face an income shock in retirement,” said Doherty. “The government will establish an automatic enrolment system to enable employees who do not currently set aside personal retirement savings to do so,” she said, adding that there will be a separate consultation later this year on auto-enrollment.

The TCA consultation, which is open until Sept. 3, can be accessed online at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s website at

Doherty also said a TCA option will be available later this year, as an interim measure, for those who reached state pension age after Sept. 1 2012.  

She said the interim TCA option will be legislated for later this year, shortly after which the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection will write to pensioners who may benefit from this reform to inform them of the steps they need to follow to seek a re-assessment of their pension, and to claim the new HomeCaring Credits that are part of the new system. The first payments are expected to be made in the first quarter of next year, including arrears due from March.

“The TCA reform is part of a broader process to improve pension outcomes as set out in the Roadmap for Pensions Reform, 2018-2023,” Doherty said. “Under the roadmap, we guarantee the state pension will remain the bedrock of the Irish pension system.”

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