Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister for Communities whether work has been carried out to establish if there has been a shortfall in state pension payments to married women in Northern Ireland.
Minister for Communities: Under the State Pension rules that apply before 6 April 2016, individuals may be able to derive entitlement or a top up to their State Pension using their husband’s National Insurance (NI) contributions once he reaches his State Pension age.
My Department is aware that in some instances the proper action was not taken in all cases in line with legislation in place at the time however our early assessment is that volumes in NI will be small. This is due to the fact that the Pension Centre in NI has over the years targeted these type of cases in their routine accuracy checking regime, corrected them and paid arrears when detected.
My Department is checking for further cases and will reassess their entitlement immediately if there has been a shortfall and people will be contacted in these circumstances. In the intervening period if a married woman contacts the Pension Centre enquiring about their State Pension award, staff will check the award and revise if necessary.