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10,400 Irish pensioners could get Brexit ‘hardship’ payments 07.08.17

MORE than 10,000 Irish residents in receipt of a UK pension and non-contributory State pension could be in line for a ‘hardship’ payment after sharp declines in the value of Sterling since Brexit.
Some 10,250 people here hold British retirement pensions and qualify for a weekly, means-tested pension, from the Department of Social Protection.
A further 150 hold a UK pension and are qualified adults on their spouse’s State pension.
The Department said it would take steps to “rebalance” the amounts payable to affected pensioners in the event of a “serious currency fluctuation”.
It said people would have to apply for the top-up which will be subject to a “full assesment” of means.
People in Ireland who rely on modest Sterling pensions have suffered dramatic declines in their retirement income since Britain decided to leave the EU in June 2016.
Before the vote, for example, a weekly pension of £100 Sterling could buy about 130 euro compared to today’s value of about 110 euro. That is a loss of some 20 euro a week or 80 euro a month in retirement income for those affected.
A Department of Social Protection spokesperson said: “There are approximately 10,250 customers of the Department of Social Protection in receipt of British retirement pensions who are in receipt of the means-tested State pension, non-contributory, here. Separately, there are approximately 150 customers, who are in receipt of British retirement pensions and are qualified adults on their spouse’s State pension.
“Where requested by the customer and in an effort to minimise any hardship, the Department of Social Protection urgently reviews the pension payable in line with current EU regulations governing currency conversion rates.”
The spokesperson said, however, that some applicants may not be eligible for an increase.
“Such reviews involve a full assessment of all the customer’s means. An increase in State pension, non-contributory, might not always be warranted when all the customer’s means are updated and reassessed.”
The Department, in a Brexit Q&A on its website also states: “In the event that serious currency fluctuation should arise, resulting in significant negative impact for means-tested pensioners, the Department will take steps to adjust and rebalance the amounts payable to these pensioners to minimise the possibility of hardship.”
Meanwhile, there are tens of thousands more residents here including Border workers and people on private British pensions, who have also seen currency-related slumps in their incomes since Brexit.
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