Many retirees need to take new jobs to ‘fill the gap’ before pension kicks in.

Irish workers are losing out on state pension payments because they are not applying in time for their benefits.

This is according to former Pensions Ombudsman Paul Kenny who said many people believe all they have to do is apply for their state pension when they are eligible – however Paul has warned that it is not as simple as that. 

Mr Kenny advises people to apply at least six months before they are due to collect it but said they should be preparing for retirement in mid-life at the latest.

In his work with the Retirement Planning Council of Ireland, he also encourages those approaching retirement age to consider a new job to ‘fill the gap’ between retiring and being entitled to the state pension.

Mr Kenny, who is a course leader with the Retirement Planning Council and was Ireland’s first Pensions Ombudsman, was speaking ahead of Pensions Awareness Week 2021 (PAW21).

Paul Kenny, course leader with the Retirement Planning Council and former Pensions Ombudsman, said:

“People need to ensure that they apply on time for their state pensions, so they don’t lose out. State pensions are only backdated by six months so if you are late applying, they will not backdate, and you will lose out on payments. People’s situations can often be quite complicated and there can be a gap in the information — even one missing contribution can seriously affect your end payment — so you need to allow enough time to sort it out.

People think they can just apply for their state pension when they are eligible, but they need to have all the information gathered first. Ideally, you should apply at least six months out and, prior to that, you need to apply for your social welfare record, which can take time. People often find gaps they can’t explain in their social welfare record that might take time to sort out. Others who thought they were not entitled to a pension often discover that they are.

“Many won’t appreciate how important it is to get credits onto your record if there is a gap between retiring and state pensions age. By working for a single week, you get into Class A and all credits that you get after that are in Class A – not a lot of people know that.”

“The time to start planning for your retirement is your first week at work. But I would like to see people looking at the opportunities at least in mid-life so they can be prepared.”

Paul Kenny will be speaking with Declan Allen of Allen Retirement and Finance about Approaching Retirement – 10 years out [view session] and Approaching Retirement – 1 year out [view session] as part of PAW21.

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