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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Glossary of HSE Pension Terms

To what Pension Scheme do I belong?

What benefits does the Pension Scheme provide?

Who is eligible to join the Scheme?

What factors will be taken into account in determining benefits?

Are contributions payable towards the benefits of the Scheme?

What service is reckonable for benefits?

On what rate of pay are benefits calculated?

When are benefits payable?

What rate of retirement pension and lump sum is payable?

What is the position if I become too ill to continue in employment?

Can Preserved Benefits be payable earlier than 60/65?

For how long is my pension paid?

Is there any provision for my pension to be increased to take account of inflation?

Are benefits reduced if I become re-employed by a local authority in a temporary capacity after I retire or resign?

What benefits would apply if I died in service?

What happens if I leave the service of the Executive otherwise than by reason of age or ill health retirement?

How or when do I qualify for preserved benefits?

Can I obtain a refund of my contributions in any circumstances?

What does transferred service mean?

How are benefits and contributions treated for income tax purposes?

What are added years or additions to service?

What can I do if I have a shortfall of service?

Can I allocate part of my pension?

What is a short service gratuity?

Spouses’ and Children’s Pension Scheme

Can I leave the Scheme?

Who is regarded as a “child” for the purposes of the Scheme?

To whom are children’s pensions payable?

If my spouse dies what happens to the children’s pension?

If my spouse re-marries, what happens to the pension and the children’s pension?

Do I have to contribute towards the benefits of the Scheme?

Are my Spouses and Childrens Scheme contributions refunded if I remain unmarried throughout the time that the Scheme applies to me?

How are Spouses’ and Children’s pensions calculated?

What benefits would apply if I died shortly after retirement?

Have I a right to make a complaint about any aspect of my pension entitlements?

 

 

 

To what Pension Scheme do I belong?

The majority are members of the Local Government Superannuation Scheme (LGSS). Persons, however, who commenced employment with the HSE on or after 01 January 2005, not having already been a member of the LGSS immediately prior to such commencement, will be a member of the HSE Model Superannuation Scheme. These schemes are unfunded ‘pay as you go’ schemes. They are statutory defined benefit schemes, in that the benefit payable is defined in the scheme rules and is not affected by investment returns etc.

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What benefits does the Pension Scheme provide?

The main benefits are:

  • Retirement pension and lump sum
  • Death gratuity
  • Spouses’ & Children’s pension

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Who is eligible to join the Scheme?

Virtually all staff, with the exception of those on sessional rates of pay, are eligible to join the Scheme.

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What factors will be taken into account in determining benefits?

The benefits will depend upon the following factors:

1.  Your basic salary/wages

2.  Your pensionable allowances/premia, if any

3.  Your service

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Are contributions payable towards the benefits of the Scheme?

Class D Officer:- Contributions are payable towards your own retirement pension and lump sum benefits at the rate of 5% of your salary and pensionable allowances.

If applicable, additional contributions are payable at the rate of 1.5% of your salary and pensionable allowances towards the Widows & Orphans / Spouses & Children’s Pension Scheme.

Class A Officer (LGSS)/Class A Officer & Non-Officer (HSE):- Contributions are payable at the rate of 1.5% of your full salary and pensionable allowances plus 3.5% of your full salary and pensionable allowances less twice the current rate of social welfare old age contributory pension.

If applicable, additional contributions are payable at the rate of 1.5% of your full salary and pensionable allowances towards the Widows & Orphans / Spouses & Children’s Pension Scheme.

Class A Non-Officer(LGSS):- Contributions are payable at the rate of 1.5% of your full wages and pensionable allowances plus 3.5% of your full wages and pensionable allowances less twice the current rate of social welfare old age contributory pension.

If applicable, additional contributions are payable at the rate of 1.5% of your full wages and pensionable allowances less twice the current rate of social welfare old age contributory pension towards the Widows & Orphans / Spouses & Children’s Pension Scheme.

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What service is reckonable for benefits?

1.     Pensionable service;

2.     Temporary whole-time service which precedes permanent whole-time (i.e. pensionable) service;

3.     Certain part-time service;

4.     Certain other transferred service

5.     Additional or added service allowed in certain circumstances

6.     Certain service in respect of which you may already have received a gratuity or a refund of contributions provided you made an appropriate repayment.

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On what rate of pay are benefits calculated?

In most cases benefits are based on basic salary/wages, plus any pensionable allowances, on the date of retirement or death. If, however, you change grade (e.g. promotion) within the last 3 years of service, an average salary figure may be used. 

Pensionable allowances are normally averaged over the last 3 years of service, though this may soon change to the best 3 years over a 10-year period prior to retirement/death.

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When are benefits payable?

Retirement benefits can be paid at any time from the minimum retirement age up to the upper age limit subject to the appropriate service requirement.  For the majority of people, the minimum retirement age is 60 years, although for new entrants after1st April 2004 the minimum retirement age is now 65. The minimum retirement age for those registered under the Mental Treatment Act 1945 is 55 years. Where a person retires on the grounds of ill health before the minimum retirement age there is provision to pay the benefits at the time of certification of the ill health.

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What rate of retirement pension and lump sum is payable?

 

METHOD OF CALCULATION OF LUMP SUM AND PENSION

Scheme member retiring with 34.5 years service (6 years of which is given prior to 27 May 1977) on a pensionable remuneration (i.e. pensionable salary / wages plus pensionable allowances) of €40,000 per annum and having opted for the Superannuation Revision Scheme 1977

Rate of Contributory Old Age Pension (COAP) = €209.30 per week (i.e. weekly rate as of January 2007) multiplied by 52.18 multiplied by 3.333333 = €36,404.24 (COAP x 3.333333)

Class A Officer (LGSS) / Class A Officer & Non-Officer (HSE)

Lump Sum                                3/80 x pensionable remuneration x pensionable service

                                                3/80 x €40,000 x 34.5  =          €51,750.00

Superannuation Allowance        1/200 x pensionable remuneration less than or equal to

(i.e. Pension)                            COAP x 3.333333 x pensionable service plus

                                                1/80 x (pensionable remuneration in excess of COAP x                                                            3.333333) x pensionable service

                                                1/200 x €36,404.24 x 34.5  =                          €6,279.73

                                                1/80 x (€40,000.00 - €36,404.24) x 34.5  =   €1,550.67

                                                Total                                                                €7,830.40 p. a.

Class A Non-Officer (LGSS)

Lump Sum                                3/80 x pensionable remuneration x pensionable service

                                                3/80 x €40,000 x 34.5  =          €51,750.00

Superannuation Allowance        1/80 x pensionable remuneration x pensionable service prior (i.e. Pension)                                to 27 May 1977plus

                                                1/200 x pensionable remuneration less than or equal to                                                 COAP x 3.333333 x pensionable service given on or after 27                                       May 1977 plus

                                                1/80 x (pensionable remuneration in excess of COAP x                                                 3.333333) x pensionable service given on or after 27                                                    May 1977

                                                1/80 x €40,000 x 6  =                                     €3,000.00

                                                1/200 x €36,404.24 x 28.5  =                          €5,187.60

                                                1/80 x (€40,000.00 - €36,404.24) x 28.5  =   €1,280.99

                                                Total                                                                €9,468.59 p. a.

Class D Officer

Lump Sum                                3/80 x pensionable remuneration x pensionable service

                                                3/80 x €40,000 x 34.5  =          €51,750.00

Superannuation Allowance        1/80 x pensionable remuneration x pensionable service (i.e. Pension)

                                                1/80 x €40,000 x 34.5  =          €17,250.00 per annum

There may be deductions from the Lump Sum e.g. any outstanding contributions due to reckon periods of service and contributions due to the Widows & Orphans / Spouses & Children’s Pension Scheme.

In addition to the pension entitlements payable by the employer, a member may also qualify for entitlement to benefits from the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs (This will more usually apply to Class A Officers and Non Officers but some Class D Officers may have a Social Welfare entitlement)

If you resign before age 60 and qualify for a preserved pension and lump sum, benefits will be based on your reckonable service and your reckonable pay on the date of your resignation uprated to take account of increases in salary/wages generally between that date and your 60th birthday.

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What is the position if I become too ill to continue in employment?

Subject to certain conditions you may retire on ill-health grounds.

A pension and lump sum, calculated in the same way as an age retirement pension and lump sum, will be paid to you provided you have a minimum service requirement of 5 years. 

As well as your actual service you may be allowed an additional period of service.  This added service, is calculated by reference to the length of your actual service and your age at the date of your retirement and is to compensate you for the fact that you have to retire prematurely. 

The maximum addition is 10 years but very few, if any, will qualify for this.

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Can Preserved Benefits be payable earlier than 60/65?

If you are aged 50, 55 in the case of new entrants after 1/4/2004, and resign with an entitlement to preserved benefits, you may take early payment of those benefits in accordance with the terms of the Cost Neutral Early Retirement Scheme. An actuarial reduction will apply in accordance with the terms of the Scheme.

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For how long is my pension paid?

Your pension is paid for the period of your lifetime.

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Is there any provision for my pension to be increased to take account of inflation?

Yes. Your pension (or any Spouse’s and Children’s Pension, payable after your death) will generally be increased to take account of increases in the pay of your former grade and is subject to overall government policy.

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Are benefits reduced if I become re-employed by a local authority in a temporary capacity after I retire or resign?

Lump sum benefits are not affected by re-employment.  However, your pension would be reduced to ensure that total pay and pension do not exceed the current equivalent of the pay you had on the date of your retirement or resignation.

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What benefits would apply if I died in service?

Your legal personal representative would receive the greater of:-

One year’s reckonable pay (at the rate applicable on the date of your death),

or

The lump sum that would have been paid to you had you retired on ill-health grounds on the date of your death.

or

In the case of Non-Officers, 97.43% of the 2nd point of the craftsman’s scale

In addition to the above, if you are a member of the Widow’s & Orphans / Spouses’ and Children’s Contributory Pension Scheme, a pension will be payable to your spouse and any qualifying children. 

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What happens if I leave the service of the Executive otherwise than by reason of age or ill health retirement?

You may qualify to transfer your service if you are taking up pensionable employment with another authority or organisation to which the Local Government Scheme can be transferred.

 

Any person who resigns on or after 02/06/2002 with 2 years or more service and who became pensionable before 01/02/1995 and does not take up pensionable employment with an authority to which the Local Government Scheme applies or is transferable may opt to take a refund of superannuation contributions or preserve their benefit.

Any person who becomes pensionable on or after 01/02/1995 and resigns on or after 02/06/2002 with 2 years or more reckonable service and does not take up pensionable employment with an authority to which the Local Government Scheme applies or is transferable must preserve their benefit

Any person resigning on or after 02/06/2002 with less than 2 years service and who does not take up pensionable employment with an authority to which the Local Government Scheme applies or is transferable is entitled to a refund of superannuation contributions.

Any refund of superannuation contributions is subject to a tax deduction.

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How or when do I qualify for preserved benefits?

If you became pensionable on or after 01/02/1995 and you resign your position, on or after 02/06/2002, before reaching age 60 (65 in the case of new entrants after 1/4/2004) with 2 years or more reckonable service and do not take up pensionable employment elsewhere it is compulsory to preserve your lump sum and pension benefits.  Preserved Benefits are payable on reaching age 60 (or 65 where applicable)

If you resign on or after 02/06/2002 with 2 years or more service and you became pensionable before01/02/1995 and you are not taking up pensionable employment with an authority to which the Local Government Scheme applies or is transferable you may opt to take a refund of superannuation contributions or preserve your benefit.

You must apply in writing for payment of preserved benefits approaching your 60th birthday (65 in the case of new entrants after 1/4/2004). Benefits are based on your actual service at date of resignation and uprated salary for the position held at your 60th (or 65th where applicable) birthday.

Preserved benefits can become payable earlier than your 60th (or 65th where applicable) birthday if you fall ill, and are certified as permanently unfit, before that date. Should you die before reaching age 60 (or 65 where applicable) a preserved death gratuity will be payable to your Legal Personal Representative

If you take up a position with another organisation to which you are entitled to transfer your preserved service you may do so.

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Can I obtain a refund of my contributions in any circumstances?

Yes.  If you resign on or after 02/06/2002 with less than 2 years service and do not take up pensionable employment with another authority you are entitled to a refund of superannuation contributions less appropriate tax deductions.

Any person who resigns on or after 02/06/2002 with 2 years or more service and who became pensionable before 01/02/1995 and does not take up pensionable employment with an authority to which the Local Government Scheme applies or is transferable may opt to take a refund of superannuation contributions or preserve their benefit.

Any refund of superannuation contributions is subject to a tax deduction.

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What does transferred service mean?

Under the local government transfer of service arrangements you are able to transfer your service to or from a variety of public sector organisations such as the civil service, the Garda Siochana, the Defence forces, the National and Secondary teaching sectors and certain other state or semi-state bodies. 

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How are benefits and contributions treated for income tax purposes?

1.       All lump sum payments (including gratuities) are exempt from income tax.

2.       Pensions are subject to income tax in the ordinary way.

3.       Contributions payable towards the main scheme and the Spouse’s and Children’s pension scheme would normally qualify for income tax relief (subject to certain limits)

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What are added years or additions to service?

Added years may be awarded in certain circumstances:-

  • on ill-health retirement and
  • where certain professional, technical, specialist qualifications and/or experience are required for appointment.
  • Under the terms of the Mental Treatment Act 1945 certain persons may qualify for doubling of any years in excess of 20 years service

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What can I do if I have a shortfall of service?

You may purchase additional notional service at full actuarial cost. Details of the cost of purchase and the limits on the amount of notional service you may purchase are available from your Superannuation Department.

Alternatively, you may wish to contribute to an Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC) Plan. A number of union-based AVC plans are administered by private companies and facilitated by deduction through payroll, however, this is outside the scope of the Superannuation Scheme. You should contact your Superannuation Department for details of providers of such AVC plans.

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Can I allocate part of my pension?

Yes - in order to provide a pension for your spouse or other dependent relative. An allocation does not affect any pension payable under the Spouses' and Children's Contributory Pension Scheme.

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What is a short service gratuity?

A short service gratuity may be paid to a person who is forced to retire permanently on health grounds after at least 1 year's service before he/she has the necessary service to qualify for a lump sum and pension.  It may also be paid in lieu of preserved benefits in the case of a person who retires/resigns on ill-health grounds with between 2 and 5 years service and who opts for same .

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Spouses’ and Children’s Pension Scheme

 

What is the Spouses’ and Children’s Pension Scheme?

It is a Scheme to provide pensions for the spouse and/or dependent children of a member who dies in service or after qualifying for a pension or preserved pension.

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Can I leave the Scheme?

No – Once you join the Scheme you must remain in it.

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Who is regarded as a “child” for the purposes of the Scheme?

A person under 16 years of age or, if receiving full-time education or training, 22 years of age.  No age-limit applies where a child is incapable of maintaining her/himself because of mental or physical infirmity.

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To whom are children’s pensions payable?

Children’s pensions are normally paid to the spouse.

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If my spouse dies what happens to the children’s pension?

If there is one child under 16, or under 22 if receiving full-time education, or incapable of maintaining her/himself because of mental or physical infirmity, the pension goes up from one-sixth of the amount of your pension to one-third and, if there are two such children, from one-third to one-half. 

If there are three or more such children the total amount of their pension remains unchanged.

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If my spouse re-marries, what happens to the pension and the children’s pension?

The spouse’s pension stops. 

The HSE may restore it if she/he again becomes a widow/widower or if compassionate grounds for so doing subsequently arise. 

The children’s pension also stops unless the HSE directs otherwise.

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Do I have to contribute towards the benefits of the Scheme?

Yes.  The Scheme is contributory and all participating in it must pay contributions. 

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Are my Spouses and Childrens Scheme contributions refunded if I remain unmarried throughout the time that the Scheme applies to me?

No.

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How are Spouses’ and Children’s pensions calculated?

If you die in service or after retirement on ill-health grounds the Spouses’ and Children’s pensions will be calculated by reference to the pension you would have received had you continued in pensionable employment up to age 65.  In all other cases the Spouses’ and Children’s pensions will be calculated by reference to your actual pension entitlement.

Subject to the foregoing, pensions are calculated according to the following table:

Details of Dependants Fraction of your pension payable to spouse Fraction of your pension payable to children Total fraction of your pension payable.  
Spouse One-half   One-half
Spouse and 1 child One-half           One-sixth Two-thirds
Spouse and 2 children One-half One-third         Five-sixths
Spouse and 3 or more children One-half One-half The whole
1 child   One-third One-third
2 or more children   One-half One-half

An enhanced rate of pension may be payable for the first month after your death.  This amounts to one month’s pay if you die in service and one month’s pension (your pension rate on the date of death) if you die after retirement.

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What benefits would apply if I died shortly after retirement?

In addition to the standard benefits payable in respect of the Spouse and eligible children, if at the time of your death the total pension received by you since your retirement, together with the amount of your retirement lump sum, amounts to less than one year's reckonable pay at the date of your retirement, a sum equal to the deficiency will be paid to your legal personal representative.

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Have I a right to make a complaint about any aspect of my pension entitlements?

Yes. If you are unclear about your entitlements or are unhappy about any decision made by your superannuation department in relation to your pension position, you should contact them and ask them to explain the position fully to you. If, following this contact, the matter has not been settled to your satisfaction, you may avail of a formal internal review procedure. Should you still have a complaint or dispute following the formal internal review, you may, depending on the nature of the complaint or dispute, be entitled to refer the matter to the Pensions Ombudsman for determination.  Details of the formal internal review process are available from your superannuation department. Information concerning the role and functions of the Pensions Ombudsman is available from the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman, 36 Upper Mount Street, Dublin 2 – Telephone 01 6471650 – or on the Pensions Ombudsman’s website "http://www.pensionsombudsman.ie"

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