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Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 2012

Schedule 1: Equalisation of and increase in pensionable age for men and women: consequential amendments

Schedule 1 amends the definition of “pensionable age” in sections 2A, 2AA and 2D of the Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland) Act 1992. Those provisions contain regulation-making powers under which regulations may be made requiring a person, or the partner of a person, claiming one of a specified list of social security benefits to attend a work-focused interview or engage in work-related activity to prepare them for returning to work, if that person (or the partner of that person) is under pensionable age, as defined.

Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 amend the definition of “pensionable age” in the above provisions where, for the purposes of ensuring that the relevant provisions apply equally to men and women, a man born before 6th April 1955 is deemed to be of pensionable age if he is the same age as a woman who has reached State Pension age. With the acceleration in the timetable for State Pension age equalisation, only men born before 6th December 1953 will have a higher state pension age than a woman born on the same day.

Paragraph 4 amends Article 123 of the 1995 Order which gives effect to Schedule 2 to that Order. The amendment modifies the descriptive words introducing the Schedule.

Paragraph 5(a) makes an equivalent amendment to section 11 of the Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 to amend the period over which the State Pension age will increase from 65 to 68.

Paragraph 5(b) amends the date from which a number of consequential amendments made by the Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 were to have taken effect. These amendments replace age 65 with “pensionable age” for the purposes of:

  • the upper age for qualification for Disability Living Allowance;

  • the minimum age for entitlement to Attendance Allowance;

  • the maximum age for entitlement to Widow’s Pension;

  • the minimum age for entitlement to the savings credit element of Pension Credit; and

  • the minimum age for eligibility for the £10 Christmas Bonus where the sole qualifying benefit is War Disablement Pension.

These age thresholds will change in line with State Pension age once it exceeds 65. The amendment made by paragraph 5(b) inserts the new date from which that will take place.

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