Civil and Public Servants throughout the country have been agonising over the most recent early retirement scheme.

About 8,000 employees decided to take up the offer and will exit the Public Service at the end of February.

The Pensions Ombudsman recently criticised the retirement scheme, because of the haste in which it was organised; the lack of time given for benefit illustrations to be provided; the inaccuracies in the calculations given and the shortness of time to make a decision. Several complaints from members of the Public Service about overstatement of benefits were received by him.

It is easy to understand how mistakes could happen when such a high number of information requests are made in such a short time but it is nevertheless worrying that some people may have taken pension benefits that are less than they are entitled to receive.

My colleague, Paul O’Connor, a specialist financial adviser to the Public Sector, conducted research which showed that a sizable cohort of Public Sector workers may be receiving lower pensions than they are entitled to.

Those at risk include members who worked in a temporary or contract capacity, either part-time or full-time where that employment was not previously pensionable.

Those members who changed Employer over the course of their employment may also be affected.

The errors include miscalculation of actual years of service and failure of the member to apply for any supplementary pension that they might be entitled to receive.

A supplementary pension in the Public Sector has to be applied for or it will not be paid.

If a retired public sector worker has been underpaid pension they can still apply for their supplementary pension and it will be backdated if properly due.

The Pensions Ombudsman advised public or civil servants that it is worth paying money to take independent advice and to have their pension entitlements re-checked.

Paul O’Connor will be happy to undertake this task on their behalf for a fee and he may be contacted on mobile at 087-2582359 or 051-318000.