What is the Contributory State Pension

The Contributory State Pension is a social insurance payment made when you reach 66 years. It is based on your Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) record. This pension is not means tested. Your personal rate is not affected by other income you may have, such as private pension etc. The pension is taxable but you are unlikely to pay tax if it is your only income. The current State pension, at €230.30 per week. This is provided to you in order to cover your basic needs in retirement. The standard State Pension age of 66 applies to individuals who reached this age before 1 January 2014. The State pension age will increase to 67 in 2021 & to 68 in 2028.

What are the qualifying criteria for the Contributory State Pension

To qualify an individual must:

  • Be 66 or over
  • Started paying PRSI contributions before reaching the age of 56 years.
  • Have made at least 520 full rate PRSI contributions.
  • Have a yearly average of 10 for a minimum pension and 48 for the maximum pension paid.
  • The qualifying age for pension will rise to 67 in 2021 affecting those born between 1st January 1955 and 31st December 1960 and will rise to 68 in 2028.

What are the PRSI contribution types for self-employed

PRSI for the self-employed was introduced in 1988. All self-employed individuals aged between 16 & 66 with earnings more than a specified amount – which is currently €5K per annum.

I have a gap in my PRSI record as I was caring for a child or for an ill person, will this affect my Contributory State pension entitlement

From the 6th April 1994, any period spent as a homemaker caring for either a child under 12 or an ill person may be disregarded when calculating your “yearly average”. A maximum of 20 years can be disregarded.

You do not need to apply if you are:

  • In receipt of Child Benefit (& providing the child with fulltime care),
  • Carer’s Allowance,
  • Carer’s Benefit,
  • or Carer’s Support Grant.

The Department will treat any claim for Child Benefit, Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit or Carer’s Support Grant as an application to become a homemaker & will note this on your insurance record automatically. If you are not getting any of these payments, but you have cared for a child under the age of 12 or an ill or disabled person aged 12 or over at any time from 6 April 1994, you should apply to become a homemaker.

For further information contact:

Homemaker’s Scheme Section
Department of Social Protection
McCarter’s Road
Buncrana
Donegal
Locall 1890 690 690

Can my spouse, civil partner or cohabitant get a Contributory State Pension based on my record

No, an individual can only qualify for a Contributory State pension based on their own PRSI record. However, if your spouse or civil partner does not qualify for a contributory pension in their own right, or qualifies for a lower rate, you can apply for an Increase for Qualified Adult on your pension. This increase is subject to a means test.

What are the Contributory State Pension rates

Contributory State Pension rates from 10 March 2017
Yearly average PRSI contributions Personal rate per week, € Increase for a qualified adult* (under 66), € Increase for a qualified adult* (over 66), €
48 or over 238.30 158.80 213.50
40-47 233.60 151.00 202.80
30-39 214.20 143.80 192.50
20-29 202.80 134.50 181.10
15-19 155.20 103.50 138.70
10-14 95.20 63.10 85.90

How do I calculate my yearly average contributions

The calculation is made by

  • Totalling the number of contribution years (beginning with the year you first started paying PRSI & up to & including the last full contribution year before you turn 66)- this is called your Total Contribution Years.
  • Then count your entire full rate paid contributions & credits over the same period. This is called your Contributions and Credits.

Your yearly average is calculated as follows:

Yearly Average = Contributions & Credits Total Contribution Years

How can I find out the number of PRSI contributions I have made

To find out your PRSI contribution record you can contact:

Central Records Department,
Department of Social Protection,
McCarter’s Road,
Ardarvan,
Buncrana,
Co. Donegal
Lowcall: 1890 690 690

How to apply for the contributory state pension

You can get a State Pension (Contributory) Form from

  • Your local Post Office
  • Your local Intreo Centre
  • Your local Social Welfare Office

You should apply 3 months before you reach the age of 66, but if you have paid Social Insurance Contributions in other Countries you should apply 6 months beforehand.

Where to apply

Questions in relation to your eligibility for a State Pension should be sent to your local welfare office or to

Department of employment Affairs & Social Protection
Social Welfare Services
College Road
Sligo
Ireland

Warning: This office is not open to personal callers, all queries must be made online, in writing or by telephone

Telephone: (071) 9157100
Locall: 1890 500 000
Homepage: http://welfare.ie/

What is a Non-Contributory State Pension

It is a means-tested payment for people aged over 66 who do not qualify for a Contributory State pension or who only qualify for a reduced contributory pension based on their PRSI record. This pension is taxable but you are unlikely to pay tax if it is your only income.

What are the qualifying criteria for the Non-Contributory State Pension

To qualify an individual must:

  • Be aged 66 or over
  • Pass a means test
  • Meet the habitual residence condition (you are residing in Ireland and have a proven close link to the state)

The qualifying age for pension will rise to 67 in 2021 affecting those born between 1st January 1955 and 31st December 1960 and will rise to 68 in 2028.

What is assessed in the means tests

Yours means is assessed under the following headings:

  • Cash income is defined as any cash income you have is assessed in the means test, this includes income from a pension from another country.
  • Your net income from farming or leasing is fully assessed with no disregards. The net income is worked out by deducting expenses incurred from the gross income. If you own land that is not productively used or leased this is assessed on its capital value.
  • Earnings from employment up to €200 per week is not assessed.
  • Value of capital Savings, investments, cash in hand and any property you own (excluding your home) is assessed as capital.
  • All your capital from different sources is added together and a formula is used to find your weekly means from capital.

 

Your total means under the various headings above (for example, cash income, employment and capital) are added together to find your total means. For most means-tested payments, the rate of social welfare payment you can get, if any, is reduced on a sliding scale according to your means.

 

The formula for assessing means from capital is as follows:

Capital Weekly means assessed
First €20,000 Nil
Next €10,000 €1 per €1,000
Next €10,000 €2 per €1,000
Balance €4 per €1,000

How is the means test carried out

When you apply for a means-tested social welfare payment you must fill out an application form. This form asks for information about sources of income. You must give details of all your means when completing the application form for a social welfare payment. The Department of Social Protection (DSP) can ask you for details of the bank accounts you hold, including the account numbers. The DSP does not access your bank account unless you give permission.

A Social Welfare Inspector may interview you about your income and may ask you for supporting documents, such as bank statements or accounts. This may involve a visit to your home.

All your sources of income are added together and taken into account when deciding whether you qualify for a means-tested payment. The decision on your means is made by a separate Deciding Officer. You will be told how exactly your means were assessed. If you are not satisfied, you may appeal to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

Once your means have been assessed as a certain and you have been awarded a social welfare payment, you are responsible for telling the DSP about any changes in your circumstances. If you do not you may be liable for fines or asked to repay any overpayment that may have occurred. The means test for a social assistance payment can be a complex calculation and it can differ from payment to payment.

How to apply for the Non Contributory State Pension

You can get a State Pension (Contributory) Form from

  • Your local Post Office
  • Your local Intreo Centre
  • Your local Social Welfare Office

You should apply 3 months before you reach the age of 66, but if you have paid Social Insurance Contributions in other Countries you should apply 6 months beforehand.

Where to apply

Questions in relation to your eligibility for a State Pension should be sent to your local welfare office or to

Department of employment Affairs & Social Protection
Social Welfare Services
College Road
Sligo
Ireland

Warning: This office is not open to personal callers, all queries must be made online, in writing or by telephone

Telephone: (071) 9157100
Locall: 1890 500 000
Homepage: http://welfare.ie/

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