Working with your spouse or civil partner: how it affects your social welfare contributions and entitlements

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You should contact Scope Section at the address in Section 10 if you believe that you were in a partnership in previous years. A Social Welfare Inspector will interview you and your spouse or civil partner, examine any relevant documents you have and report on your case to Scope Section.

Based on the Inspector’s report and the criteria listed in Section 6, a Deciding Officer may conclude:

  • that a partnership existed for some years before the investigation (if so, you and your spouse or civil partner may pay Class S PRSI if you each had an income of at least €5,000 each year), or
  • that a partnership did not exist (if so, you may appeal the decision).

If a Deciding Officer concludes that a partnership existed and your income or your spouse’s or civil partner’s income from the partnership was less than €5,000 in any previous year, you or your spouse or civil partner will not pay PRSI for that year. The(se) year(s) will not then count towards pension entitlement.

If a Deciding Officer concludes that a partnership existed and that PRSI was underpaid, you must make up any shortfall to this Department before we can consider any application for a social welfare benefit or pension.

IMPORTANT: Application for any benefit or pension is a separate process to an application for commercial partnership status. Following a favourable partnership decision a person must pay any outstanding social insurance contributions for the relevant number of years. However, this is not a guarantee of entitlement to any benefit or pension as applicants must satisfy all relevant eligibility criteria for the scheme in order to qualify.

In particular, it should be noted that, in relation to the State Pension (Contributory), at least one year's self employment contributions must be paid before the applicant's 66th birthday and all contributions payable by the applicant must be paid.

Your benefit or pension application will be decided based on your contribution record. You should check the full eligibility conditions for benefits and pensions on

Last modified:05/08/2014