You may qualify for the State Pension (Non-Contributory) if:
The means test
Your means are assessed under the following headings:
- Cash income (including income from work)
- Value of capital (for example, savings, investments, cash on hand and
property but not your own home)
- Income from property personally used
Any cash income you have is assessed in the means test. This includes income
from a social security pension from another country. However, certain items of
cash income are not taken into account in the means test. For example, earnings
of up to €200 per week from employment (but not self-employment) are not
taken into account (or are disregarded). This disregard applies to
both you and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant. Any income from work
above €200 is assessed as means.
Payments you get under the Farm Retirement Scheme and income from property
that has already been assessed on its capital value are also not taken into
More information is available in our document about cash
income not taken into account in the means test.
Capital and property not personally used
Savings, investments, cash on hand and any property you own (but not
your own home) is assessed as capital. All your capital from different
sources is added together and a special formula is then used to find your
weekly means from capital.
The property and investments that may be assessed under this heading include
savings in a bank account (or anywhere else), a house that you have let and
stocks and shares. You may or may not be getting an income from the property or
investment. Income from property already assessed on its capital value is not
assessed in the means test - see 'Cash income' above.
If you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant saves a portion of your
State Pension (Non-Contributory) each week, these savings as well as savings
from most other sources will be taken into account as part of your means.
More information is available in our document on how
capital and property is assessed as means.
Different rules for the assessment of capital are used in the means tests
for Disability Allowance (DA) and State Pension (Non-Contributory), this means,
people moving from DA to State Pension (Non-Contributory) at age 66 could find
that their pension is lower than their DA. The Social
Welfare and Pension Act 2008 provides that, if you are moving from
Disability Allowance (DA) to State Pension (Non-Contributory) at age 66 you
will not get a lower rate pension because of a less favourable assessment of
Income from property personally used (your home)
The value of the house you live in is not taken into
account in the means test. However, any income you are getting from it is taken
into account. For example, if you rented a room in your house, that income is
assessed. There is an exception to this, if not renting the room means that you
would be living alone then your income from rent is not taken into account.
Selling your home
If you sell your home, the proceeds of the sale would normally be taken into
account as means. If you are living in accommodation which no longer suits you
or which you are no longer able to maintain, you may be able to sell your home
and move to more suitable accommodation and have up to €190,500 of the
proceeds of the sale excluded from the means test. This exemption of €190,500
applies if you sell your house in order to:
- Buy or rent more suitable alternative accommodation
- Move into a private nursing home which is registered under the Health
(Nursing Homes) Act 1990
- Move in with a person who is getting a carer's payment to care for
- Move to sheltered or special housing in the voluntary, co-operative,
statutory or private sectors
Usually the first €190,500 of the sale proceeds is not taken into account.
However, if you use the proceeds of the sale to buy more suitable
accommodation, the balance of the proceeds after buying the
new accommodation is exempt up to a limit of €190,500.
However the proceeds of the sale may be taken into account by the Health
Service Executive (HSE) when your entitlement to the Fair
Deal Scheme for nursing home care is being assessed.
Investment income from the sale of your home
Any benefit you get from investing the sale proceeds is assessable as means.
Interest which is kept as capital is assessable in the same way as capital is
However, the Department of Social Protection states in its Operational
Guidelines on Means Assessment that an allowance should be made where a
person has significant maintenance expenses, such as nursing home costs, which
are met out of interest payments. In such cases, only the interest on the
exempted capital (up to a maximum of €190,500) may be disregarded as
Leaving your home but not selling
If, due to old age or incapacity, you leave your home either on a temporary
basis or indefinitely, the value of your home will not be assessed as means.
However, if it is put to profitable use (for example, rented out), the capital
value of the house will then be assessed as means.
Your means under the various headings are added together to see what level
of pension, if any, you can get. If you are one half of a couple (married
couple, civil partners or a cohabiting couple of the same or opposite sex) then
your means are taken to be half of the total means of yourself and your spouse,
civil partner or cohabitant. Note that you can have savings or assets of up to
€20,000 and earnings of up to €200 per week from employment and still
qualify for a full State Pension (Non-Contributory).
The first €30 per week of means as assessed by the Department of Social
Protection does not affect the rate of pension. After that, the pension is
reduced by €2.50 each week for every €2.50 of means.
If you are getting Farm Assist and the different means test that applies to
the State Pension (Non-Contributory) results in you getting a lower level of
payment, you keep your entitlement to the higher amount.
Married, civil partners and cohabiting couples
When your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant reaches 66 you will no longer
get an increase in your payment for them as a qualified adult. However, he or
she may apply for a State Pension (Non-Contributory) in his/her own right.
From 27 September 2007, if you are getting State Pension (Non-Contributory)
for a Qualified Adult will be paid directly to your adult dependant.
This only applies to applications for state pensions received by the
Department of Social Protection after 27 September 2007.
Extra benefits with a State Pension (Non-Contributory)
If you are getting State Pension (Non-Contributory), you may be entitled
Welfare Allowance Scheme There are a number of supplementary payments under
this scheme, for example, Rent and Mortgage Interest Supplement, Back to School
Clothing and Footwear Allowance, and Diet and Heating Supplements.
Supplement is a payment that helps with the cost of your rent.
Alone Increase is a supplementary payment for people getting certain social
welfare payments who are living alone.
Benefits Package is a package of benefits that provides financial
assistance with the cost of some household utilities. It includes an
Electricity or Gas Allowance and a Free Television Licence.
Free Travel Pass
allows people on certain social welfare payments to access public transport
services for free. If you live on a specified island off the Irish coast you
can access certain private transport services.
is an allowance that provides help with the cost of fuel to people who are
dependant on long-term social welfare payments.
Increase is a supplementary payment for people getting certain social
welfare payments and living on specified islands off the coast of Ireland.
Centenarian's Payment is
a payment made to all Irish citizens and people normally considered to be
living in the State on reaching 100 years of age. This payment is issued
automatically to those who are getting a State Pension (Non-Contributory).
Grant is an annual payment made to carers, aged 16 or over, providing
full-time care for at least six months a year.
If a person getting a State Pension (Non- Contributory) from the Department
of Social Protection dies, you should:
- Tell the Department of the death as soon as possible
- Return the person’s social services card (this is the card that they
use to collect their EIT (Electronic Information Transfer) payment at the
Post Office). You should note both the PPS Number and card number for your
- Return their Free Travel Pass
In many cases, the spouse, civil partner, cohabitant or carer will receive a
for six weeks following the death.