State Pension (Non-Contributory) - SW116


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    A means test is a way of checking if you have enough means to support yourself and what amount of payment, if any, you may qualify for. Your means are any income belonging to you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant and property (except your own home) or an asset that could provide you with an income.

    You must complete the application form fully so that we can calculate your means. You must give all details of your own means and those of your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant where applicable. You must submit all necessary documents such as bank statements, details of all your earnings or other pension payslips with your application. If you submit an incomplete application form or if you don’t submit the required supporting documents a decision on your application may be delayed or result in your pension being refused.

    Your claim for pension may be forwarded to a local Social Welfare Inspector for investigation and interview.

    What counts as your means?

    Your Means includes but is not limited to:

    • income belonging to you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant,
    • the value of any investments, savings, funds, bonds and shares that you may have
    • the value of any property, except your own home,
    • maintenance paid to you if you are deserted or separated,
    • income from employment or self-employment. A disregard of earnings from insurable employment of €200 a week applies to both you and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant, where applicable. However, this disregard does not apply to earnings from self-employment.

     

    If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, we will include the means of your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant in the means test.

    If you own or lease a farm of land, we assess as means the yearly value of any income that you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant have from it. We work out the yearly value by deducting any necessary expenses from the gross income.

    If you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant deprive yourselves of an income or property (including money) to qualify for State Pension (Non-Contributory) or to qualify for this pension at a higher rate, we will include that income or property in the means test. However, this may not apply in the case of certain family settlements involving the transfer of ownership of a farm or business.

    Note: If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, your means will be calculated as half the joint means of you and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant.

    How do you assess capital?

    Capital refers to savings, investments, shares, funds, bonds, cash-on-hand and the value of property (except your own home). When working out your means from capital, we use a special formula to work out your means:

    This formula is used:

    This formula is used:
    Capital: Weekly means assessed:
    First €20,000
    Nil
    €20,000 - €30,000
    €1 per €1,000
    €30,000 - €40,000
    €2 per €1,000
    Over €40,000
    €4 per €1,000

    Example 1

    A single person has €45,800 savings and no other means.
    Amount of Savings
      €45,800
    Minus first €20,000 (disregarded)
    - €20,000
      €25,800
    Balance of €25,800 is assessed as follows:
     
    €10,000 is assessed at €1 per €1,000
    €10.00
    €10,000 is assessed at €2 per €1,000
    €20.00
    €5,000 is assessed at €4 per €1,000
    €20.00
    The balance of €800 is not assessed as it is less than €1,000.
    Weekly means
    €50.00
    Weekly State Pension (Non-Contributory) in 2016:
    €202.00

    Example 2

    A married person, a person in a civil partnership or living with a cohabitant with a qualified adult (See Section 4 for details of a qualified adult) under 66, has €100,800 joint savings and no other means.

    Amount of joint savings
    €100,800
    Assessable savings (half of joint savings)
      €50,400
    This is assessed as follows:
     
    Assessable savings
      €50,400
    Minus first €20,000 (disregarded)
    - €20,000
    Balance of €30,400 is assessed as follows:
     €30,400
     
    €10,000 is assessed at €1 per €1,000
    €10.00
    €10,000 is assessed at €2 per €1,000
    €20.00
    €10,000 is assessed at €4 per €1,000
    €40.00
    The balance of €400 is not assessed as it is less than €1,000.
    Weekly means for each person
    €70.00
    Weekly State Pension (Non-Contributory) (2016 Rate)
    Personal Rate
    €182.00
    Increase for Qualified Adult under 66 Rate (See section 4)
    €120.30
    Total
    €302.30

     

    If each of the couple in example 2 were aged 66 or over, both of them would each qualify for a weekly pension of €182. (2016 rate)

    Note:
    If you qualify for State Pension (Non-Contributory), the rate of payment you receive will be set at a level that should enable you to have an adequate standard of living. The Department would expect you to spend all or most of your pension each week in meeting your normal day-to-day living expenses.

    However, if you choose to save part of your pension, those savings will be means-tested in the same way as savings from any other source (for example, from earnings, from an occupational pension or from an inheritance).

    Depending on the amount of savings you accumulate from all sources, this could result in a reduction in (or withdrawal of) your State Pension (Non-Contributory).

    What does not count as means?

    The following are some of the main items that do not count as means:

    • your own home,
    • any payment made by the Department of Social Protection,
    • the first €200 of weekly earnings from insurable employment, but not self employment. A similar insurable earnings disregard from insurable employment, but not self employment of €200 a week will also apply to your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant,
    • any expenses you necessarily incur in carrying on any form of self-employment,
    • Foster Care Allowance from the Health Service Executive,
    • contributions to Personal Retirement Savings Account(s),
    • certain payments from the Health Service Executive and
    • income from certain charities.

    EU Early Retirement Scheme from Farming

    We also ignore any payments you receive from the Department of Agriculture and Food under the EU Early Retirement Scheme from Farming. However, that Department may reduce your pension under that scheme by the amount of State Pension (Non-Contributory) that you get.

    Rental Income

    If a person is living with you and pays you rent, we will not count the rent as means if you would otherwise live alone.

     
Last modified:21/09/2016
 

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