Invalidity Pension


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Internal Guidelines used in processing claims

Table of Contents:

Part 1: Entitlement
Description of Scheme
Information Leaflet
Legislation
Administration

Qualifying Conditions
Medical condition
PRSI Contributions condition

Special Categories
Illness Benefit Credits
Pro Rata Invalidity Pensions
Bilateral Agreements

Disqualification
Conditions for Receipt of Invalidity Pension
Exemptions
Partial Capacity Benefit
Back to Work Allowance
Back to Work Enterprise Allowance
Back to Education
Imprisonment

Rates Structure
Extra Benefits Available To Invalidity Claimants
Overlapping Provisions

Part 2: Claims, Investigation and Decision Procedures
Claims
Decisions and Award Procedures
Return of Application Forms
Award of Pension
Pensions under EU Law/Bilateral Agreements
Disallowances and Appeals
Late Claims
Compensation for Loss of Purchasing Power

Part 3: Procedures Following Award
Payment Method
Duration of Payment
Payment after death of pensioner or qualified dependants
Payment for Qualified Children
Certification of Ongoing Entitlement
Review
Suspension of payment
Retention /Destruction of documents


PART 1: ENTITLEMENT

Description of Scheme

Invalidity Pension is a Pension paid to people who are permanently incapable of work because of illness or disability. It is based on a claimant's social insurance contributions and the personal rate of payment is not means tested.

Information Leaflet

Invalidity Pension SW 44

Legislation:

The main provisions relating to Invalidity Pension are in

  • Chapter 17 of Part 2 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005 as amended, and
  • Chapter 9 of Part II of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, 2007 (S.I. No. 142 of 2007).

Administration:

New applications for Pension are dealt with by Invalidity Awards Section.

Payment of awarded Pensions is dealt with by Invalidity Payments Section.

Review of entitlement to the Pension is dealt with by Invalidity Payments Section and Control Section.

All the above Sections are based at Social Welfare Services Office, Ballinalee Road, Longford.

Qualifying Conditions

To qualify for award of Invalidity Pension a claimant must satisfy both medical conditions and PRSI contributions as follows:

Medical condition

A claimant must be regarded as permanently incapable of work, which is defined as:

  • incapacity for work of such a nature that the likelihood is that the claimant will be incapable of work for life OR
  • an incapacity which has existed for 12 months prior to the date of claim, and where the Deciding Officer or an Appeals Officer is satisfied that the claimant is likely to be unable to work for 1 year from the date of claim.

PRSI Contributions condition

A Claimant must -

  • have a total of at least 260 weeks contributions paid since entry into insurance, and
  • must have 48 weeks PRSI paid or credited in the last complete tax year before the date of claim, (Governing Contribution Year).
    (PRSI paid in classes A, E and H are reckonable).

In addition, where a claimant has no reckonable contributions paid or credited for two consecutive years, that person is not entitled to the payment of Invalidity Pension until 26 qualifying contributions have been paid subsequently.

Note:

Social Insurance Contributions paid before the PRSI system commenced in 1979, and also contributions paid before 1953, can be used to make up the 260 contribution minimum above.

Reckonable Credited contributions awarded can be used to satisfy the 48 contributions required in the Governing Contribution Year.

Class J contributions paid prior to 1996 in respect of a Social/Community Employment Scheme also count for the Governing Contribution Year.

If a claimant has been getting Illness Benefit continuously since 4 April 1986, that claimant must have a total of 156 weeks PRSI contributions paid.

If a claimant has been getting Illness Benefit continuously since 2 January 1987, that claimant must have a total of 208 weeks PRSI contributions paid.

(For further information see separate guideline on "Credits Award".)

Special Categories

Illness Benefit Credits

Where a claimant initially -

  • fails to fulfil the conditions for Invalidity Pension (not having the 48 contributions/credits in the last tax year or not regarded as having been incapable for 1 year before the date of claim)
  • and is not entitled to be paid Illness Benefit

s/he may submit weekly sickness certificates for the award of Illness Benefit credits.

These credits can be counted for the purposes of the contribution conditions in respect of a new Invalidity Pension claim at a later date, and as evidence of incapacity throughout that period.

Pro Rata Invalidity Pensions

Invalidity pensions are covered by Article 44 – 49 of EU Regulation 883/04 on the coordination of social security systems. For the purposes of the regulations, Invalidity Pension or benefits paid by the Member States are classed as Type A or B , depending on the manner in which pensions are calculated under each country’s national legislation. Ireland is classed as a Type A country.

Where a claimant has worked in both Ireland and another 'Type A' country, the State where the claimant's incapacity for work followed by invalidity occurred must pay the full Invalidity Pension, once the claimant satisfies the qualifying criteria.

Chapter 4, Article 48 (4) of EU Regulation 883/04 provides for the re-calculation of a person’s entitlement to Invalidity Pension if they attain pension age in the other member state before reaching State Pension age in Ireland. (See pro-rata calculation under Awards)

Where a claimant has worked in both Ireland and another ‘Type B’ country, or a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Welfare Agreement, the rate of pension is determined on a Pro-Rata basis. This means that each country pays a partial pension, based on a formula which uses the contribution record from both countries. (See pro-rata calculation under Awards).

The minimum requirement is that a claimant must have at least 52 contributions /credits in Ireland with at least one of these a paid contribution.

Bilateral Agreements

Ireland has Bilateral Agreements in place with Australia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Quebec, Austria, UK, Japan, Republic of Korea and Switzerland. (Note: Switzerland was added with effect from 1st July 1999 and a subsequent agreement effective from June 2002 maintained entitlements.)

Type A Countries Type B Countries

 

CZECH REPUBLIC

Full disability pension for persons whose total disability arose before reaching 18 years of age and who were not insured for the required period (Section 42 of the Pension Insurance Act No 155/1995 Coll.) From: 28/4/06

AUSTRIA

FINLAND

National Pensions to persons who are born disabled or become disabled at an early age (the National Pension Act, 568/2007); Invalidity pensions determined according to transitional rules and awarded prior to 1 January 1994 (Act on Enforcement of the National Pensions Act, 569/2007). From 1/5/10

BELGIUM from 1/5/10

GREECE

Legislation relating to the agricultural insurance scheme (OGA), under Law No 4169/1961

BULGARIA
HUNGARY From 01/01/12 CYPRUS

Ireland

Part 2, Chapter 17 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 1/10/72

CZECH REPUBLIC

For all other pensions not mentioned under Type A

 
SWEDEN
Income-related sickness benefit and activity compensation (Act 1962:381 as amended by Act 2001:489)
 
From 28/4/06
DENMARK
 
UNITED KINGDOM
(a) Great Britain
Sections 30A(5), 40, 41 and 68 of the Contributions and Benefits Act 1992
(b) Northern Ireland
Sections 30A(5), 40, 41 and 68 of the Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992

ESTONIA

Claims to be treated as Type B unless informed otherwise by Estonian Authorities If type A then from 1/5/04

 

FINLAND 

For all other pensions not mentioned under Type A

 

FRANCE

From 1/5/10

  GERMANY
 

GREECE

For all other pensions not mentioned under Type A

  ICELAND
  ITALY
 

LATVIA

Claims to be treated as Type B unless informed otherwise by Latvian Authorities. If Type A then from 1/5/04

  LIECHTENSTEIN
  LITHUANIA
  LUXEMBOURG
  MALTA
  NETHERLANDS from 1/5/10
  NORWAY
  POLAND
  PORTUGAL
  ROMANIA
 

SLOVAKIA

Type A from 1/1/07 to 30/4/10

Type B from 1/5/10

  SLOVENI
 

SPAIN

From 1/1/08

 

SWEDEN

For all other pensions not mentioned under Type A

  SWITZERLAND

 

Disqualification

Conditions for Receipt of Invalidity Pension:

  • 1. A person may be disqualified from receiving Invalidity Pension if he/she fails without good cause to:
    • Attend for medical examination as specified by the Department.
    • Cooperate with any request from the Department or a Medical Assessor appointed by the Department for examination regarding behaviour or any other matter concerning incapacity
    • Meet with any of the Department’s Officers , and answer any reasonable enquires relating to claim.
  • 2. Permission may be granted to do rehabilitative/training courses OR voluntary work while in receipt of Invalidity Pension. Written permission must be obtained from Invalidity Payments section prior to commencement of rehabilitative/training courses OR voluntary work.

  • 3. A claimant must not engage in paid employment while in receipt of Invalidity Pension. Eligibility for Partial Capacity Benefit must be determined prior to taking up paid employment

Exemptions

Since 1 July 2009 exemptions have not been granted for self-employment, please see Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme.

A CLAIMANT MUST CONTACT THE DEPARTMENT PRIOR TO TAKING UP ANY FORM OF EMPLOYMENT OR COMMENCING A COURSE/TRAINING. FAILURE TO OBSERVE THE ABOVE CAN LEAD TO THE DISALLOWANCE OF THE PENSION AND TO LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.

Note: From 16th January 2012, NEW participants on CE are not permitted to simultaneously claim another social welfare payment while on CE.

Partial Capacity Benefit

From 13th February 2012, persons in receipt of Invalidity Pension are eligible to apply for a Partial Capacity Benefit in place of an Invalidity Pension payment. Partial Capacity Benefit allows claimants to work and receive a social welfare payment based on their capacity to work. (See separate guidelines on "Partial Capacity Benefit")

Back to Work Allowance

Since 1st May 2009, persons in receipt of Invalidity Pension are not entitled to participate in the Back to Work Allowance Scheme.

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance

From 1st May 2009, persons in receipt of Invalidity Pension are entitled to apply for a revised Back to Work Enterprise Allowance. The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance scheme allows claimants to keep a percentage of the social welfare payment, including increases for a qualified adult and qualified children, for up to 2 years. The rate of payment is 100% in year 1 and 75% in year 2. If, for any reason during the Back to Work period he or she are unable to continue working their Invalidity Pension will be automatically restored. (See separate guidelines on "Back to Work Enterprise Allowance")

Back to Education

From September 2000, a claimant in receipt of Invalidity Pension may qualify for the Back to Education Programme. (See separate guidelines on "Back to Education")

Imprisonment

See "Imprisonment" Guideline for details.

Rates Structure

Invalidity Pension is made up of a personal rate for the claimant and increases are payable for qualified adults and children. The increase for a child dependant is payable up to age 22 for a child who is receiving full-time education by day at a recognised school or college.

Note: From July 2012 new applicants spouse's/partner's earnings must be €400 or less in order to qualify for a half-rate child increase.

(See separate guideline on "Dependants" for full details re qualified persons)

If a claimant is living alone s/he will also be entitled to a Living Alone Allowance.

An additional allowance is payable if a claimant is ordinarily resident on an island off the coast of Ireland.

The current rates of pension are published in the Information Booklet SW 19.

Extra Benefits Available To Invalidity Claimants

Where an Invalidity Pension is awarded, a Free Travel Pass will be issued automatically if the claimant is resident in the republic of Ireland and is registered for the Public Services Card, if not he/she will be requested to register before a Free Travel Card issues. The award of Invalidity Pension is advised via the Department's computer system to Free Schemes Section, Pensions Services Office, Sligo who issue the pass.

In certain cases, a companion pass can also be issued. An application must be made to Free Schemes Section in the Pensions Services Office, Sligo. Medical Certification that the person on Invalidity Pension would need a travelling companion will normally be required.

(See separate guideline on "Free Travel")

An Increase for Living on a Specified is payable if a claimant is ordinarily resident on one of a list of specified islands off the coast of Ireland (It is paid automatically - there is no need to apply)

A claimant who does not qualify for an Irish Invalidity Pension and is getting an equivalent payment from another EU country may qualify for the Increase for Living on a Specified Island.

See "Increase for Living on a Specified Island" guideline for more general information.

A Fuel Allowance may also be payable; see separate guideline on "National Fuel Schemes" for full details.

A claimant may also qualify for extra benefits such as, Electricity/Natural Gas/Bottled Gas Allowances, Free TV License etc.

(See separate guideline on "Free Schemes" for further details).

A Carer's Allowance may also be payable to a person providing full-time care and attention to an Invalidity Pensioner. (However, a person who is awarded a Carer's Allowance will be entitled to half rate Carer's Allowance if they are a Qualified Adult on their spouse's/partner's/cohabitant's Invalidity Pension).

Overlapping Provisions

Half rate Carers Allowance, Disablement Benefit and Medical Care can be claimed concurrently with Invalidity Pension. However, an Incapacity Supplement can not be paid concurrently with Invalidity Pension.

See also separate guideline on "Overlapping Payments".

PART 2. CLAIMS, INVESTIGATION AND DECISION PROCEDURES

Claims

Claims for Invalidity Pension arise in two ways:

A)
Claimants who wish to apply for Invalidity Pension may get an application form INV1 from the local Intreo Centre, the local Social Welfare Office or download one from the Department’s website www.welfare.ie. Entitlement to an Invalidity Pension is investigated upon receipt of a completed application form.

(See "Late claims" below, and "Claims and Late Claims" guideline in relation to provisions for late claims.)

B)
Claimants who have been getting Illness Benefit for a period of 468 days will be medically assessed for continued entitlement to Illness Benefit and possible entitlement to Invalidity Pension. If as a result of this assessment it is considered that they may be entitled to Invalidity Pension, an application form (INV2) will be sent to them. On return of the completed form a deciding officer will examine the claim and determine eligibility for Invalidity Pension.

Decisions and Award Procedures

Claims are decided by Deciding Officers appointed by the Minister for Social Protection, under Section 299 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005, as amended.

The insurance contribution record is checked for compliance with the PRSI contribution conditions above. Social Welfare Inspectors may be asked to help clear up any questions arising in relation to the claim.

If the claimant satisfies the PRSI conditions and is not engaged in employment it is established whether the person satisfies the statutory conditions on medical eligibility for award of the Pension. (See above)

In order to determine medical eligibility, 1. a diagnostic medical report issues to the claimant for completion by his/her medical doctor who should return this report to the Department. (See separate guideline "Med_Assessment" re Medical Assessment procedures)  2. A Self assessment form issues to the claimant for completion and return.

Where it is a established that a claimant does not not satisfy the contribution and medical conditions for receipt of an Invalidity Pension based on the information available to the Department, a decision is made to this effect and the person is notified by letter. Each person is advised of his/her right of appeal and/or review by a Deciding Officer.

Return of Application Forms

When the application form is returned, it is checked for accuracy and to ensure that all necessary certificates are included. Birth and marriage/civil partnership certificates are required if the claimant and any dependants for whom an increase is being claimed were born outside the Republic of Ireland. Certification by schools/colleges that children over 18 are still in full time education may also be necessary.

In a small number of cases a Social Welfare Inspector will be asked to clarify matters which can not easily be sorted through the post.

Award of Pension

When the Deciding Officer is satisfied that the conditions are fulfilled, a decision is made to award the pension.

The Department's records are checked for overlapping payments and Awards Section liaise with other Sections (e.g. Illness Benefit) in order to ensure that such payments do not continue beyond the Invalidity payment start date.

The notification of award and payment date is issued to the claimant. Arrears less any outstanding overpayment in the Department issue to the customer as soon as possible.

Pensions under EU Law/Bilateral Agreements:

Application for Invalidity Pension should be made through the country of residence. The claim is then transferred to the other institution concerned along with medical evidence and details of employment. Validation of the claimant's insurance and medical case history requires liaison between this Department and the appropriate institution in the foreign state.

Once the insurance contributions made in both states and compliance with the medical criteria has been established, EU and Bilateral cases broadly follow the procedures above.

Pro Rata Pension Calculation

In cases where a pro rata pension is being awarded, the following formula is used:

The number of Irish reckonable contributions divided by the total of Irish reckonable contributions and reckonable contributions outside Ireland and multiplied by the current personal weekly rate.

Example:

Irish Contributions = 300
Contributions outside Ireland = 100
Total Contributions = 400

300 is divided by 400 and multiplied by the weekly personal rate of Invalidity Pension (currently €193.50)

Where a qualified adult allowance is also payable this is paid on a pro-rata basis i.e. 300 is divided by 400 and multiplied by the weekly personal rate of Qualified Adult Allowance payable.

Disallowances and Appeals

Where either the insurance contributions conditions or the medical conditions are not satisfied, or a person is engaged in employment and not in receipt of Partial Capacity Benefit, a disallowance decision is made by the Deciding Officer and a notice is issued to the claimant. The claimant is advised of the right of review and/or appeal.

Where a claimant appeals on medical grounds, the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO) sends a request for a submission from the Deciding Officer, showing to what extent the facts and contentions advanced by the appellant are accepted or rejected. If medical evidence is submitted by the appellant in support of his or her appeal it is reviewed. If following this review, it is still considered that the appellant is ineligible for an Invalidity Pension a formal submission is made to the Appeals Office by a Deciding Officer (DO). The case is then forwarded to the Appeal's Office for determination by an Appeals Officer.

Where a claimant appeals on non-medical grounds the grounds of appeal are examined by the Deciding Officer and any new evidence taken into consideration. If the decision is unchanged a submission on the case is forwarded by a Deciding Officer to the Social Welfare Appeals Office for determination by an Appeals Officer.

Late Claims

Under Social Welfare Law a claimant must make an actual application for Invalidity Pension, in the prescribed manner, within 3 months of the date of first entitlement. (See section 2 of the "Claims and Late Claims" guideline for details of acceptable forms of claim)

When a claimant provides satisfactory evidence that the conditions for entitlement were fulfilled prior to the date the claim was made, the Deciding Officer or Social Welfare Appeals Officer may backdate the award for a maximum of 6 months.

Further backdating of payment may also be possible under the provisions of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, 2007, (S.I. No. 142 of 2007).

See "Claims and Late Claims" guideline for further information on late claims and all the circumstances in which backdated payments or allowances may be made.

Compensation for Loss of Purchasing Power

Compensation for loss of purchasing power may be paid where there is an inordinate delay, attributable to the Department, in deciding a claim which results in the claimant receiving an amount of arrears that is worth less because of inflation.

See "Claims and Late Claims" guideline for information on the circumstances where compensation for loss of purchasing power is payable and how it is calculated.

PART 3: PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD

Payment Method

At present there are two payment methods available:

  • Direct payment one week in advance by electronic fund transfer (EFT) to the claimant's account at a bank/building society/credit union.
  • Payment by Electronic Information Transfer (EIT) by means of a "swipe card", payable in advance on Thursdays at a nominated Post Office.
    • (Payment outside the state is mainly by EFT. Claimants living abroad are paid in local currency every four weeks, three weeks in arrears and one in advance.)

Where the claimant is unable to travel to a post office, s/he may nominate a person as an agent, to collect their payment each week.

(See separate guideline on "Payments" for more detail)

Duration of Payment

Payment is made until the claimant resumes employment, is disqualified from receipt of Invalidity Pension, qualifies for another pension at a higher rate, opts to transfer to another Social Welfare payment, is transferred to the State Pension (contributory) at age 66, or dies.

Where a claimant returns to work and/or submits a final medical certificate, the payment is terminated.

Where the claimant commenced working some time before notifying the Department, the decision to terminate may be made with effect from the commencement of employment giving rise to an overpayment.

(See separate guideline re "Revised decisions" and "Guidelines on the Recovery of Debt by the DSP")

When a claimant reaches pension age he or she will be automatically transferred to the State Pension (contributory). Notification will issue to the claimant.

Payment after death of pensioner or qualified dependants

Where the deceased claimant was in receipt of Invalidity Pension which included an increase for a qualified adult his/her surviving spouse/civil partner/cohabitant will receive 6 weeks payment after death.

Also where the deceased claimant was in receipt of Invalidity Pension, his/her surviving spouse/civil partner/cohabitant will receive 6 weeks payment after death where that surviving spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is in receipt of one of the Social Welfare payments below in his/her own right:

Jobseekers Benefit, Jobseekers Assistance, Pre-Retirement Allowance, Farm Assist payment, Illness Benefit, Injury Benefit, State Pension (Contributory), Retirement Pension, Invalidity Pension, State Pension (Non-Contributory), Blind Pension, Incapacity Supplement, Supplementary Welfare Allowance, Disability Allowance, Carer's Benefit or Carer's Allowance

The rate payable for 6 weeks after death of a claimant will be the actual rate that the deceased claimant was receiving. In cases where the deceased claimant was in receipt of a personal rate of payment only, the surviving spouse/civil partner/cohabitant will receive 6 weeks payment equivalent to that personal rate.

Where the deceased claimant was receiving a personal rate and an increase for a child dependant(s), the surviving spouse/civil partner/cohabitant will receive 6 weeks payment at the rate which was payable to the deceased claimant.

Payment of the Increase for a Qualified Adult also continues for 6 weeks following the death of the qualified adult.

Payment of the Increase for a Qualified Child also continues for 6 weeks following the death of the qualified child.

Payment for Qualified Children

Where a payment is being made for a dependant child, this payment will cease when the child reaches 18 years of age.

For Invalidity Pension, where a child is in full-time education after reaching 18 years, a certificate is issued for completion by the educational establishment. Payment is made up to the date the certificate covers/end of academic year.

Where a child has undergone the leaving cert cycle in Secondary School, payment may be made in respect of them until the third Sunday in October.

Certification of Ongoing Entitlement

Claimants who are paid by Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) and Electronic Information Transfer (EIT) are required to certify that they are observing the Condition for receipt of Invalidity Pension. A form for this purpose is issued to them periodically.

Claimants who are living outside the state are also required to certify that they are observing the condition for receipt of Invalidity Pension. A form is issued to them periodically for this purpose.

Credits

Credits are awarded for each week of incapacity for work.
(See separate guideline re "CREDIT AWARDS")

Review

Systematic, periodic reviews are carried out to confirm that the qualifying conditions for receipt of Invalidity Pension continue to be fulfilled.

A review is also initiated if there is any suggestion that the Conditions for receipt of Invalidity Pension for claimants in receipt of Invalidity Pension may not be observed or the qualifying conditions are no longer fulfilled.

Where a claimant is found to be in breach of the Conditions for receipt of Invalidity Pension, a disqualification is imposed for the period of the breach. If the breach is continuing, the question of the fulfilment of the medical condition may also be examined, particularly where the claimant has been working for over 12 months.

Suspension of payment

Where a question arises as to whether the conditions for the receipt of Invalidity Pension are fulfilled, and initial enquiries fail to establish entitlement, payment may be suspended in whole or in part until the person's entitlement has been confirmed.

This will be done if there is reason to believe that:

  • either the claimant, qualified adult or child dependent is no longer alive;
  • the claimant is no longer resident at the given address;
  • the claimant has taken up employment or self-employment
  • the earnings of the qualified adult have increased and the claimant has failed to provide the requested details within a reasonable period of time;
  • the claimant fails to attend for medical examination and fails to furnish a reasonable explanation for not attending;
  • the claimant refuses unreasonably to see an Officer of the Minister or refuses to answer any reasonable enquiries by any such officer relating to his/her claim.

Retention/Destruction of documents

Claim files in respect of Invalidity Pension are retained and are not destroyed until the expiration of six complete calendar years after a claim is stopped. Claims are stopped due to the death of the claimant or due to the fact that the claimant has moved on to another Social Welfare Payment or due to the fact that the claimant has returned to work. A random sample of 10% of files due to be destroyed are retained for archival purposes in accordance with the National Archives Act.

Last modified:13/05/2016