Investigation of Claim
Duration of claim
Certification of Ongoing Entitlement
PART 1. Description of Scheme
The Homemaker scheme was introduced to make it easier for those who provide full-time care for children or for an incapacitated person to qualify for a State Pension (Contributory). The scheme came into effect on 6 April 1994 and applies to both men and women.
One of the qualifying conditions for State Pension (Contributory) is that the person has a minimum yearly average number of contributions since entering social insurance to reaching pension age. The Homemakers scheme provides that contribution years spent working in the home while caring on a full-time basis for a child up to 12 years of age or an incapacitated person age 12 or over will be disregarded in calculating a person's yearly average number of contributions.
Homemaking Years disregard
A year is disregarded as a homemaking year, if a person is out of the workforce for the complete contribution year.
A maximum of 20 homemaking years may be disregarded for State Pension (Contributory) Purposes.
Credited contributions reckonable for State Pension (Contributory) may be awarded for part of a year at the start of the homemaking period, from the date in which the insured person became a homemaker up to the end of the tax year. Likewise, credited contributions may also be awarded for part of a year when the homemaking period ends, from the start of the tax year up to the date the homemaking ceased.
Example: Person leaves work to care for newborn child
Child Details: Date of Birth 10 November 1997; 12th birthday 10 November 2009
Homemaking Period: 10 November 1997 - 10 November 2009
Credits awarded to end of tax year
Counted as full Homemaking Years
Credits awarded to child's 12th birthday
The period of Homemaking will be disregarded when the yearly average number of contributions for State Pension (Contributory) is being calculated and may help the person to qualify for a pension or entitle him/her to a higher rate of pension.
Homemaker's Scheme booklet SW 1
Homemaker's application form HM 1
The main provisions governing the Homemaker's Scheme are:-
- Section 108 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended).
- Article 57 (4), (5) and Article 59A of the Social Welfare (Consolidated and Insurability) Regulations, 1996 ( S.I. No. 312 of 1996).
- Articles 60, 180, 181 (5), 183 (1) and Article 183 (2) (as amended) of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, 2007 (S.I. No. 142 of 2007).
- Article 44 of Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council.
Homemaker's Scheme Section, Dept of Social Protection, McCarter's Road, Buncrana, Co. Donegal administers the scheme.
to qualify under the scheme the Homemaker must:
- be age 16 or over
- be permanently resident in the state ( see note)
- be under age 66
- live with the person they are looking after, or be in a position to provide full time care and attention to a person who is not living with them
- be caring for the person on a full time basis
- have been previously employed/self employed
- not be engaged in full time employment/self employment (however, part-time work with gross earnings less than €38 per week is allowed)
- not be living in a hospital, convalescent home or other similar institution
Exception may be made where provisions under EU or posted worker regulations apply.
Before 26th October 2000, the homemaker must have lived with the person being cared for. From 26th October 2000, if not living with the person being cared for, a direct system of communication must exist between the homemaker's residence and that of the care recipient. This may be a telephone or alarm type system.
The care recipient must not already be receiving full-time care and attention within his or her own residence from another person.
Homemaker must be caring for the person on a full-time basis
A homemaker may continue to be regarded as providing full-time care and attention to a relevant child or adult while either they or the relevant child or adult are undergoing medical or other treatment, in a hospital or other institution for a period not longer than 13 weeks.
A homemaker may also continue to be regarded as providing full-time care and attention where the person being cared for is attending a non-residential course of rehabilitation training, or a non-residential day care centre approved by the Minister for Health and Children.
Homemaker must not be employed or self-employed outside the home
A general rule for those in employment, is that they are not entitled to homemaker disregard years in their own right, unless they are prepared to give up their employment and furnish the necessary documents to the Department stating that this is the case.
The homemaker may not work outside the home. However they may engage in limited self-employment (yearly reckonable income of less than €3,174) or employment (less than €38 per week) provided the full time care and attention requirement is satisfied.
Homemaker or person being cared for must not be resident in an institution
For the purposes of this scheme, the legislation defines institution as meaning "a hospital, convalescent home or home for persons suffering from physical or mental disability or accommodation ancillary thereto, and any other similar establishment providing residence, maintenance or care for persons therein".
Homemaker must be fit to care
Claimants for the Homemaker's Scheme who are in receipt of an illness-related payment at the time of making the claim may be asked to submit medical evidence confirming that they are capable of providing full-time care and attention.
Person being cared for
The person being cared for must be so invalided or disabled as to need full-time care and attention (except where child is under 12).
A person is regarded as needing full-time care and attention when:
- a. They are so disabled or invalided that they require from another person
- Continual supervision in order to avoid danger to themselves or
- Continual supervision and frequent assistance throughout the day in connection with their normal personal needs, for example help to walk and get about, eat or drink, wash, bathe, dress etc.
- b. They are so disabled or invalided as to be likely to require full-time care and attention.
The degree of medical incapacity and the expected duration of the incapacity must be certified by a medical doctor.
A homemaker caring for an individual in receipt of Disability Allowance who attends a special school or workshop and returns home at night may qualify.
Child receiving the care must be under prescribed age
The child(ren) must be under age 12. The age limit does not apply however if the child(ren) is so incapacitated as to require full-time care and attention.
Adopted children - the child does not have to be the natural child of the person.
Homemaker not living in the State
A homemaker may take holidays of 2/3 weeks abroad.
Persons in receipt of Carer's Allowance (who are not entitled to credits under that scheme) may be entitled to have homemaking years taken into account for State Pension (Contributory) purposes.
Persons in receipt of Carer's Support Grant may be entitled to have homemaking years taken into account for State Pension (Contributory) purposes.
Persons in receipt of Child Benefit may also benefit if they are out of the workforce and are not in receipt of credited contributions from the Department.
PART 2. CLAIMS, DECISIONS & APPEALS:
A person does not need to apply directly for the scheme if they are getting Child Benefit (Children's Allowance), Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit or Carer's Support Grant. We will treat a claim for these schemes as an application to become a homemaker.
A person should apply directly for the scheme if:
- they are a stay at home father and are providing full-time care to a child under age 12 and are not receiving Child Benefit for this child, or
- they have never claimed Carer's Allowance or Benefit but are providing fulltime care to an incapacitated adult or child aged 12 or over, on or after 6 April 1994, and they have not received a Carer's Support Grant for them.
In the aforementioned circumstances, the application form HM 1 should be completed in full and returned.
A Homemaker claim may be backdated where the person can prove to the satisfaction of the Deciding Officer or Appeals Officer that s/he satisfied the qualifying conditions during that period and that there was good cause for delay in making the claim.
Normally a person must apply to become a Homemaker up to the end of the contribution year following the year in which homemaking commenced.
The Homemaker is responsible for the production of certificates, documents, information and evidence required, including Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificate (if applicable), earnings details i.e. P60, current payslips and any other relevant information.
A medical certificate is incorporated into the claim form (HM1) which must be completed and signed by the caree's doctor.
Homemakers in receipt of Invalidity pension or Illness Benefit the Homemaker must also provide medical certification that (s)he is able to provide the required care.
Investigation of Claim
Where it is evident from the details supplied by the claimant that all the qualifying conditions are fulfilled, or that one or more are clearly not fulfilled, the file will be referred immediately to a Deciding Officer for decision.
Where there is doubt about the fulfilment of a condition (e.g. whether the Homemaker is in a position to provide full time care to the caree) further enquiries will be made, by correspondence with the claimant or by referring the file to a Social Welfare Inspector for investigation.
Claims are decided by Deciding Officers who are appointed by the Minister. A notification of the decision is issued to the claimant, and when claims are disallowed the claimant is given the reason for the disallowance.
A person may submit any further documentary evidence that they consider relevant to their case to the Homemakers Section within 21 days, and a request for a review of the decision made on their claim by the Deciding Officer.
An appeal should be made in writing to the Chief Appeals Officer, D'Olier House, D'Olier Street, Dublin 2. A form for that purpose is available at that office or online at www.socialwelfareappeals.ie.
Notice of appeal should be submitted within 21 days of the review by the Deciding Officer
PART 3: PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD
There are no direct payments for periods spent homemaking.
Duration of claim
A homemaker claim ceases when:-
- the care recipient no longer requires full-time care and attention,
- the care recipient is deceased,
- the homemaker and care recipient are not resident at the same address for homemaking periods up to 25th October 2000,
- the non-residency requirements are no longer satisfied since 26th October 2000,
- the homemaker is no longer providing full-time care to the care recipient,
- the homemaker has taken up employment or self-employment outside the home,
- the homemaker has reached pensionable age (66 years),
- the homemaker returns to work or a recognized training course e.g. FÁS Community Employment scheme,
- the homemaker qualifies for Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit and credited contributions,
- the child(ren) being cared for reach 12 years of age,
- maximum 20 years disregarded.
Note: If a homemaker does not return to the workforce they may choose to become a voluntary contributor. See guide to voluntary contributions - SW 8.
Stop dates are inserted in the Department's records system as appropriate e.g. to stop the claim at pension age, or when the child reaches 12 etc.
Certification of Ongoing Entitlement
The onus is on the homemaker to notify the Department of any changes in the caree or homemaker's circumstances.
On the HM1 the homemaker agrees to inform the Department if there is any change in the details given in the form. When they are registered as a homemaker they are similarly asked to inform the Department of any change in their circumstances.
A review is initiated when the homemaker notifies the Department of any changes in their or the caree's circumstances.
Periodic reviews are also carried out to confirm that the qualifying conditions continue to be fulfilled. Where doubt arises as to whether all the conditions are fulfilled, and initial enquiries fail to establish entitlement, the award of a homemaking period may be suspended.