What are 'Credits'?
If you are an employee, PRSI
deductions are made from your earnings each week. If you are sick, unemployed or retire early, for example, PRSI
deductions may not be made. However, you may qualify for 'credits' instead. These 'credits' are similar to the PRSI
contributions which you pay while in employment.
'Credits' are usually awarded at the same rate as your last paid PRSI contribution.
For example, if you paid Class A PRSI in your last employment and you are eligible for 'credits', these 'credits' will protect your entitlement to Class A benefits.
You may get 'credits' while you claim social welfare payments because you are out of work and while you are on a SOLAS (formerly FÁS)
course. These 'credits' protect your entitlement to benefits and pensions in the future.
To be entitled to PRSI
'credits', you must previously have worked and paid PRSI
contributions. If, at any stage in your working life, you have no PRSI
contributions paid or credited for 2 full consecutive tax years, you cannot get 'credits' until you return to work and pay PRSI
contributions for at least 26 weeks. Contributions paid at Class J
cannot be used to satisfy this condition.
When you first start work, you are automatically given 'credits'. These pre-entry 'credits' are given from the beginning of the income tax year in which you start work up to the date you start work and for the 2 previous income tax years.
These 'credits' may help you to qualify for Illness, Jobseeker's, Maternity or Adoptive Benefit as soon as you have worked and paid PRSI
contributions for 39 weeks. Pre-entry 'credits' are normally given only once.
'Credits' may be given for periods in full-time education, (e.g. third-level), if you:
- have worked before starting the course and paid PRSI Class A
- started the course before reaching age 23
- have started your first full-time insurable employment.
When you apply for Student 'credits', you will need to supply:
- written confirmation from the school/college stating that you were a student there;
- the dates you attended the school/college, and
- confirmation of your re-entry into full-time insurable employment.
Student 'credits' are only given once.
'Credits' while sick or unemployed
'Credits' are automatically given for any period you get Illness, Jobseeker's, Health and Safety, Maternity or Adoptive Benefit, Invalidity, Carer's Benefit. 'Credits' may also be given for periods of Injury Benefit, Jobseeker's Allowance, Pre-Retirement Allowance, or Carer's Allowance, or if you participate in an education or part-time work scheme for unemployed people.
If you are sick or unemployed, you may qualify for 'credits' even if you are not getting Illness Benefit or an unemployment payment. This can happen, for example, if you:
- do not have enough PRSI contributions to qualify for benefit;
- have used up your benefit, or
- are disqualified from getting unemployment payments because of a trade dispute.
If you are unemployed, you may be entitled to sign for 'credits' at your local Social Welfare Office.
In order to get 'credits' while you are ill and unfit for work, you must send regular medical evidence as long as your illness lasts to the:
Department of Social Protection
P.O. Box 1650
or hand in your medical certificate at your local Social Welfare/Intreo Office.
'Credits' - Civil & Public Servants paying PRSI at Class B, C or D
If you have to give up work due to ill-health and you are likely to remain ill for some time, you should send medical certificates at yearly intervals for as long as you remain ill or until you reach age 66 to Client Eligibility Services, Department of Social Protection, McCarter's Road, Buncrana, Co. Donegal.
You may be given a 'credit' for each week that you are sick. These 'credits' will help keep your insurance record up-to-date and may help maintain your future entitlement to a Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Contributory Pension. For further details see information leaflet SW20
Training Course 'Credits'
You can also get 'credits' when you attend training courses with SOLAS (formally FÁS)
, Cert, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) or TEAGASC, provided that you were insurably employed at PRSI Class A
or getting 'credits' before attending the course. These 'credits' will keep your social insurance record up-to-date while you are on the course and may help you to qualify for social welfare benefits in the future.