Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions are needed to qualify for social insurance payments. To qualify for payment, you must have enough weeks of PRSI contributions to satisfy these conditions. The PRSI weeks must also be paid or credited at the appropriate rate or class.
For most social insurance benefits, you must satisfy two conditions. You must first have a minimum number of weeks of PRSI contributions paid. This means that you must have worked and PRSI must have been paid for you for that number of weeks. These weeks do not have to be continuous. They can be paid at any time during your working life.
A second condition is that you must have a minimum number of weeks of PRSI contributions paid and/or credited in the Relevant Tax Year.
These conditions vary depending on the benefit you are claiming.
The Relevant Tax Year is the second last complete Tax Year before the Benefit Year in which you claim.
For a claim made in Benefit Year 2008 the relevant Tax Year is 2006
For a claim made in Benefit Year 2009 the relevant Tax Year is 2007
For a claim made in Benefit Year 2010 the relevant Tax Year is 2008
The Benefit Year begins on the first Monday in January each year.
The Tax Year starts from the 1st January each year (from 1st January 2002 onwards).
Normally, your entitlement to a Retirement or State Pension (Contributory) depends on having an average number of weeks PRSI paid and/or credited every year from 1979 or alternatively over your working life. Because an average number of PRSI contributions are used, a shortage of weeks in one year can be made up in another. However, you will need a yearly average of 48 weeks to get a full pension. The PRSI conditions differ for Widow's or Widower's (Contributory) and Invalidity Pensions.
Since April 1994, if you left the workforce to provide full-time care and attention for a child(ren) or a person who is ill, you may have these years disregarded when the yearly average number of PRSI contributions for State Pension (Contributory) is being calculated.
To benefit from this scheme (the Homemakers Scheme), you must have worked and paid PRSI previously (or may do so in the future) at Class A, E, H and S (See booklet SW 1 for further information).