Qualifying for State Pension (Transition) - Frequently Asked Questions


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  1. What are the 2013 weekly rates of State Pension (transition)?

  2. What is State Pension (transition)?

  3. What are the social insurance conditions I must satisfy to qualify for State Pension (transition)?

  4. How do I know what type of contribution I am paying?

  5. What is a "Contribution Year"?

  6. What are "full rate contributions"?

  7. What are "modified contributions"?

  8. What are "self-employed contributions"?

  9. I have less than 520 full rate social insurance contributions paid, but I have also paid modified rate contributions. Can these be used to satisfy the 520 paid contributions requirement?

  10. I do not have 520 paid Irish social insurance contributions, but I have worked abroad. Can my social insurance contributions from another country be used to satisfy the 520 paid contributions requirement?

  11. I am resident in Ireland, but I have worked or lived abroad. Do I need to contact the social insurance authorities abroad to help sort out my pension?

  12. Do the social insurance contributions I have paid in a country or countries covered by EC Regulations or with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement count towards State Pension (transition)?

  13. I have less than 520 full rate social insurance contributions paid, but I have also paid voluntary rate contributions. Can the voluntary contributions be used to satisfy the 520 paid contributions requirement?

  14. Is there a disregard of Homemaking periods when calculating entitlement to State pension (transition)?

  15. How can I get a copy of my social insurance record?

  16. Can I qualify for social insurance credits if I retire before reaching age 65?

  17. How do I calculate my 'Yearly Average'?

  18. How do I calculate my ‘Yearly Average’ using the Alternative Contribution Test (ACT)?

  19. How do I calculate my Mixed Insurance Contributory Pension Entitlement?

  20. Can my spouse, civil partner or cohabitant get a State Pension (transition) based on my record?

  21. Can I get paid on my pension for my spouse, civil partner or cohabitant?

  22. Is my Increase for qualified adult allowance affected if my spouse, civil partner or cohabitant transfers or disposes of income or property?

  23. What other benefits or allowances can I claim for?

  24. Is State pension (transition) being discontinued?

  25. When and how do I apply for my pension?

  26. How will I know that my pension application has been safely received?

  27. I am not happy with the decision made by the Department on my application for pension. What can I do next?

  28. How will I get my payment?

  29. If I go to live abroad, what happens to my State Pension (transition)?

  30. Does the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection deduct income tax from my State Pension?

  31. Can I arrange to have my Local Property Tax deducted in weekly instalments from my State pension (transition)?

  32. I am late applying for my pension, can my pension be backdated?

  33. Are there any circumstances where the Department will backdate a claim for more than 6 months?

  34. Where can I get more information on State pension (transition)?

  35. What countries are covered by either EC Regulations or a Bilateral Agreement with Ireland?

  36. What are the different PRSI Classes people currently pay?

  37. What other PRSI Classes could people have paid?

1. What are the 2013 weekly rates of State Pension (transition)?

2013 weekly rates of State Pension (Transition)
Yearly Average Personal Rate (weekly) Increase for Qualified Adult aged under 66 (see note below)
(maximum weekly rate)
Increase for Qualified Adult aged 66 or over (see note below)
(maximum weekly rate)
48 or over
€230.30
€153.50
€206.30
40 - 47
€225.80
€146.00
€196.00
30 - 39
€207.00
€139.00
€186.00
24 - 29
€196.00
€139.00
€175.00

Note:
Increase for Qualified Adult is a means-tested payment

2. What is State Pension (transition)?

State Pension (transition) is a social insurance payment made when you reach age 65. It is based on your social insurance (PRSI) record.

The pension is not means-tested. Your personal rate is not affected by other income you may have such as an occupational pension. (Note: some Irish Army pensions may be affected if you qualify for a State pension (transition). You should contact the Dept. of Defence for details).

Note: Increase for a Qualified Adult is means-tested payment.

State Pension (transition) is only paid for one year from age 65. You must be retired from insurable employment to qualify for State Pension (transition). When you reach age 66 you will be automatically transferred to State Pension (Contributory). The amount of pension you get does not change.

You qualify for State Pension (transition) if you:

  • are aged between 65 and 66
    and
  • are retired from insurable employment (see note)
    and
  • satisfy certain social insurance contribution conditions.

Note:
You do not need to give up employment completely. You can be employed part time and earn less than €38 a week paying PRSI at Class J or earn less than €5,000 a year if you are self employed.

3. What are the social insurance conditions I must satisfy to qualify for State Pension (transition)?

To qualify for State Pension (transition) you must have

  • started paying social insurance before reaching age 55
    and
  • paid at least 520 full rate social insurance contributions (if you turn 65 before 6th April 2012 you need 260 paid full rate contributions)
    and
    • a yearly average of at least 48 paid and/or credited full rate contributions from 1979 to the end of the contribution year before you reach age 65
      or
    • a yearly average of at least 24 paid and/or credited full rate contributions from 1953 (or the year you started insurable employment, if later) to the end of the contribution year before you reach age 65.

Note: You need a yearly average of 24 full rate contributions to get the minimum payment rate of State Pension (transition). You need a yearly average of 48 full rate contributions to get the maximum payment rate. Please see Question 1 for weekly rates of payment.

4. How do I know what type of contribution I am paying?

The type of contribution, or PRSI Class, you pay is shown on your P60. See Question 36 and 37 for an explanation of the different PRSI Classes.

5. What is a "Contribution Year"?

A "contribution year" is a year of assessment within the meaning of the Income Tax Acts, and is generally referred to as the "tax year".

6. What are "full rate contributions"?

Full rate social insurance contributions are PRSI contributions at Classes A, E, F, G, H and N. This category also covers contributions paid at the 'ordinary' rate before 6th April 1979.

7. What are "modified contributions"?

Modified rate social insurance contributions are PRSI contributions at Classes B, C and D. This category also covers contributions for Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension before 6th April 1979.

8. What are "self-employed contributions"?

Self-employed rate social insurance contributions are PRSI contributions at Class S. These contributions are not reckonable for standard State Pension (transition) purposes, but may be used when calculating entitlement for a pro-rata mixed insurance pension, see Question 19.

9. I have less than 520 full rate social insurance contributions paid, but I have also paid modified rate contributions. Can these be used to satisfy the 520 paid contributions requirement?

Modified rate social insurance contributions can be used to satisfy this requirement, provided you have paid at least 260 full rate contributions. If so, you may be assessed for what we call a 'mixed insurance' pension.

10. I do not have 520 paid Irish social insurance contributions, but I have worked abroad. Can my social insurance contributions from another country be used to satisfy the 520 paid contributions requirement?

Social insurance in a country covered by EC Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement can be used to satisfy the 520 paid contributions requirement. For a list of these countries, see Question 35.

11. I am resident in Ireland, but I have worked or lived abroad. Do I need to contact the social insurance authorities abroad to help sort out my pension?

You do not need to contact the foreign social insurance authorities directly. When you apply for your Irish pension, once you have informed the Department of the country/countries in which you previously worked or lived, we will contact the relevant foreign authorities on your behalf in relation to your pension entitlements. You do not need to make a separate pension claim to those countries.

12. Do the social insurance contributions I have paid in a country or countries covered by EC Regulations or with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement count towards State Pension (transition)?

If you do not qualify for State Pension (transition) based on your Irish social insurance record alone, contributions paid abroad may help you qualify for a pro-rata State pension (transition) under EC Regulations or under Bilateral Social Security Agreements. You may also qualify for a pension from the other country or countries.

When applying for your Irish pension, you should give details on your application form of any periods of employment or residence abroad. We will send the required papers, including details of your Irish contribution history, to the authorities in the other country or countries involved, on your behalf, if among the countries listed at Question 35.

EU rules on social security coordination enable you to move around Europe and not lose out on your social security rights. You can watch a short video online at:

http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?sitelang=en&ref=I072535

This video explains what will happen to your right to an old-age pension if you live and work in more than one country of the European Union or in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

13. I have less than 520 full rate social insurance contributions paid, but I have also paid voluntary rate contributions. Can the voluntary contributions be used to satisfy the 520 paid contributions requirement?

High rate and special rate voluntary contributions can be used to satisfy this requirement provided you have paid at least 260 full rate contributions.

For further information on voluntary contributions, visit the Departments website at www.welfare.ie or contact:

Voluntary Contributions
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Cork Road
Waterford
LoCall 1890 690 690

14. Is there a disregard of Homemaking periods when calculating entitlement to State pension (transition)?

The disregard of homemaking periods does not apply to State pension (transition).

15. How can I get a copy of my social insurance record?

You can request a copy of your social insurance record

  • online in the Online Services area of our website www.welfare.ie
    or
  • by writing to our Central Records Section at the address below, and telling us your:
    • PPS Number
    • Name
    • Address
    • Date of Birth
    • Birth Surname (if you are a married woman)
    • Mother’s Birth Surname
    • Pre-1979 Insurance Number (if you worked in Ireland pre-1979)
    • Telephone number (in case we need to contact you)

Central Records
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
McCarter’s Road
Ardarvan
Buncrana
Co. Donegal
LoCall 1890 690 690

16. Can I qualify for social insurance credits if I retire before reaching age 65?

You may be entitled to Jobseeker's Credits or Illness Benefit credits if you satisfy the conditions for these schemes. Please contact your local Social Welfare Local Office for further information.

Otherwise, voluntary contributions may be an option for you to protect your social welfare entitlements.

For further information on voluntary contributions, see www.welfare.ie or contact:

Voluntary Contributions Section
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Cork Road
Waterford.
LoCall: 1890 690 690

17. How do I calculate my 'Yearly Average'?

Count your number of contribution years, beginning with the year you first started paying social insurance up to and including the last full contribution year before you reach age 65. Call this ‘Total Contribution Years’.

Count all your full rate paid contributions and credits over the same period (see Questions 6 above). Call this ‘Contributions and Credits’.

Your ‘Yearly Average‘ is calculated as follows:

Yearly Average = (Contributions and Credits)
                               (Total Contribution Years)

Use your yearly average to get your rate band and your corresponding weekly rate of pension, as set out in the table at Question 1.

Example:

A person is paying social insurance since 7th August 1964. They reach age 65 on 12th March 2013. The last full contribution year before they turn 65 is 2012. They have a total of 1,225 contributions and credits which count towards State Pension (transition).

Total Contribution Years = 49 (1964 to 2012 inclusive)Contributions and Credits = 1,225

Yearly Average = (Contributions and Credits) = 1,225 = 25
                               (Total Contribution Years)      49

In this example, using the rates table from Question 1, this would qualify a person to a weekly personal rate of €196.00.

18. How do I calculate my ‘Yearly Average’ using the Alternative Contribution Test (ACT)?

If you have a ‘Yearly Average’ of at least 48 full rate contributions (paid or credited) from April 1979, you may qualify for a maximum rate pension.

Count your number of contribution years, from 1979/80 up to and including the last full contribution year before you reach age 65. Call this ‘Total Contribution Years'.

Count all your full rate paid contributions and credits over the same period (see Question 6 above). Call this ‘Contributions and Credits’.

Your ‘Yearly Average‘ is calculated as follows:

Yearly Average = (Contributions and Credits)
                               (Total Contribution Years)

Example:

A person reaches age 65 on 28th November 2009. The last full contribution year before they turn 65 was 2008. They have a total of 1,434 contributions and credits which count towards State Pension (transition).

Total Contribution Years = 30 (1978/79 to 2008 inclusive)

Contributions and Credits = 1,434

Yearly Average = (Contributions and Credits) = 1,434 = 47.8 (rounded to 48)
                               (Total Contribution Years)      30

In this example, using the rates table from Question 1, this would qualify a person to a weekly personal rate of €230.30.

19. How do I calculate my Mixed Insurance Contributory Pension Entitlement?

Step 1

First calculate the Notional rate of pension. The Notional rate of pension is the personal rate of pension that you would qualify for if all your social insurance contributions and credits (full and modified) were treated as full-rate contributions. You add your full-rate and modified rate contributions and credits together and divide the total by the number of years since you started insurable employment to get your (notional) yearly average. This yearly average determines what rate band of pension you qualify for and this gives you your Notional rate of weekly pension amount.

Step 2

The following formula is then used:

(Notional personal rate of pension) X Number of full-rate contributions + credit
Total number of full and modified rate contributions + credits

 

Example:

A person has 445 full-rate contributions (paid + credited) and 1546 modified rate contributions (paid + credited), over a 49 year period since they first entered insurable employment. They do not qualify for standard SPT, as they only have a yearly average of 9, based on 445 full rate contributions ÷ 49 years.

An entitlement to Mixed Insurance Pro-Rata SPT is then assessed.

Their theoretical yearly average is calculated by adding their 445 full rate contributions (paid and credited) to their 1546 modified contributions (paid and credited) and dividing by 49 years. i.e. 445 + 1546 = 1991 ÷ 49 years = 41. This means they fall into the 40-47 yearly average rate band and their notional personal rate of pension entitlement is €225.80 per week.

To get to the actual rate of pension payable, the following calculation is carried out;

Notional personal weekly rate multiplied by the total number of full rate contributions, divided by the total number of full and modified rate contributions.

€225.80 (notional personal weekly rate of pension) X 445 ( number of full-rate) = €50.46 (rounded to €50.50)
1991 (total full rate + modified)

 

The person qualifies for a Mixed Insurance pro rata State pension (transition) pension at the weekly rate of €50.50.

20. Can my spouse, civil partner or cohabitant get a State Pension (transition) based on my record?

No. A person can only qualify for State pension (transition) based on their own social insurance record.

21. Can I get paid on my pension for my spouse, civil partner or cohabitant?

You can apply for an Increase for a Qualified Adult on your pension. A qualified adult is your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant. This increase is subject to a means test.

You will not get this increase if your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant

  • has gross weekly means of more than €310
    or
  • is getting a higher rate social welfare payment in their own right (except Disablement Pension, Supplementary Welfare Allowance, Guardian’s Payment or Child Benefit)
    or
  • is disqualified from getting Jobseeker’s payments while taking part in a trade dispute
    or
  • is taking part in either a full-time FÁS/Solas non-craft training course or a VTOS course.

If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant has gross weekly means of €100 or less you will receive the full increase for them.

If they have gross weekly means of between €100 and €310, you will get a reduced rate of increase. Where joint means exist (e.g. a joint bank account), half of such means is assessable.

22. Is my Increase for qualified adult allowance affected if my spouse, civil partner or cohabitant transfers or disposes of income or property?

If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant has gross weekly means of €100 or less you will receive the full increase for them.

If they have gross weekly means of between €100 and €310, you will get a reduced rate of increase. Where joint means exist (e.g. a joint bank account), half of such means is assessable.

You should always notify the Department if there is a change in your qualified adult’s means.

If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant deprives themselves of income or property (including money) in order for you to qualify for the increase, or improve your weekly rate of payment, we will include that income or property in the means test if transfer of asset has taken place on or after 29 November 2011.

(This may not apply in the case of a farm transfer)

23. What other benefits or allowances can I claim for?

In addition to your pension and Increase for Qualified Adult if relevant, you may also qualify for some of the following weekly increases in payment:

  • Increase for a Qualified Child – for a child normally living with you and aged under 18, or aged up to 22, if they are in full time education and are being supported by you. Since July 2012, if you are not in receipt of Increase for Qualified Adult, your claim for half rate increase for qualified child is a means tested payment. If a person claims State Pension (transition) on or after 5th July 2012, they are not entitled to receive half-rate Increase for a Qualified Child if their spouse, civil partner or cohabitant has income of over €400.00 a week.
  • Fuel Allowance – a means-tested payment, payable if you live alone or with certain other people.

For more information on increases payable, see www.welfare.ie

24. Is State pension (transition) being discontinued?

Yes. State pension (transition) is being discontinued from 1.1.2014. If you are reach age 65 on or after 1st January 2014, you will not be able to receive a State pension (transition).

A person who reaches their 65th birthday on or before 31st December 2013 will continue to be eligible to apply.

25. When and how do I apply for my pension?

State pension (transition) is being discontinued from 1.1.2014. If you reach age 65 on or after 1st January 2014, you will not be able to receive a State pension (transition).

A person who reaches their 65th birthday on or before 31st December 2013 is eligible to apply for State pension (transition).

If you retire before age 65, you should apply for State Pension (transition) three months before your 65th birthday.

If you retire between age 65 and 66, you should apply for State Pension (transition) as soon as you retire or if you know in advance when you will retire then three months before you retire.

If you worked in one of the countries covered by EU Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement, as listed at Question 35, you should apply for pension 6 months before reaching pension age. When making your claim, ensure you include details of your employment and residential addresses in the county or countries on your application form. The additional time is to allow the other country or countries time to provide details of your social insurance and to examine your possible entitlement to foreign pension.

Important: If you do not apply for your pension within 6 months of reaching pension age, you could lose some payment.

To apply for pension, complete the application form SPT/C1 and send it together with any relevant supporting documentation to:

State Pension (transition)
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
College Road
Sligo
LoCall 1890 500 000

For more information, see www.welfare.ie

26. How will I know that my pension application has been safely received?

If you provide a mobile phone number on your application form, you will receive an SMS message confirming safe receipt of your claim.

27. I am not happy with the decision made by the Department on my application for pension. What can I do next?

You can request a review by a Deciding Officer by writing in to us and telling us why you think the decision we made was incorrect, and enclosing any relevant documents. The address you should write to is:

State Pension (transition)
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
College Road
Sligo

If, following the review, you are still unhappy with the decision, you can appeal the decision by contacting the Appeals Office, within 21 days of the date of the review, at:

Social Welfare Appeals Office
D’Olier House
D’Olier Street
Dublin 2

28. How will I get my payment?

State Pension (transition) is paid weekly:

  • By direct payment into your current, deposit or savings account in a financial institution
    or
  • At your local Post Office by using your Social Service Card/Public Services Card

You must notify the Department immediately of any change in your circumstances.

29. If I go to live abroad, what happens to my State Pension (transition)?

If you live or intend to live outside the State, you can get your pension by direct payment to your account in a financial institution either in Ireland or in the country you choose to live in.

If you intend going abroad to live please write to us with details of your new address, together with any change you want made to your payment arrangements to:

Maintenance Section (SPT/SPC)
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
College Road
Sligo

Important: If you move abroad, please remember that you must notify this Department immediately of any change in your circumstances while there.

30. Does the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection deduct income tax from my State Pension?

No. The Department does not deduct income tax from your pension.

However, your pension, including Increase for a Qualified Adult and Increase for Qualified Child, is regarded as income for income tax purposes and your liability for tax will depend on your overall circumstances.

You should contact your local tax office or online at www.revenue.ie if you have any questions about your tax liability.

31. Can I arrange to have my Local Property Tax deducted in weekly instalments from my State pension (transition)?

Yes. If you wish to enter into such an arrangement with Revenue, you must contact your local tax office directly to make the necessary arrangements. Revenue will notify this Department directly, on your behalf, if such an agreement has been entered into.

You do not need to contact us. Any questions you have about Local Property Tax should be directed to Revenue, through your local tax office or online at www.revenue.ie

32. I am late applying for my pension, can my pension be backdated?

Since the 5th April 2012 late claims for State Pension (transition) may be backdated for a maximum period of 6 months.

33. Are there any circumstances where the Department will backdate a claim for more than 6 months?

In certain circumstances it may be possible to backdate claims for a period beyond six months:

  • Where you failed to claim at the date of entitlement because of false or misleading information given to you, or a person acting on your behalf, by staff of the Department. If this is the case, you must give full details of the false or misleading information you got, including the name of the officer who gave the incorrect information (if known), the office where they gave the incorrect information and the date they gave it.
  • Where you failed to claim at the date of entitlement because you were so incapacitated by illness or infirmity that you could not apply or instruct another person to apply on your behalf. If this is the case, you must supply medical evidence from your doctor explaining why the illness or incapacity prevented you from applying yourself or appointing someone to apply for you.

Where illness or incapacity is claimed, your claim to pension must have been made before or within 6 months of the date you ceased to be ill or incapacitated.

Important: Your lack of knowledge of entitlement to pension or the lack of knowledge of entitlement to pension of an agent/person acting for you is not regarded as satisfying the criteria to backdate your claim.

The lack of knowledge by third parties, incorrect information or advice which is supplied to you, or failure to act by an individual or agency other that an employee of the Department will not be regarded as a basis for a further backdating of pension payment.

34. Where can I get more information on State pension (transition)?

For more information on State pension (transition):

35. What countries are covered by either EC Regulations or a Bilateral Agreement with Ireland?

Australia

Hungary

Portugal

Austria

Iceland

Republic of Cyprus (Cyprus South)

Belgium

Isle of Man

Republic of Korea

Bulgaria

Italy

Romania

Croatia

Japan Slovakia

Canada

Latvia

Slovenia

Channel Islands

Liechtenstein

Spain

Czech Republic

Lithuania

Sweden

Denmark

Luxembourg

Switzerland

Estonia

Malta

The United Kingdom

Finland

The Netherlands

The United States of America

France

New Zealand

 

Germany

Norway

 

Greece

Poland

36. What are the different PRSI Classes people currently pay?

PRSI Class Who pays this Class PRSI? (see note below) Does it count towards State Pension (transition)? Does it count towards State Pension (Contributory)?
A
Most people working in the private sector;  Civil and Public Servants recruited on or after 6th April 1995
Yes
Yes
B
Doctors and dentists working in the Civil Service; permanent and pensionable Civil Servants and Gardaí recruited before 6th April 1995
No
No
C
Commissioned Army Officers and members of the Army Nursing Service recruited before 6th April 1995
No
No
D
Other permanent and pensionable employees in the public service recruited before 6th April 1995
No
No
E
Ministers of Religion employed by the Church of Ireland Representative Body
Yes
Yes
H
Non-Commissioned Officers and enlisted personnel of the Defence Forces
Yes
Yes
J
People with reckonable pay of less than €38 per week; people aged over 66; people in subsidiary employment
No
No
K
People on occupational pensions; certain office holders; people aged over 66 who previously paid Class S
No
No
M
Employees under age 16; people within Class K who have no contribution liability
No
No
P (optional)
Share Fishermen/Fisherwomen already paying Class S
No
No
S
Self-employed people, including certain company directors and certain people with income from investments and rents
No
Yes

Note:
This table shows a very general description of the PRSI Classes and who pays them. For more information, see www.welfare.ie

37. What other PRSI Classes could people have paid?

PRSI Class Who paid this Class PRSI? (see note below) Does it count towards State Pension (transition)? Does it count towards State Pension (Contributory)?
E
Up until 1991, part-time share fishermen/fisherwomen not employed under a contract of service.
Yes
Yes
F
Up until 1991, outworkers employed under a contract of service
Yes
Yes
G
Up until 1991, outworker male weavers not employed under a contract of service
Yes
Yes
N
Up until 1991, Seamen who are EC nationals employed aboard a ship flying the Irish flag which is either a foreign-going ship or a ship engaged in regular trade on foreign stations.
Yes
Yes

Note:
This table shows a very general description of the PRSI Classes and who pays them. For more information, see www.welfare.ie

Last modified:10/10/2013