What are the social insurance conditions?


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State Pension (Transition)

You must have:

  • started paying social insurance before reaching age 55,
  • paid at least 260 full-rate employment contributions (see changes from 6 April 2012, below),
  1. and
  • a yearly average of at least 48 paid and/or credited full-rate contributions from 1979 to the end of the tax year before you reach age 65,
  1. or
  • a yearly average of at least 24 paid and/or credited full-rate contributions from 1953 (or the time you started insurable employment, if later) to the end of the tax year before you reach age 65.

Note:
You need a yearly average of 24 full-rate contributions to get the minimum rate State Pension (Transition). You need an average of 48 full-rate contributions to get the maximum rate pension.

Mixed insurance contributions

  • If you have a mix of full-rate and modified-rate contributions, you may qualify for a mixed insurance pro-rata pension. See Appendix 3, for details.

Social insurance outside Ireland

  • If you have a mix of Irish full-rate contributions and contributions paid in another country, you may qualify for an EU or a Bilateral Pro-Rata pension. See section 5 for details.

State Pension (Contributory)

You must have:

  • started paying social insurance before reaching age 56,
  • paid at least 260 full-rate employment contributions (see changes from 6 April 2012, below),
  1. and
  • a yearly average of at least 48 paid and/or credited full-rate contributions from 1979 to the end of the tax year before you reach age 66,
  1. or
  • a yearly average of at least 10 full-rate paid and/or credited contributions from 1953 (or the time you started insurable employment, if later) to the end of the tax year before you reach age 66.

Note:
A yearly average of 10 full-rate contributions will give you the minimum rate State Pension (Contributory). For the maximum rate pension, you need a yearly average of 48 full-rate contributions.

Mixed insurance contributions

  • If you have a mix of full-rate and modified-rate contributions, you may qualify for a mixed insurance pro-rata pension. See Appendix 3, for details.

Social insurance outside Ireland

  • If you have a mix of Irish full-rate contributions and contributions paid in another country, you may qualify for an EU or a Bilateral Pro-Rata pension. See section 5 for details.

Social insurance contributions - points to note

  • Full-rate social insurance contributions are PRSI contributions at Classes A, E, F, G, H, N and S(Class S is reckonable for State Pension (Contributory) only.) This category also covers contributions paid at the 'ordinary' rate before 6 April 1979. See Appendix 1.
  • 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 rate before 6 April 1979. See Appendix 1.

Class S PRSI

  • Class S PRSI is paid by self-employed people and provides cover for State Pension (Contributory). If you were self-employed and started paying PRSI on 6 April 1988, your ability to get State Pension (Contributory) may be based on your PRSI record from that date (provided you were under the age of 56 on that date).
  • If you pay Class S PRSI all self employment contributions payable by you must be paid in full.
  • You must have paid self employment contributions in respect of at least one contribution year before reaching your 66th birthday.
  • In respect of claims for State Pension (Contributory) received on or after 1st January 2010, the pension will only be paid from the date on which all self employment contributions have been paid in full (apart from the last full contribution year before your 66th birthday).

Changes from 6 April 2012

If you reach pension age on or after 6 April 2012:

  • you must have paid at least 520 full-rate employment contributions,
  1. or
  • you must make up the required 520 with high or special rate Voluntary Contributions if you have paid at least 260 full-rate employment contributions.

See Appendix 3, for changes regarding mixed insurance pro-rata State Pension (Transition) or State Pension (Contributory).

Special rules on the above condition exist for people who paid high rate Voluntary Contributions on or before 6 April 1997.

Note:
We take into account social insurance paid before 1953 under the National Health Insurance Acts only for satisfying the first two conditions for both pensions. See below for more details.

Changes from January 2014

The conditions for pensions will be changing in the future under the National Pensions Framework which was launched in March 2010.

For more information, log on to 'www.welfare.ie'.

Credited contributions - 'credits'

  • You may qualify for credited contributions ('credits') in certain cases, generally for periods of unemployment and illness. These credits are similar to the social insurance contributions you pay while in employment and may help you qualify for social welfare benefits and pensions.

For more information, log on to 'www.welfare.ie'.

Homemakers

  • If you have spent time caring for someone in your home, you may not have the same number of social insurance contributions as if you had worked outside the home. We ignore years spent in the home since 6 April 1994 to care for a child up to age 6 (increased to age 12 from 6 April 1995) or for an ill or disabled person when working out your yearly average social insurance contributions for State Pension (Contributory).

Note:
It is planned to replace the current Homemaker disregard years with a credits based system for new pensioners from 2012 as announced in the National Pensions Framework which was launched in March 2010.

For more information, log on to 'www.welfare.ie'.

See Appendix 1, for details of full-rate and modified-rate social insurance contributions.

Last modified:27/01/2012
 

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