A Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension is a means-tested payment payable to a widow, widower or surviving civil partner who does not qualify for a contributory widow's, widower's or surviving civil partner’s payment. (This payment was formerly called the Widow's/Widower's (Non-Contributory) Pension).
It is is a payment for widows, widowers or surviving civil partners who do not have dependent children. People with dependent children should apply for the One-Parent Family Payment.
You transfer to State Pension (Non-Contributory) when you reach 66 years of age. This pension is taxable but you are unlikely to pay tax if it is your only income.
In order to qualify you must, of course, be a widow, widower or surviving civil partner and you must not be cohabiting with another person. You can keep your entitlement to this pension if you are divorced or your civil partnership has been dissolved, and you would have been entitled to this pension had you remained married or in the civil partnership.
You must also:
The means test
Your means are any income you have or property (except your own home) or an asset that could bring in money or provide you with an income.
Your means are assessed using specific rules under the following headings:
- Cash income (including, income from work)
- Value of capital (for example, savings, investments, cash on hand and property but not your own home)
- Income from property personally used
Cash income and income from work
Any cash income you have is assessed in the means test. This includes income from a social security pension from another country. However, certain items of cash income are not taken into account in the means test. For example, earnings of up to €100 per week from employment (but not self-employment) are not taken into account. Any income from work above €100 is assessed as means.
More information is available in our document about cash income not taken into account in the means test.
Home help income: From January 2012 any income you get from working as a home help for the HSE is taken into account in the means test.
Capital and property not personally used
Savings, investments, cash on hand and any property you own (but not your own home) is assessed as capital. All your capital from different sources is added together and a special formula is then used to find your weekly means from capital.
The property and investments that may be assessed under this heading include savings in a bank account (or anywhere else), a house that you have let and stocks and shares. You may or may not be getting an income from the property or investment. Income from property already assessed on its capital value is not assessed in the means test - see cash income above.
More information is available in our document on how capital and property is assessed as means.
Income from property personally used (your home)
The value of the house you live in is not taken into account in the means test. However, any income you are getting from it is taken into account. For example, if you rented a room in your house, that income is assessed. There is an exception to this, if not renting the room means that you would be living alone then your income from rent is not taken into account.
Your means under the various headings are added together to see what level of pension, if any, you can get.
The first €7.60 per week of means as assessed by the Department of Social Protection does not affect the rate of pension. After that, the pension is reduced by €2.50 each week for every €2.50 of means.
Rate of payment in 2014
|Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension
||Weekly rate (max)|
|Widow, widower or surviving civil partner (under 66)
If you are getting a Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Non-Contributory Pension you may qualify for a Fuel Allowance (if you are living alone or with certain 'specified' people).
If you are aged 60 to 65 and your late spouse or civil partner was getting a Household Benefits Package at the time of their death, you may qualify for a Household Benefits Package.
You may also qualify for help with funeral expenses and rent or mortgage payments under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme.
Where to apply
Department of Social Protection
Social Welfare Services
Opening Hours:This office does not offer a service to personal callers. All queries must be made using the online enquiry form, by telephone or in writing.
Tel:(071) 915 7100
Locall:1890 500 000
You can email the Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension section using the secure enquiry form. If you wish to talk to someone face-to-face about your pension entitlements, you can visit your local Citizens Information centre, social welfare local office or Intreo centre.