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Section 4 - Retired or Older People

This section gives details of the different payments for retired or older people, it outlines:

  • State Pension (Transition)
  • State Pension (Contributory)
  • Homemaker�s Scheme
  • State Pension (Non-Contributory)
  • Protecting your occupational pension and PRSA rights

Contents

4.1 State Pension (Transition)

4.2 State Pension (Contributory)

4.3 Homemaker's Scheme

4.4 State Pension (Non-Contributory)

4.5 Protecting Your Occupational Pension and PRSA rights

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4.1 State Pension (Transition)

State Pension (Transition) is a social insurance payment made to people reaching age 65, who are retired and who satisfy certain social insurance conditions. The pension (personal rate) is not means tested or affected by other income you may have such as an occupational pension.

State Pension (Transition) was previously known as Retirement Pension.

How do I qualify?

You will qualify for a State Pension (Transition) if you:

  • are aged 65,
  • are retired from insurable employment*, and
  • satisfy the social insurance contribution conditions.

* You do not need to give up employment. You can be employed part-time and earn less than �38 a week paying PRSI at Class J, or be selfemployed and earn less than �3,174 a year.

The retirement condition ceases to apply when you reach age 66.

Social insurance contribution conditions

To qualify for a standard rate State Pension (Transition) the following must apply to you:

  • you started paying social insurance contributions before reaching age 55,
  • you have either:
    - 260 full rate paid contributions, if you reach age 65 by 5 April 2012,
    or
    - 520 full rate paid contributions, if you reach age 65 on or after 6 April 2012,
  • up to the end of the tax year before you reach age 65, you have a yearly average of at least:
    - 24 full rate paid or credited contributions since you first started paying social insurance (to get the minimum amount of pension).
    or
    - 48 full rate paid or credited contributions from 1979 (to get the maximum amount of pension).
Pensions Update

If you reach pension age on or after 6 April 2012 you must have 520 full-rate employment paid contributions, or if you have at least 260 full-rate paid contributions, you can pay the balance of the 520 by making high rate voluntary contributions.

You can make up the yearly average from high rate voluntary contributions and full rate paid contributions, which are PRSI at Classes A, E, F, G, H and N. While classes F, G and N no longer exist, you can still use any contributions paid at these classes for pension purposes.

Class S PRSI is paid by self-employed people and provides cover for State Pension (Contributory). PRSI for self-employed people was introducedon 6 April 1988. If you started paying Class S PRSI on 6 April 1988, it is possible to have your earlier PRSI record disregarded (if it is to youradvantage) and the date of entry for pension purposes taken as 6 April1988, provided that all of the conditions for receipt of the pension aresatisfied on the basis of your record from that date.

Social insurance contributions paid before 1953 will be taken into account only if you need to show that you started paying social insurance before age 55 or that you have enough full rate contributions. You can only count your yearly average from 1953 onwards.

Special arrangements for homemakers may help people who work in the home to qualify for a State Pension (Contributory) (see Section 4.3 for details on the Homemaker's Scheme).

See information booklet, State Pension (Contributory) & State Pension (Transition)  SW 118 for full details.

Credited and voluntary contributions

You should try to keep your social insurance record up to date to maximise your possible pension. If you leave insurable employment you do not qualify for a social welfare payment, you may get social welfare credits or you may be able to pay voluntary contributions.

Reduced rate pensions

If you fail to qualify for a standard State Pension (Transition) you may still qualify for:

  • a pro-rata or proportional pension, if you have paid social insurance in a country covered by EC Regulations or paid social insurance or lived in a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement (see Section 3 for full details of these countries) or
  • a mixed insurance pro-rata pension, if you have a mixture of full rate ( PRSIClasses A, E, F, G, H and N) and modified rate ( PRSIClasses B, C and D) social insurance contributions.

See information booklet SW 118 for more details and examples.

How much can I get?

Your payment is made up of a personal rate for yourself and extra amounts for your qualified adult or qualified children, if any. See Section 1.2 for details.

The rates of State Pension (Transition) are shown in the Rates of Payment booklet SW 19.

Additional increases

With your State Pension (Transition), you may get the following additional weekly increases:

  • increase if you live mainly or entirely alone: for which you must apply at age 66 or over (see Section 10.8 for details)
  • increase if you are over 80 which you get automatically at age 80,
  • increase in your payment which you get automatically if you live on one of a number of off-shore islands (see Section 10.9 for details).
How do I get my payment?

State Pension (Transition) can be paid weekly by:

  • direct payment into your account in a financial institution or
  • using a Social Services card at a chosen post office.
Going abroad

You can get State Pension (Transition) abroad. If going abroad, please contact the Social Welfare Services Office before you leave ( at the address below ).

Extra benefits

If you are getting State Pension (Transition), you may get:

  • assistance under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme,
  • a medical card (from your regional office of the Health Service Executive),
  • the Household Benefits Package,
  • Fuel Allowance, from the end of September to mid April subject to certain conditions.

These are explained in Sections 10 and 11.

When and how do I apply?

You should apply 3 months before reaching age 65 or the date of retirement, if retiring between age 65 and 66. However, if you worked in a country covered by EC Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement, you should apply 6 months before reaching age 65 so that your application may be decided in time.

Application forms are available from your local Social Welfare Office, Post Office, Citizens Information Centre or use the SMS (Text) Messaging Service. Application forms may also be downloaded from our website at forms or from the address below.

Social Welfare Services Office
Department of Social and Family Affairs
College Road
Sligo

LoCall: 1890 50 00 00 - from the Republic of Ireland
or

Telephone: 353 71 9157100 - from Northern Ireland or overseas

For further details see information booklet SW 118 or contact Social Welfare Services Office at the address above.

Increase for a qualified adult

If you have a spouse or partner you may receive an increase for them subject to certain conditions. See Section 1.2 for details.

If you get an increase in your pension for a qualified adult, they may qualify for a pension in their own right:

  • State Pension (Transition), at age 65, or
  • State Pension (Contributory) or State Pension (Non-Contributory) at age 66.

This pension may be higher than the qualified adult increase you are getting. The qualified adult should apply for a pension in their own right at age 65 or 66 if they think they may qualify.

As the State Pension (Non-Contributory) is subject to a means test, we will consider any other income belonging to you or the qualified adult when deciding their entitlement to this payment.

Note
From 24th September 2007 the increase for qualified adult is payable directly to the spouse/partner concerned, (See note in
Section 1.2 for details).

4.2 State Pension (Contributory)

State Pension (Contributory) is a social insurance payment made to people age 66 or over who satisfy certain social insurance conditions. The pension (personal rate) is not means-tested or affected by other income you may have such as an occupational pension.

State Pension (Contributory) was previous known as Old Age Contributory Pension.

How do I qualify?

You will qualify for State Pension (Contributory) if you:

  • are aged 66 or over, and
  • satisfy the social insurance contribution conditions.

You can continue to work full-time or part-time and get a State Pension (Contributory).

Social insurance contribution conditions

To qualify for a State Pension (Contributory), the following must apply to you.

  • you started paying social insurance contributions before reaching age 56,
  • you have either:
    - 260 full rate employment contributions if you reach pension age by 5 April 2012, or
    - 520 full rate paid contributions, if you reach pension age on or after 6 April 2012,
  • up to the end of the tax year before you reach age 66, you have a yearly average of at least:
    - 10 full rate paid or credited contributions since you first started paying social insurance (to get the minimum amount of pension),
    or
    - 48 full rate paid or credited contributions since you started paying social insurance (to get the maximum amount of pension).
Pension update

If you reach pension age on or after 6 April 2012 you must have 520 full rate paid contributions, or if you have at least 260 full rate paid contributions, you can pay the balance of the 520 by making high rate voluntary contributions.

You can make up the yearly average from high rate and special rate voluntary contributions and full rate paid contributions, which are PRSI at classes A, E, F, G, H, N and S. While Classes F, G and N no longer exist, you can still use any contributions paid at these classes for pension purposes.

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 (the date PRSI was introduced for self employed people), your entitlement to State Pension (Contributory) may be based on your PRSI record from that date.

Social insurance contributions paid before 1953 will be taken into account only if you need to show that you started paying social insurance before reaching age 56 or that you have enough full-rate contributions. You can only count your yearly average from 1953 onwards.

Special arrangements for homemakers may help people who work in the home to qualify for a State Pension (Contributory) (see Section 4.3 for details on the Homemaker's Scheme).

See information booklet SW 118 for full details.

Credited contributions and voluntary contributions

You should try to keep your social insurance record up to date to maximise your possible pension. If you leave insurable employment and you do not qualify for a social welfare payment, you may get social welfare credits or you may be able to pay voluntary contributions.

Reduced rate pension

If you fail to qualify for a standard State Pension (Contributory), you may still qualify for:

  • a pro-rata or proportional pension if you have paid social insurance in a country covered by EC Regulations or paid social insurance or lived in a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement (see Section 3 for details of these countries), or
  • a mixed insurance pro-rata pension, if you have a mixture of full rate ( PRSIClasses A, E, F, G, H, N and S) and modified rate ( PRSIClasses B, C and D) social insurance contributions, or
  • a special half-rate pension for people with pre-1953 contributions.

See information booklet SW 118 for full details and examples.

How much can I get?

Your payment is made up of a personal rate for yourself and extra amounts for qualified adult or qualified children, if any, (see Section 1.2 for details).

The rates of State Pension (Contributory) are shown in the Rates of Payment booklet SW 19.

Additional increases

With your State Pension (Contributory), you may get the following additional weekly increases:

  • increase if you live alone for which you must apply at age 66 or over (see Section 10.8 for details),
  • increase which you get automatically at age 80,
  • increase which you get automatically if you live on certain islands off the coast of Ireland. See Section 10.9 for details.
How do I get my payment?

State Pension (Contributory) can be paid weekly by:

  • direct payment into your account in a financial institution or
  • using a Social Services card at a chosen post office
Going abroad

You can get State Pension (Contributory) abroad. If going abroad, please contact the Social Welfare Services Office ( at the address below) before you leave.

Extra benefits

If you are living in the State you are entitled to Free Travel. You may also qualify for:

  • the Household Benefits Package,
  • assistance under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme,
  • Fuel Allowance, from early-October to late April subject to certain conditions, (see Section 10.4 for details), and
  • a medical card (from your regional office of the Health Service Executive).

These are explained in Sections 10 and 11.

When and how do I apply?

You should apply 5 months before reaching age 66. However, if you worked in a country covered by EC Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement, you should apply 6 months before reaching age 66 so that your application may be decided in time. Application forms are available from your local Social Welfare Office, Post Office, Citizens Information Centre or use the SMS (Text) Messaging Service. Application forms may also be downloaded from our website at forms or from the address below:

Social Welfare Services Office
College Road
Sligo

LoCall: 1890 50 00 00 - from the Republic of Ireland
or

Telephone: 353 71 9157100 - from Northern Ireland or overseas

Increase for a qualified adult

If you have a spouse or partner you may receive an increase for them subject to certain conditions (see Section 1.2 for details).

If you are getting an increase in your pension for a qualified adult, they may qualify for a pension in their own right, that is:

  • State Pension (Transition) at age 65, or
  • State Pension (Contributory) or State Pension (Non-Contributory) at age 66.

This pension may be higher than the qualified adult increase you are getting. The qualified adult should apply for a pension in their own right at least 3 months before reaching age 65 or 66.

As the State Pension (Non-Contributory) is subject to a means test, we will consider any other income belonging to you or the qualified adult when deciding their entitlement.

For further details see information booklet SW 118 or contact Pension Services Office at the address above.

Note
From 24th September 2007 the increase for qualified adult is payable directly to the spouse/partner concerned, (See note in
Section 1.2 for details).

4.3 Homemaker's Scheme

One of the qualifying conditions for a State Pension (Contributory) requires the applicant to have had a certain minimum average number of reckonable PRSI contributions paid or credited since entry into social insurance.

People who leave the workforce for periods can have gaps in their insurance records which can affect their entitlement to a State pension at age 66. The Homemaker�s scheme, introduced in April 1994, means that periods spent providing full-time care to child(ren) up to 12 years of age, or incapacitated person(s) can be taken into account for pension purposes.

In order to benefit from the scheme, you must:

  • have worked previously and paid PRSI contributions which include cover for State Pension (Contributory)
  • not be engaged in remunerative employment
  • be permanently resident in the state
  • be under 66 years of age
  • live with the eligible child(ren), or
  • live with or in close proximity to the incapacitated person(s) who require full-time supervision or who require frequent assistance throughout the day.

It should be noted that:-

  • This scheme was introduced with effect from 6 April 1994 and only periods from that date onwards can be taken into account, up to a maximum of 20 years in total.
  • The purpose of the scheme is to help maintain your pension entitlements but you cannot qualify for a pension on the basis of homemaker periods alone. You must also satisfy all other statutory conditions which apply when you reach pension age.
Who should register?

If you are in receipt of Child Benefit, Carer�s Allowance, Carer�s Benefit or Respite Care Grant there is no need to register for the Homemakers scheme but you must mention these when claiming a State Pension (Contributory).

If you are not getting any of these allowances or benefits, you must
register with the Department before the end of the year following the year in which you first became a homemaker, for example if you became a homemaker in 2008, register before the end of 2009. Application forms are available from your local Social Welfare Office, Post Office, Citizens Information Centre or use the SMS (Text) Messaging Service. Application forms may also be downloaded from our website at forms.

See information booklet, Homemakers Scheme -   SW 1 for more information.

4.4 State Pension (Non-Contributory)

If you do not qualify for a State Pension (Contributory), you may be means-tested for a State Pension (Non-Contributory). If you satisfy the qualifying conditions for both pensions, you will get the higher of the two.

How do I qualify?

You will qualify if you:

  • are aged 66 or over,
  • are habitually resident in the State, (Please see Information Booklet) SW 108
  • have a valid Personal Public Service (PPS) number, and
  • satisfy a means test.

State Pension (Non-Contributory) is not normally paid to people who
reside outside the State. However, if you go to live in Northern Ireland and were in receipt of a State Pension (Non-Contributory) immediately before you moved, your pension can continue to be paid for up to five years or until you get a similar payment from the relevant authority there,if sooner.

Means test

To qualify for a payment you must satisfy a means test. This is a way of checking whether you have enough means to support yourself and what amount of payment, if any, you may qualify for. Your means are any income belonging to you or your spouse or partner. This include property (except your family home) or an asset that can provide you with an income. If you are married or cohabiting, the joint means of you and your spouse or partner are divided in two to give your individual means.

What counts as means?

Your means include:

  • cash income,
  • income from employment or self-employment,
  • the value of any savings, investments and property (except your own home),
  • the yearly value of any income you or your spouse or partner have from owning or leasing a farm of land.
What does not count as means?

Some of the main items which do not count as means include:

  • your own home,
  • the first �200 of weekly earnings from employment, but not self employment. A similar earnings disregard from employment, but not self employment of �200 a week will also apply to your spouse or partner.
  • the first �20,000 of savings (for a single person) or first �40,000 (for a couple),
  • any payment from the Department of Agriculture and Food under the Farm Early Retirement Scheme. (However, your Farm Early Retirement Scheme Pension may be reduced by the amount of your social welfare pension),
  • any payment from the Department of Social and Family Affairs,
  • rent income from a person who lives with you, if otherwise you would live alone,
  • proceeds of sale of your house up to �190,500 to move into more suitable accommodation ( see below).
How do you assess my savings and investments?

The actual income from investments and money in a savings account is not taken as your means. Instead we add together the investment items (listed below) and use a formula (see below) to work out your weekly means:

  • cash value of investments and property (except your own home),
  • money in a savings account, and
  • cash-in-hand or in a current account.

Capital

Weekly means assessed

First �20,000

�20,000 - �30,000

�30,000 - �40,000

Over �40,000

Nil

�1 per �1,000

�2 per �1,000

�4 per �1,000

If you are married or cohabiting with another person as husband and wife, we will apply this formula to half your joint savings and investments.

What happens if I save part of my pension each week?

If you qualify for a State Pension (Non-Contributory), the rate of payment you receive will be set at a level that should enable you to have an adequate standard of living. We would expect you to spend all or most of your pension each week in meeting your normal day-to-day living expenses. However, if you choose to save part of your pension, those savings will be means-tested in the same way as savings from any other source (e.g. from earnings, from an occupational pension or from an inheritance). Depending upon the amount of savings you accumulate from all sources, this could result in a reduction in (or withdrawal of) your pension.

Income from the sale of your home

If you sell your home, to move to more suitable accommodation, we may exclude from the means test up to �190,500 of the sale proceeds in certain cases. This only applies when you sell your home and either:

  • buy other accommodation,
  • rent other accommodation,
  • move into a private nursing home registered under the 1990 Health (Nursing Homes) Act,
  • move in with a person who is caring for you and receives a Carer's Payment, or
  • move to special or sheltered housing in the voluntary co-operative, statutory or private sector.
How much can I get?

Your payment is made up of a personal rate for yourself and if you are married or cohabiting an increase for your spouse or partner as long as they are under age 66 and not getting a social welfare payment in their own right. The amount of the qualified adult increase for a spouse or partner changes in line with your personal rate.

You may also get extra increases for any qualified children (see Section 1.2 for details).

The rates of State Pension (Non-Contributory) are shown in the Rates of Payment booklet SW 19.

Additional increases

With your State Pension (Non-Contributory), you may get the following additional weekly increases:

  • increase for living mainly or entirely alone for which you must apply at age 66 or over (see Section 10.8 for details),
  • increase which you get automatically at age 80,
  • increase which you get automatically if you live on certain islands off the coast of Ireland, (See Section 10.9 for details.
How do I get my payment?

State Pension (Contributory) can be paid weekly by:

  • direct payment into your account in a financial institution or
  • using a Social Services card at a chosen post office
How long does payment last?

You may continue to get State Pension (Non-Contributory), as long as you satisfy the qualifying conditions.

Extra benefits

If you are living in the State, you are entitled to Free Travel. You may also qualify for:

  • the Household Benefits Package,
  • assistance under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme,
  • Fuel Allowance, from early-October to late-April subject to certain conditions, see Sections 10.4 for details, and
  • a medical card (from your regional office of the Health Service Executive).

These are explained in Sections 10 and 11.

When and how do I apply?

You should apply at least 3 months before reaching age 66. If you apply after you reach age 66, you may only receive payment from the date we receive your application. You can get an application form from any post office, local Social Welfare Office or from:

Social Welfare Services Office
Department of Social and Family Affairs
College Road
Sligo

LoCall: 1890 50 00 00 - from the Republic of Ireland
or
Telephone: 353 71 9157100 - from Northern Ireland or overseas

See information booklet SW 116 for further details or contact State Pension (Non-Contributory) at the above address.

Increase for a Qualified Adult

If you have a spouse or partner you may receive an increase for them subject to certain conditions. See Section 1.2 for details.

If you qualify for a pension and are awarded an Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA) in respect of your spouse or partner, please note that they may be entitled to claim a State Pension (Non-Contributory) in their own right on reaching age 66. If so, your IQA will cease. However, it will be more financially beneficial to you as a couple if each of you get a pension in your own right.

Note
From 24th September 2007 the increase for qualified adult is payable directly to the spouse/partner concerned, (See note in
Section 1.2 for details).

4.5 Protecting Your Occupational Pension and PRSA Rights

The Pensions Board

The Pensions Board ( An Bord Pinsean) main functions by law are:

  • monitoring and supervising the operation of the Pensions Act and general pension developments including Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) products and their providers,
  • issuing guidelines and codes of practice on the duties of pension scheme trustees and of PRSA providers, and
  • advising the Minister for Social and Family Affairs on the Pensions Act and general pension matters.

Occupational pension schemes (also known as company pension schemes) and PRSAs must register with the Board and must pay an annual fee to meet the Board�s costs. In carrying out its functions, the Board can investigate the operation of pension schemes on behalf of concerned pension scheme members, prosecute for breaches of the Pensions Act and take court action against trustees to protect scheme members and their rights.

The Pensions Board
Verschoyle House
28-30 Lower Mount Street
Dublin 2

Telephone: (01) 613 1900
LoCall: 1890 65 65 65 (from within the Republic of Ireland only)
Email: info@pensionsboard.ie
Website: 'www.pensionsboard.ie'


Qualifying conditions for our schemes change from time to time.

Always check with your local Social Welfare Office to see if qualifiying conditions have changed or contact our Information Services at (071) 91 93313


Last modified:04/06/2009
 

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