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Ireland - Old Age Pensions

How old do I have to be to claim?

You should apply for the State Pension, either contributory or non-contributory, at least 3 months before reaching pensionable age (66 years).

If you do not qualify for a State Pension (contributory) based on your Irish social insurance record alone, contributions paid abroad may help you qualify for a reduced rate pension. If you think this is the case for you, applications should be submitted 6 months before you reach pensionable age. Time is needed to contact other countries for information on the contributions you have made there.

There are two main types of state pension:

  • the State Pension (contributory), which is based on your social insurance (PRSI) record. You can continue to work full-time after age 66 and collect your State Pension (contributory);
  • the State pension non-contributory, which is a means-tested payment for people aged 66 and over, who do not qualify for a State pension (contributory), or who only qualify for a reduced rate contributory pension based on their social insurance record. You must have a legal right of residence and be habitually resident in Ireland to qualify.
  • You can apply for both State Pension (contributory) and State Pension (non-contributory). If you are not eligible for the maximum contributory rate, you will be awarded the most beneficial pension.

You cannot claim both pensions at the same time.

The Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011 made a number of changes to the qualifying age for State Pensions. The qualifying age will rise to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028. So:

  • If you were born on or after 1 January 1955 the minimum qualifying State Pension age will be 67.
  • If you were born on or after 1 January 1961 the minimum qualifying State Pension age will be 68.

How long do I need to have worked to claim a pension?

Qualification for the State Pension (contributory) is based on your social insurance (PRSI) record. With some exceptions, employees, self-employed people and apprentices over 16 are insured through the payment of contributions.

The rate of social insurance you pay is determined by your income and type of employment. If you are self-employed, only full-rate contributions can be counted. More information on the rates of social insurance can be found here.

To be eligible for a state pension (contributory) at age 66, an applicant must:

  • have entered insurable employment before attaining the age of 56 years.
  • have at least 520 paid contribution weeks since entry into insurance, from employment or self-employment.
  • (for a maximum rate pension) have a yearly average of  48 paid and/or credited contributions from 1979, or from their date of entry into insurable employment, to the end of the last complete tax year preceding their 66th birthday, or
  • (for a reduced rate pension) have a yearly average of at least 10 paid and/or credited contributions recorded from 1953, or from the applicant’s date of entry into insurable employment (whichever is the later), to the end of the tax year preceding their 66th birthday.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

State Pension (contributory)

State Pension (contributory) rates for people who qualify for pensions from 1 September 2012

Payment Rates - State Pension Contributory  (Aged 66 post Sept 2012)

Yearly Average

Contributions

Weekly Personal Rate - €

Increase for Qualified Adult Aged under 66 - €

Increase for Qualified Adult Aged 66 or over - €

48 or over

243.30

162.10

218.00

40-47

238.50

154.20

207.10

30-39

218.70

146.80

196.50

20-29

207.10

137.30

184.90

15-19

158.50

105.60

141.60

10-14

97.20

64.40

87.70

Payment Rates - State Pension Contributory  (Aged 66 pre Sept 2012)

Yearly Average

Contributions

Weekly Personal Rate - €

Increase for Qualified Adult

Aged under 66 - €

Increase for Qualified Adult Aged 66 or over - €

48 or over

243.30

162.10

218.00

20-47

238.50

162.10

218.00

15-19

182.50

121.60

163.50

10-14

121.70

81.10

109.00

Weekly Increase for those aged 80 and over €10.00.

Weekly increase for those living alone €9.00.

These are the maximum rates which can be paid. Note that the payment of qualified adult and child increases depends on the income your spouse or partner may have.

If your entitlement is based on a combination of Irish social insurance and contributions made in other countries then you will receive a percentage of the appropriate rate based on the number of Irish contributions you have made.

A sample calculation sets out how you can work out what you may be entitled to if you have lived in other EU countries.

If you have paid social insurance contributions in two or more EU Member States, you should apply for a pension from the Member State where you now live or where you paid your last contribution. The authorities will then calculate with the other Member States exactly what may be due to you from each of them.

If you are receiving an Occupational Pension from an employer or provider from another country, this will be taxable in Ireland and you should let the Revenue services know.

Please consult: Your pension and tax to find out what you need to know.

State Pension (non-contributory)
If you do not qualify for a contributory pension, you may be eligible for a non-contributory pension. This is a means-tested payment which takes into account the amount of weekly income you receive, any capital or assets you own or co-own such as savings and investments and the value of any property (apart from your main residence) that you own or co-own. The maximum rate paid for a single person is €232 per week. Additionally, an increase for a qualified adult aged under 66 may be payable at a rate of €153.30 per week.

To be eligible for a State pension non-contributory, you must:

  • be aged 66 years or over
  • have a legal right of residence in Ireland
  • be habitually resident in Ireland
  • have a valid Personal Public Service Number
  • satisfy a means test
  • if awarded the pension, continue to satisfy the Habitual

             Residence Condition and the applicable means test.

Jargon busters

  • The method for calculating the yearly average can be found here.
  • PRSI stands for Pay Related Social Insurance - the money your employer deducts directly from your wages.
  • A qualified adult is your adult dependant for whom you may get an extra amount. This is paid as an increase to your personal payment (called an Increase for a Qualified Adult or IQA).
  • Credited contributions (‘credits’) can be applied for in certain cases, generally for periods of unemployment and illness. These credits may help to qualify for a higher rate of pension, subject to you having paid the minimum contributions necessary.

Forms you may need to fill in

Know your rights

The links below set out your rights in law, they are not European Commission sites and do not represent the view of the Commission:

Commission websites:

Who do you need to contact?

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
State Pension Contributory/ State Pension Non Contributory
Social Welfare Services
College Road
Sligo
Ireland
Tel:(071) 915 7100
LoCall:1890 500 000
Homepage: http://www.welfare.ie/