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LIVING IN IRELAND: An Integration Website for Migrants living in Ireland

Pensions

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There are different types of pensions that you may be entitled to on retirement from employment in Ireland. Depending on how many social insurance contributions you made or depending on your financial situation you may be entitled to a pension from the state. Many employers operate pension schemes for their employees, these are called Occupational Pensions. You can also organise your own personal pension account.

State Pensions

There are 3 different types of state pension: two are based on the amount of social insurance contributions you have paid, State Pension – (Transition) and State Pension – (Contributory) and one is based on a means test, State Pension – (Non-Contributory).

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State Pension (Transition)

What is State Pension (Transition)?

The State Pension (Transition) is payable to people in Ireland aged 65 who have retired from work and who have enough social insurance contributions. It is not means tested. In general, you must have been an employee and paying full-rate social insurance contributions.

If you are self-employed you may also qualify if you have enough contributions.

NOTE: The State Pension (Transition) will no longer be paid from 1st January 2014.

How do I qualify?

You must:

  • Be aged between 65 and 66 years of age
  • Satisfy certain social insurance contributions (search for ‘State Pension – Transition’ on www.welfare.ie for more information)
  • Be retired from full-time employment (you may earn up to €38 a week from employment or €5,000 a year from self-employment)

Note: This condition ends when you turn 66 years of age and transfer to the State Pension (Contributory).

What if I paid my social insurance contributions abroad?

If you worked in a country covered by EC Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security agreement you may qualify for a pro-rata pension. This pension combines your Irish social insurance record and your social insurance record in the other country. You can contact the Department of Social Protection to find out how much you are entitled to.

When should I apply?

You should apply 3 months before reaching the age of 65 (or 6 months if you have paid contributions abroad). You may also qualify for Supplementary Welfare Allowance while your claim is being processed.

How do I apply?

You must complete Form SPT/SPC1. This is available from your local social welfare office. You should send it to:

Department of Social Protection
Social Welfare Services
College Road
Sligo
Telephone: 071 9157100

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State Pension (Contributory)

What is the State Pension (Contributory)?

The Contributory State Pension is payable to people in Ireland from the age of 66 who have enough social insurance contributions. It is not means tested and you may also have income. You may have to pay some tax on this pension.

How do I qualify?

You will qualify for Contributory State Pension if:

  • You are aged 66 or over
  • You satisfy certain social insurance contributions (search for ‘State Pension – Contributory’ on www.welfare.ie for more information)

What is the Homemaker’s Scheme?

Homemaker’s Scheme allows a homemaker to qualify for the State Pension (Contributory). It makes it easier for a homemaker to qualify for the State Pension (Contributory).

Who is a homemaker?

A homemaker is a man or woman who gives up working outside the home on or after 6th April 1994 to care for a child under the age of 12 or a person with a disability.

How do I qualify for this?

You must:

  • Be permanently living in the State
  • Be aged under 66 years of age (the qualifying age will rise to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028)
  • Have started insurable employment or self-employment on or after the age of 16 and before the age of 56
  • Not work full-time (you can earn up to €38 per week)

For more information search for ‘Homemaker’s Scheme’ on www.welfare.ie.

What if I paid my social insurance contributions abroad?

If you worked in a country covered by EC Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security agreement you may qualify for a pro-rata pension. This pension combines your Irish social insurance record and your social insurance record in the other country. You collect your pro-rata pension in the country you are resident in.

How do I check if I have enough social insurance contributions?

You should check your social insurance record with the PRSI Records Section in the Department of Social Protection. In order to check your social insurance record you will need your PPS number.

When should I apply?

You should apply 3 months before reaching the age of 66 (or 6 months if you have paid contributions abroad). You do not have to be retired from work to make your application.

How do I apply?

You must complete Form SPT/SPC1. This is available from your local Social Welfare Office, the Department of Social Protection and www.welfare.ie

Where can I get more information?

If you would like more information you should contact your local Social Welfare Office or the Department of Social Protection.

The Pension Services Office also has a Pensions Forecast unit which gives advice to people over 60 on the pension contributions they may need to make to ensure they get a State Contributory Pension.

What if I do not qualify for a Contributory State Pension?

If you do not qualify for a Contributory Pension, you can apply for a non-Contributory Pension.

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State Pension (Non-contributory)

What is the State Pension (Non-Contributory)?

The Non-Contributory State Pension is a means-tested payment for people aged 66 or over who do not qualify for Transition State Pension or Contributory State Pension based on their social insurance record.

How do I qualify?

To qualify you must:

  • Satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition
  • Be age 66 or over (the qualifying age will rise to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028)
  • Live in the State
  • Have a valid Personal Public Service number (PPS number)
  • Satisfy a means test

When should I apply?

You should apply at least 3 months before reaching the age of 66.

How do I apply?

You must complete Form SPNC1 and return it to:

State Pension (Non-Contributory) Section
Pensions Services Office
College Road
Sligo
LoCall: 1890 500 000

What do I need to provide?

You must send the following original documents (no photocopies):

  • Your birth certificate (if you were born outside the Republic of Ireland)
  • Your spouse or partner’s birth certificate (if they were born outside the Republic of Ireland)
  • Your marriage certificate (if you were married outside the Republic of Ireland)
  • Your dependent child(ren)’s birth certificate(s) (if they were born outside the Republic of Ireland). If you are getting Child Benefit you do not need to send their birth certificate(s).

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Occupational Pension Schemes

In general, large employers in Ireland have occupational pension schemes, but many smaller employers throughout the country do not. You should ask your employer directly about this.

Each pension scheme has its own set of rules. Pension schemes nationally are generally regulated by the Pensions Board.

Special schemes called PRSAs were introduced to be used instead of occupational pension schemes by employers who do not wish to sponsor such schemes.

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PRSA (Personal Retirement Savings Account)

What is a PRSA?

A PRSA (Personal Retirement Savings Account) is a low-cost, easy-access private pension savings account. It is designed to allow you save for retirement. You are entitled to invest in a PRSA regardless of your employment status. PRSAs are transferable from job to job and they are available from a variety of providers.

Who provides PRSAs?

PRSAs are provided by private banks or life assurance companies.

Where can I get more information?

If you would like further information, you should contact:

The Pensions Board
Verschoyle House, 28-30 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2.
Telephone: 01 6131900
Lo-call: 1890 656 565
Website: www.pensionsboard.ie

There is also a Pensions Calculator which allows you to calculate how to estimate the amount of money you would need to contribute to your pension to end up with the level of pension you expect in retirement.

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Pension levy

The pension levy which was introduced in March 2009 only applies to people working in the public sector and who are members of a public service pension scheme, for example civil servants, local authority workers and employees of the HSE. The rates are as follows:

  • 3% on a gross salary of €15,000
  • 5% on €25,000
  • 6.4% on €35,000
  • 7.2% on €45,000
  • 7.7% on €55,000
  • 8.1% on €65,000
  • 8.5% on €85,000
  • 8.8% on €100,000
  • 9.2% on €150,000
  • 9.4% on €200,000
  • 9.6% on €300,000

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Supported by

This project is co-financed by the European Commission under the European Integration Fund and is supported by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration in the Dept of Justice & Equality & Pobal.