What Retirees Should Know About State Entitlements

The key information sources are though leaflets which are available on-line from www.welfare.ie or at Social Protection Offices or Citizens Information Offices.

The second most important research that any employee should conduct is to seek out their Social Contributions Record to ascertain the precise details of contributions which they have been making throughout their working life.

Social Insurance Record

Your record begins when you first take up employment after 16 years of age. Your record ceases in December before your 66th or 67th (2021) or 68th (2028) birthday.

It is advisable to seek a copy of your contributions record well before retirement.  You can do so in one of three ways:

  • Phone call Call: lo-call 1890 690 690 or 01.7043000
  • Go on-line to welfare.ie and register by going to “On-line Services and Forms” and find “Request a copy of your Social Insurance Record” – you will then be asked to register with “MyGovID” after which you scroll to “My Statements”. Then fill and submit the form.
  • Write to Central Record Office, Dept. of Social Protection, McCarter Road, Buncrana, County Donegal and provide Your Name; Address; Phone Number; PPS Number; Mother’s Maiden name; (Married woman: maiden name).
  • When you have your record you can make your own calculations of your entitlements or you may take it to either your local Citizens Information Centre or your local Social Protection Office and ask for assistance in making the calculation for you.

In the case of those who attend our Retirement Planning Courses these matters are dealt with in a comprehensive manner.

Difference between Allowances and Benefits

Social Welfare Allowances are discretionary payments made by the Department on the basis of an examination of your financial situation by a Community Welfare Officer. They are means tested. In general, our Courses relate solely to Social Welfare Benefits rather than Social Welfare Allowances.

Social Welfare Benefits are NOT means tested, they are your entitlements and what you receive depends on what you have paid in and are your entitlements. What you have paid in is referred to as “Paid Contributions”. If you have been unemployed at stages throughout your life you may also be allowed to “Sign-on” for Credits which help build up your entitlements to Benefits. The main Benefit relevant to you in retirement is the State Pension Contributory (SPC) currently payable at 66. For those employed in the Civil or Public Service who fail to qualify for the SPC they may be entitled to a Mixed Pro-Rata Pension.

If you retire early you may also be entitled to Jobseekers Benefit (formerly Unemployment Benefit).

Classes of Social Insurance

You are eligible for benefit according to the Class of Social Insurance you are on and the PRSI contribution record you maintain. Since 1979 a system of Pay-Related Social Insurance (PRSI) has been implemented (formerly this was known as social welfare stamps).

Examples of some of the Classes of PRSI:

Class A: Private Sector and Public Sector for those who joined after 6th April 1995

Class B: Civil Servants/Gardai/Prison Officers

Class C Army Officers

Class H Enlisted Personnel in the Army

Class D: Public Sector (for those who joined before 6th April 1995)

Class S: Self Employed

Class M Where no PRSI is payable.

You do not pay PRSI on any Social Protection payment or your Occupational Pension or after age 66 or 67 (2021) or 68 (2028).

State Pension Contributory

The current pension age is:

  • 66 until December 2020
  • 67 from January 2021
  • 68 from January 2028.

At present this pension becomes payable at age 66 to Class A and Class S contributors. In order to qualify you must:

  • be in insurance before age 56
  • AND have 520 PAID contributions
  • The weekly amount you are entitled to will be calculated on your Record of Contribution’s and Credits.

Jobseekers Benefit

If you retire earlier than 66 or are made redundant and are a Class A contributor, you may qualify for Jobseekers Benefit provided that you fulfil the necessary conditions. This benefit is payable for 9 months. If you have less than 5 years of A contributions the benefit is payable for just 6 months

John Higgins

Author John Higgins

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