Know Your Rights: Qualifying For The State Pension (Contributory)

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Know Your Rights has been compiled by Kerry Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public…

Question: I will be retiring soon. I spent many years working and I have also spent time raising and caring for my family. Can I qualify for the State Pension (Contributory)?

Answer: The State Pension (Contributory) (SPC) is paid from the age of 66 to people who have worked and have enough social insurance contributions.

Recent changes introduced a new method to calculate the rate of SPC paid to a person who reaches pension age on or after 1 September 2012.

The new method can help people who have spent time out of the workforce caring to qualify for an SPC.

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Firstly, you must be aged 66 or over and have enough Class A, E, F,G, H, N or S social insurance contributions, you must have started to pay social insurance in Ireland before the age of 56 and you must have 520 full-rate contributions (10 years of contributions).

Then, provided you reached pension age on or after 1 September 2012, you can have your contributions assessed using the new  Total Contributions Approach (TCA) and can avail of a new HomeCaring Periods Scheme.

The TCA counts the total number of contributions you have paid. If you have 2,080 or more contributions (40 years of employment) you will qualify for the maximum personal rate of SPC. If you have fewer than 2,080 contributions, you can use up to 1,040 Home Caring Periods (20 years) and up to 520 credited contributions (10 years), to help you qualify for an SPC. Your combined Home Caring Periods and credited contributions cannot be more than 1,040 (20 years).

If you reached pension age on or after 1 September 2012, your entitlement to a pension will be calculated using both the current yearly averaging system and the new TCA calculation.

If you are entitled to a SPC, the rate of pension you get will be based on whichever calculation is best for you. You can get a State Pension (Contributory) form from your local post office and your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

• Contact us in Tralee on Tel: 0761 07 7860 Killarney 0761 07 7820, Listowel 0761 07 7840 Kenmare 0761 07 7810, & Caherciveen 0761 07 7780. Outreach Services; Killorglin weekly, Dingle monthly, please call Tralee for more information.

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000

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