IFA Farm Business Chairman, Tom Doyle has said that the recent extension of PRSI eligibility to partners of self-employed, such as farmers, who assist in the business, is a positive move. This group can now make PRSI contributions in their own rights.
Mr Doyle said, “IFA has always argued that that access to the Social Insurance contributory system should be open to all. Where possible, individuals should be entitled to make PRSI contributions which would qualify them for their own individual future benefits, such as the Contributory Pension. Over many years, IFA fought to ensure that spouses of self-employed would be eligible to qualify for and make contributions to the PRSI system.
He continued, “Prior to this, spouses of self-employed farmers who assisted in the farm work, but who were not operating a partnership structure, did not qualify to make PRSI contributions. From 2014 on, this group will be entitled to make PRSI contributions, provided their income from all sources exceeds the minimum insurability threshold of €5,000.
“This will be of benefit for individuals who between now and their turning 66, can make sufficient contributions to bring them up to a minimum of 10 years of contributions, thereby qualifying for a contributory pension. It is critical that the rules for participation are straightforward and accessible for those to whom this extension applies.
“However, the continued exclusion of spouses of self-employed farmers who are employed in the PAYE system on the farm is unfairly excluding a category of individuals from the Social Insurance system and IFA will continue to pursue this issue”.
IFA Farm Family Chairman, Maura Canning, said, “ As a future investment, it is critically important for farm families that they keep up to date with their PRSI contributions, including voluntary contributions where the farm income in any year falls below the minimum PRSI threshold. IFA will be producing an information leaflet on the PRSI system and how it applies to farm families in the coming weeks, to ensure that individuals are aware of how to safeguard their future income”.