IFA has advised farmers and their spouses to make sure they are up to date on changes to the qualifying criteria and payment rates for the Contributory Pension announced in Budget 2012, and on their own level of PRSI contributions, before they reach retirement age.
IFA Farm Family Chairman Margaret Healy said, “Changes to the contributory pension were introduced in Budget 2012; the net effect of which is to increase the number of contributions a person is required to make to qualify for the contributory pension.”
She said, “It is critical that individuals find out what their number of contributions is and their average number of payments. By doing this in advance of retiring, they are then in a position to take steps to maximise their pension payments upon retirement.”
Ms Healy stressed, “Changes to the rates of payments will not apply to people who are currently in receipt of the contributory pension, but only to new recipients, where appropriate.”
IFA Farm Business Chairman, Tom Doyle said, “Concern has been expressed that self-employed farmers who have been paying PRSI since 1988 would have reduced pension payments as a result of the changes announced in the Budget. This is not the case where a farmer has made PRSI contributions in full since that date.”
He concluded, “Where a farmer does not pay compulsory PRSI, it is critical that, if at all possible, he/she makes a voluntary contribution of €253/year through the Department of Social Protection. By keeping up their contributions in this way, they will protect their level of pension payments after retirement.”