Will You Qualify for the Contributory State Pension?

Find out what you need to qualify for the contributory state pension, and how to maintain eligibility.

Some farmers find they do not have sufficient PRSI contributions to qualify for the contributory state pension or other benefits. Often this is down to gaps in PRSI payment either when farm incomes fell below the threshold for compulsory PRSI payment.

It’s important to know that if your income falls below the threshold, you may still be able to make voluntary PRSI contributions in order to maintain or improve your pension entitlements.

What PRSI contributions do I need to qualify for the contributory pension?

To qualify for a contributory pension upon reaching pension age, you must:

  • have made at least 520 full PRSI contributions
  • have started paying contributions before reaching age 56
  • have a yearly average of at least at least 10 full-rate contributions before you reach pension age to get the minimum payment rate of contributory pension or 48 full-rate contributions to get the maximum payment rate.

You can request a record of your PRSI contributions from the Department of Social Protection – more details of how to do this are available here.

What can I do to maintain or improve my PRSI contributions?

You may be able to make voluntary contributions to maintain or improve your PRSI entitlements.

You can only make voluntary contributions if

  • You have at least 520 weeks PRSI paid under compulsory insurance.
  • You apply to make your voluntary contribution within 12 months of the end of the year during which you last paid compulsory insurance.

A full guide to the Contributory State Pension, including information on maintaining voluntary contributions is available here  

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