PensionsThere are 3 different types of pensions you may be entitled to. There are two pensions that are based on the amount of social insurance contributions you’ve paid, Retirement Pension and Old Age Contributory Pension. If you do not have enough contributions you may apply for the means tested Old Age Non-Contributory Pension.
What types of social insurance contributions are there? Social insurance contributions fall into the four groups.
What is Retirement Pension? Retirement Pension is payable to people in Ireland aged 65 who have retired from work and who have enough social insurance contributions. It is not means tested. In general, you must have been an employee and paying full-rate social insurance contributions. If you are self-employed you may also qualify. You should contact the Department of Social and Family Affairs for further information.
How do I qualify? You must:
At age 66, you may transfer to the Old Age Contributory Pension (please read Factsheet 3-B)if that would be to your advantage. Whether you transfer or not, the retirement condition endsat 66. What this means is you cannot be employed or self-employed while receiving a
Retirement Pension before the age of 66, but, after that, you may earn an income from anysource.
back to top
How many social insurance contributions do I need? You must have:
What if I paid my social insurance contributions abroad? If you worked in a country covered by EC Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement you may qualify for a pro-rata pension. This pension combines your Irish social insurance record and your social insurance record in the other country. You should contact the Department of Social and Family Affairs to find out how much you are entitled to.
What countries are covered by EC regulations? Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, The Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, The UK
What countries are covered by the Bi-Lateral Social Security Agreement? The countries are: Australia, Canada, Quebec, New Zealand, and The US. The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are expected to sign an agreement in 2005.
How much am I entitled to? You must contact your nearest social welfare office or the Department of Social and Family Affairs.
Am I entitled to any other payments? You may qualify for the following payments if you are aged 66 or over:
When should I apply? You should apply 4 months before reaching the age of 65. If you worked in a country covered by EC Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement you should apply 6 months before reaching pension age so that the other country or countries can decide on your application in time.
How do I apply? You must complete Form RP/CP1. This is available from your local social welfare office or from the Department of Social and Family Affairs. You must send the RP/CP1 Form to the address clearly marked on the form.
What is Old Age Contributory Pension? The Old Age Contributory Pension is payable to people in Ireland from the age of 66 who have enough social insurance contributions. It is not means tested and you may have income from any other source while receiving it. It is taxable.
How do I qualify? You will qualify for Old Age Contributory Pension if:
How many social insurance contributions do I need? You must have:
If you reach pension age on or after 6 April 2012
How do I qualify for a pro-rata pension? To qualify, you must have at least:
What countries are covered by EC regulations? Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, The Republic of Cyprus (Cyprus South), Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland The Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, The UK
Can I transfer my Old Age Contributory Pension from another country to Ireland? Yes. You can transfer your Old Age Contributory Pension.
How much am I entitled to? You must contact your local social welfare office to clarify exactly how much you may be entitled to. To find out the maximum amount you may be entitled to if you meet all the qualifying conditions, please read Factsheet 3-F
Am I entitled to any other payments? You may also qualify for the following payments when aged 66 or over
How do I check if I have enough social insurance contributions? You should check your social insurance record with the PRSI Records Section in the Department of Social and Family Affairs. In order to check your social insurance record you will need your PPS number (formerly known as RSI number). If you cannot remember your PRSI number you should contact your nearest Social Welfare office or the Department of Social and Family Affairs.
When should I apply? You should apply 3 months before reaching 66. You do not have to be retired from work to make your application. If you worked in a country covered by EC Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement you should apply 6 months before reaching pension age so that the other country or countries can decide on your application in time.
Where can I get more information?If you would like more information you should contact your local social welfare office or the Department of Social and Family Affairs. The Pension Services Office also has a Pensions Forecast unit which gives advice to people over 55 on the pension contributions they may need to make to ensure they get an Old Age Contributory Pension.
What if I do not qualify to an Old Age Contributory Pension? If you do not qualify for an Old Age Contributory Pension, you can apply for an Old Age Non-Contributory Pension (Please read Factsheet 3-D for more information).
Before May 2000 only full contributions paid after 1953 were counted when the Pensions Office was calculating a person’s yearly average contributions to see what Contributory Pension they should receive. Any contributions they had made before 1953 were not considered. ‘Pre 53’ contributions mean contributions made before January 1953 in the case of a man and before July 1953 in the case of a woman. This changed in May 2003 when a special Pre-53 Pension was introduced.
How did this change? In May 2000 a special ‘partial’ Old Age Contributory Pension was introduced to give recognition to full contributions paid prior to 1953. The Pre-53 Pension recognises contributions made before 1953. The pension is paid to persons aged over 66 years who have full rate contributions paid before 1953 and who have at least 5 years (or 260) full rate contributions paid. Every two full rate contributions paid before 1953 are counted as three contributions for the purpose of qualifying for this pension. Credited contributions are not reckonable for this pension. They must be paid contributions.
How much am I entitled to? The Pre-53 Pension is paid at a fixed rate, i.e. 50% of the maximum rate of the standard Old Age Contributory Pension. If you qualify for a Pre-53 Pension, regardless of whether you have 260 or 500 full rate contributions paid, you will receive 50% of the maximum rate of the Standard Old Age Contributory Pension. Qualified adults (i.e. an adult dependant) are also paid 50% of the maximum rate.
How are the Pre-53 contributions calculated? If you have paid contributions (including at least one pre-53 contribution) that amount to or exceed 260 you satisfy the condition that requires that at least 5 years (or 260) full rate contributions paid.
A person with 173 Pre-53 full contributions
What happens if I don’t have the full 260 contributions? If, even having been given 3 for 2, your contributions do not add up to the 260 then you do not qualify for a pre-53 pension. Someone with 259 will not qualify because there is no room for discretion.
So are my Pre-53 contributions worthless?No, they are not worthless. If you do not qualify for this pension based on your Irish Social Insurance contributions you may qualify for a smaller EU Pro-rata Pre-53 pension based on a combination of Irish contributions and contributions paid in another EU country or a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement. A minimum of 260 contributions are needed for this pension. You would also need a minimum of 52 full rate Irish contributions. Every two full rate Irish contributions paid before 1953 are counted as 3 contributions. The remainder can be made up of reckonable foreign contributions. There are different rates of payment depending on the combination of Irish and foreign contributions.
I worked and paid contributions in Ireland for more than five years yet the Pensions Office tell me I do not have enough contributions. How can this be? If you paid modified or reduced rate contributions they will not be counted for this pension. The reason for this was that there was already adequate occupational cover provided by the employer for those who paid reduced rate contributions.
What types of employment were not insurable?If you were in any of the following areas, they were generally considered uninsurable:
The earnings limit were:
In some cases, you may believe that you paid social insurance in good faith but these contributions were not registered. However, if you can provide documentary evidence that you were in insurable employment, such as an old stamped insurance card/number, corroboration from witnesses or work references, the Pension Services office would review your entitlement. In some circumstances, they would request that a Social Welfare Inspector investigate the case with a view to establishing whether replacement contributions are due for the period in question.
Can I appeal a decision not to grant me a Pre-53 Pension? You can appeal the decision and if you are still not satisfied you can go before a tribunal.
What is Old Age Non-Contributory Pension? Old Age Non-Contributory Pension is a means-tested payment for people aged 66 or over who do not qualify for Retirement Pension or Old Age Contributory Pension based on their social insurance record.
How do I qualify? To qualify you must:
What is the means test? A means test is a way of checking if you (and/or your spouse) have enough income to support yourself and what amount of payment, if any, you may qualify for. The following are the main items taken into account for the means test:
Can I transfer my Old Age Non-Contributory Pension? No. It is not possible to transfer Old Age Non-Contributory Pension.
What happens if I sell my house?If you are living in accommodation that no longer suits you or that is too difficult for you to maintain, you may sell your house and move to more suitable accommodation. In certain cases, the Department of Social and Family Affairs may ignore the proceeds of the sale of your house, up to a limit of €190,500 when they assess your means.
How much am I entitled to? To find out how much you are entitled to, you should contact the Department of Social and Family Affairs or your nearest Social Welfare Office. To find out the maximum amount you may be entitled to if you meet all the qualifying conditions, please read Factsheet 3-F.
Am I entitled to any other payments? If you are 66 or over and living in the State, you are entitled to
When should I apply? You should apply at least 3 months before reaching the age of 66.
How do I apply? You must complete Form OAP1 and return it to the address clearly marked on the form. The forms are available from your local post office, social welfare office or the Department of Social and Family Affairs.
What do I need to provide? You must send the following original documents (no photocopies):
What is PRSA? PRSA (Personal Retirement Savings Account) are generally low-cost, easy-access private pension savings accounts. They are designed to allow you save for retirement. You are entitled to invest in a PRSA regardless of your employment status. PRSAs are transferable from job to job and they available from a variety of providers.
What types of PRSAs are available? There are two types of PRSA: a Standard PRSA and a non-Standard PRSA.
What is the difference between a Standard PRSA and a non-Standard PRSA?The main differences between both types are the charges and investment options. If you have a Standard PRSA:
If you have a non-Standard PRSA: There is no limit on charges and you can invest in a range of funds including (but not restricted to) pooled funds.
What are pooled funds?Pooled funds are a collective investment scheme where your money is pooled to buy assets including Government bonds, deposits, property, and stocks.
If you wish to contact any of the above, their contact details are available in the Golden Pages Telephone Directory or by contacting The Pensions Board.
Where can I get more information? If you would like further information, you should contact: The Pensions Board, Verschoyle House, 28 – 30 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: + 353 1 613 1900 Fax: + 353 1 631 8602 Locall: 1890 65 65 65 (from Ireland only) Web: http://www.pensionsboard.ie/
You should request a copy of their information booklet: Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSAs) – A Consumer Guide.
Private Health CareYou can avail of private health care if you can pay for it or you are covered by a health insurance scheme. Some employers offer health insurance as part of an employment package. The standard rate income tax on private health insurance is deducted at source which means you do not have to claim your tax relief at the end of the year. It is usual practice that no immediate benefit is available for medical conditions existing before taking out a private health insurance policy. The restriction shall be removed upon the following periods of continuous membership: 5 years for members under 55; 7 years for members aged 55-59; 10 years for members aged 60+.
I am returning to Ireland and I want to buy private health insurance If you do not have pre-existing health conditions before you join a health insurance provider you will have immediate cover for any accidents or injuries. However, there is a waiting period of 26 weeks if you are less than 55 years of age or 52 weeks if you are aged 55+ before the insurance provider will cover any new health conditions. Applications to join from people aged over 65 will not be accepted unless they are transferring from certain other insurance companies. You will need to check which companies are acceptable by asking your health insurance provider. `
The three main private health insurers are:
VHI Healthcare can be contacted at: IDA Business Park, Dublin Road, Co. Kilkenny
VHI Healthcare can be contacted at: IDA Business Park, Dublin Road, Co. Kilkenny
Tel: + 353 56 7753200 Customer service: 1850 444 444 Email: email@example.comWeb: www.vhihealthcare.ie
Quinn Healthcare can be contacted at:Mill Island, Fermoy, Co. Cork
Tel: + 353 25 42121 Customer Service: 1890 700 890 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.bupaireland.ie
VIVAS Health can be contacted at:Vivas Health, Paramount Court, Corrig Road, Sandyford, Dublin 18
Tel: + 353 1 4817800 Customer Service: 1850 717 717 Email: email@example.com Web: www.vivashealth.ie
Medical CardAm I entitled to a medical card? You will be entitled to a medical card if you satisfy one of the following conditions:
What does the medical card cover? The medical card covers:
Does the medical card cover my family? A medical card normally covers you, the cardholder, your spouse and any children under 16 or children who are full-time students aged 16-25 and financially dependent on you. Where a husband and wife have separate incomes, their application for a medical card is assessed on the basis of their combined income. If you are aged 70 or over you will get a medical card regardless of your income. If your spouse is under 70, he or she will be means tested.
Can I use my Irish medical card if I am abroad on holidays? No. The medical card is not recognised outside Ireland. If you are going to another EU or EEA member state for a temporary stay you are entitled to emergency medical services only. You must obtain the appropriate documentation from the Health Services Executive if you intend going abroad.
What if I am not eligible for a medical card? If you do not qualify for a medical card you may be entitled to a reduced rate of medical care under the following schemes. page 4 of 8 Emigrant Advice - Returning to Ireland
Doctor Visit Cards The new 'doctor visit cards' are for people whose income is 50% above the latest eligibility guidelines - this card will entitle holders to free access to GP services, however, they will have to pay for prescription drugs up to €85 and for hospital services. Please read Doctor Visit Cards Income Guidelines on Page 8.
How do I qualify? You are eligible for a GP Visit Card if you pass a means test. You qualify in much the same way as qualifying for a Medical Card except that the income guidelines are 50% higher. These guidelines include allowances for those paying rent or a mortgage and/ or incur work related travel costs. You will qualify for a GP Visit Card if:
How do I apply? You can use the same application form for a GP Visit card and a Medical Card and the Health Service Executive will always check your entitlement for a full Medical Card. You can get an application form for a GP Visit Card from the website www.hse.ie or at your local health Centre. Fill in each section that applies to you and return the completed form to your local health Centre. You will need to have your own PPS number (Personal Public Service Number) and PPS numbers for your dependants when applying for a card. You must insert the numbers on the application form.
What if I am refused a GP Visit Card? You will receive a letter stating the reason(s) why you have been refused. If you are not satisfied with the decision, you may initially request your local health Centre to review your case. When seeking the review you should draw attention to any change in circumstances since you made your original application and include any relevant issues, which you may previously have overlooked. Alternatively you may appeal to the Appeals Office. The contact details will be contained in your letter of refusal. A card holder will also be entitled to the Drugs Payment Scheme Card which ensures that no individual or family need spend more than €85.00 per calendar month on approved prescribed drugs and medicines.
Drug Payment Scheme The Drug Payment Scheme allows individuals and families who do not hold medical cards to limit the amount they have to spend on prescribed drugs. Under the Drug payment Scheme, you will not pay more than €85 in any calendar month for approved prescribed drugs, medicines and appliances. If you are ordinarily resident in Ireland, you are eligible to apply for the Drugs Payment Scheme. You can NOT hold a current medical card. You can use the drug payment scheme in conjunction with a Long Term Illness Book. Application forms are available from your local pharmacy or contact your local health board for further information.
Long-Term Illness SchemeThe Long-Term Illness Scheme allows people with certain conditions, who are not already medical cardholders, to obtain the medicines and medical and surgical appliances they require for the treatment of their condition, without charge. You do not have to satisfy a means test. The conditions included in the scheme are:
Maternity and Infant Services The Health Services Executive provides free maternity services for Irish citizens for the period of pregnancy and for 6 weeks after the birth. The service is provided by your G.P. You must be an Irish citizen and be ordinarily resident in Ireland to avail of this service.
Where can I get further information? If you would like further information, you should contact:The Department of Health and Children, Hawkins House, Hawkins St, Dublin 2.Tel: + 353 1 635 4000LoCall: 1890 200 311 (from within Ireland only)Web: www.dohc.ie
The above information has been kindly provided by http://www.emigrantadvice.ie