Explainer: Ireland’s two State pension schemes
There are currently two State pension schemes: a contributory scheme and a non-contributory scheme
The contributory State pension is a weekly payment made to people aged 66 or older who have made the required PRSI contributions during their working lives. To qualify for the maximum payment, the recipient must have made at least 520 PRSI contributions (10 years) and have at least an average of 48 contributions made per year.
The payment is not means-tested as it is based solely on contributions.
The maximum weekly rate is €230.30 and recipients can also claim for an adult dependant (€206.30) ie a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant, or a child dependant (€29.80).
The State pension (non-contributory) is a means-tested weekly payment to people aged 66 or older who do not have the required PRSI contributions to claim a contributory State pension, but whose means are considered low enough to qualify for State pension assistance.
To qualify, the recipient must:
(i) not qualify for a contributory State pension payment
(ii) pass a means test and
(iii) meet the habitual residence condition.
In assessing means for the non-contributory State pension, the first €20,000 of capital and €200 in weekly earning is exempted from the means test.
The maximum weekly rate is €219, and recipients can also claim for an adult dependant (€144.70) and a child dependant (€29.80).
Once the adult dependent reaches 66 years of age they no longer become entitled to the increase for qualified adult payment. However they can apply for a State pension (non-contributory) in their own right.