Will Nepalese charity work cost the chance of State pension?

Q&A: Dominic Coyle answers your personal finance questions

The minimum your daughter would need for a State pension is 10 years of social insurance/PRSI payments. That would give her a pension equivalent to 25 per cent of the prevailing full pension

The minimum your daughter would need for a State pension is 10 years of social insurance/PRSI payments. That would give her a pension equivalent to 25 per cent of the prevailing full pension

 

My daughter is working for a Buddhist charity in Nepal for the past five years. She is 43 years old and has only about two years’ experience of working in Ireland. She loves her work in Nepal even though the conditions are very tough. She earns a basic salary.

What happens if she comes back to Ireland say in two or three years’ time and gets work? Will it be too late to get any sort of a pension? How can she go about informing herself on this subject?

Ms S.D., email

The good news first, I guess. No, it will not be too late to get “any sort of pension” if she is returning to Ireland in a few years’ time, and returns to work and making PRSI payments here.

In fact, the new system that is coming into play for anyone retiring from 2021 will probably work marginally to her benefit.

And the bad news? Well, she certainly will not qualify for a full pension.

At the moment, your daughter has two years of social insurance stamps in Ireland. She has now been abroad for some time. The work she has done in Nepal will not help her as far as an Irish pension is concerned because we do not recognise Nepal for the purpose of bilateral social insurance arrangements – even if she is paying social insurance over there.

I gather she spent some time in Europe prior to heading for Nepal so it is possible, if she was working in that time, she would have some benefits accrued as Ireland does naturally recognise social insurance from other EU states.

If she were to come back in two or three years’ time, she would be 45 or 46 and could expect to work for a further 22 or 23 years as she will not be eligible for the State pension until she turns 68.

Means tested

The minimum she would need for a State pension is 10 years of social insurance/PRSI payments – 520 weekly payments. That would give her a pension equivalent to 25 per cent of the prevailing full pension. If you do not have a minimum of 10 years, you are not eligible for the contributory pension and would have to rely instead on the means-tested non-contributory State pension.

Anything more than the 10 years will improve the amount she gets. If she were to come back at, say 45, and work from then till she was 68, she would have about 25 years of PRSI. You get 1/40th of the full pension for each year of PRSI stamps, so she would have 25/40ths of the full rate, which is close to two-thirds (62.5 per cent).

In terms of easily accessible advice and information, it’s hard to go wrong with the Citizens Information website – www.citizensinformation.ie. The contributory pensions page can be found here – https://iti.ms/2FXxkWO.

Please send your queries to Dominic Coyle, Q&A, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2, or email dcoyle@irishtimes.com. This column is a reader service and is not intended to replace professional advice

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