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Social Protection | State Pension and disallowance on the basis of insufficient contributions

To ask the Minister for Social Protection the total number of applicants for a State pension (contributory) who have been disallowed on the grounds of insufficient contributions; the provisions that have been made to ensure that such applicants can have a reduced pension in line with their level of contribution; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


It is not possible to provide the information requested within the timeframe available. The data requested are being compiled by my officials and will be sent to the Deputy as soon as they are available.

A person is required to have a minimum of 520 paid reckonable PRSI contributions in order to qualify for the State Pension (Contributory).  The actuarial value of the State Pension is circa €380,000.  The estimate does not include the value of the Over 80s Allowance, Household Benefits Package, Living Alone Allowance, Free Travel, Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension (assuming qualifying criteria are met by either recipient or spouse) and means-tested payments such as an Increase for a Qualified Adult or Fuel Allowance.  It is, therefore, considered reasonable to require people claiming the State Pension (Contributory) to have made at least 10 years of reckonable PRSI paid contributions over the term of their working life.

Where a person enters the social insurance system over the age of 56, they will not be able to make sufficient social insurance contributions to be awarded a State Pension (Contributory) on reaching 66 years of age because it has a minimum contribution requirement of 520 contributions (i.e., 10 years). In such cases, a social insurance refund may be applicable.  

It should be noted that, if a person does not satisfy the conditionality to qualify for State Pension (Contributory), s/he may qualify for the means-tested State Pension (Non-Contributory), the maximum rate of which is over 95% of the maximum rate of the State Pension (Contributory).  Alternatively, an Increase for a Qualified Adult is paid, generally, where a pensioner has an adult dependent (e.g. a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant who is financially dependent upon him/her), who does not have enough contributions to claim a maximum rate State Pension (Contributory) in his/her own right.  The payment rate for the Increase for a Qualified Adult is up to 90% of a full contributory pension.  The most advantageous payment for a pensioner will depend upon their individual circumstances.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

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