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Social Protection | State Pension (Contributory) refusals in past five years

To ask the Minister for Social Protection the number of situations in respect of which applications for the State Pension (Contributory) were refused during the past five years to date due to insufficiency of contributions; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


Under current eligibility conditions, applicants must have 520 full-rate paid contributions in order to qualify for standard State pension (contributory).

Calculation of an applicant’s entitlement to State pension (contributory) is based on their social insurance record from their date of entry into insurable employment until pension age, currently 66 years.  Pension entitlement depends on factors such as a person’s social insurance record, their attachment to the workforce, and their countries of employment.

Depending on an applicant’s individual social insurance history, their entitlement is assessed under a number of different tests to determine if they qualify for a pension.  Where an applicant satisfies the criteria under more than one of these entitlement tests, the most financially beneficial rate of pension will ultimately be awarded.

Below are the number of State pension (contributory) claims disallowed in each of the past five years and which remain disallowed.  These figures do not include applicants who have since died.  The 2022 statistics may include cases where entitlement is still being assessed using their foreign employment records.

YearCustomer claims disallowed and not awarded to 31/10/2022
2018                                 3,117
2019                                 3,188
2020                                 3,058
2021                                 3,746
2022                                 3,335
Total                               16,444

For those who do not qualify for the State pension (contributory), there are other payments available, depending on an individual’s circumstances.  State pension (non-contributory) is a means-tested, residency-based payment for persons of pension age.  The maximum rate payable equates to 95% of the maximum rate of state pension (contributory).

If a person’s spouse has a State pension (contributory), the person may qualify for an Increase for qualified adult (IQA) payable with their spouse’s pension (means-tested on their own means).  The rate of IQA payable may amount to 90% of the maximum State pension (contributory), depending on the rate of State pension (contributory) in payment to the person’s spouse and the person’s own means, solely or jointly held.

I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

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