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Social Protection | Number of persons seeking and refused to avail of State old age pension

To ask the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons seeking to avail of State old age pension on the basis of self-employment contributions or partnership conditions that have been approved in the past twelve months; the number refused in the same period; if ameliorating action can be taken in the case of refusals particularly where a lesser number of contributions took place than were required; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


The state pension contributory (SPC), qualification is based on a number of criteria, including that a minimum of 520 qualifying contributions have been paid into the Social Insurance Fund.  This ensures that people who seek a contributory pension have made at least 10 years paid contributions into the Social Insurance Fund which finances it.  For those who have paid the required contributions at a reckonable rate – including Class S (self-employed) – they will be used in the calculation of their entitlements.  

As my Department treat class ‘S’ paid contributions in the same way as other paid reckonable contributions e.g., class ‘A’ when calculating state pension contributory, my department does not currently hold a breakdown of all applications awarded or disallowed by contribution type. Therefore, the information requested by the Deputy is not available. However, if the Deputy has a particular case, he can bring it to the attention of my department who can provide further clarification.

Where a person aged 66 or over does not satisfy the conditions to qualify for a state pension (contributory), or qualifies for less than the maximum rate, it is open to them to apply for one of the following –

  • The means-tested State Pension (non-contributory) which is a means-tested payment with a maximum payment equivalent to 95% of the full rate SPC rate; or  
  • An increase for a qualified adult on their spouse/partners SPC. The maximum rate is equivalent to 90% of a full rate SPC pension; or
  • Where their spouse/civil partner is deceased, a widow’s/widower’s/civil partner’s contributory pension, which can be examined using their spouses or their own social insurance record.  The qualifying conditions for this require fewer contributions paid (260) than the State pension (contributory), and the maximum personal rate for those aged 66 or over is the same rate as the state pension (contributory), with allowances (notably the Living Alone Allowance) payable where applicable.

I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

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