My husband and I both turn 66 this year. He’s a little older than me and is entitled to a pension from the end of March 2012. I’ll be 66 in early June. We’ve both sent in our claims for State Pension (Contributory). Is it true that our pension entitlements will be calculated differently?
Yes, your claims will be treated differently since the rules about the number of paid contributions you need to qualify for a contributory State Pension change on 6 April 2012.
Your husband will reach pension age before 6 April 2012. He needs 260 paid PRSI contributions to be eligible for a contributory pension. Effectively, this means five years contributions, however they don’t need to be five consecutive years.
Since you will reach pension age after 6 April 2012, the new rules apply and you will need to have 520 paid contributions (10 years of contributions) but again, they do not need to be consecutive. You can use voluntary contributions to satisfy part of this requirement if you meet certain conditions.
You both need a yearly average of 48 contributions to qualify for a full-pension and a yearly average of 10 contributions to qualify for a minimum pension. There will be changes to the yearly average rate bands from 1 September 2012 but these changes will not affect you or your husband (since both pensions will be in payment before 1 September).
You should make sure that you apply for your pension on time. From April 2012 you can only backdate your claim for a State Pension (Contributory) for a maximum of 6 months. The Department of Social Protection will only consider backdating your claim for more than 6 months if your failure to claim was a result of incorrect information being supplied by the DSP or because you were incapacitated by illness.
Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.
Know Your Rights has been compiled by Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public.
Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.