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May 25, 2023

Understanding Ireland’s Invalidity Pension: A Complete Guide

Invalidity Pension is an Irish social insurance payment for ill or disabled people who cannot work. Find out about its eligibility, payment rate, and more.

Aine Kavanagh

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Aine Kavanagh

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Ireland’s Invalidity Pension is a social insurance payment made to people who cannot work due to a long-term illness or disability.

If you are planning to apply for Invalidity Pension, you must be thinking:

Who qualifies for Invalidity Pension? 

How and when should I apply? 

What is the rate of payment?

Keep reading for all the answers on Invalidity Pension.

Further Reading

What Is Invalidity Pension?

Invalidity Pension is a weekly payment made to people covered by social insurance (PRSI) who cannot work due to prolonged sickness or disability.

You can receive Invalidity Pension up to age 66, at which point you are automatically transferred to the full-rate of the State Pension (Contributory).

Let’s examine the qualifying conditions you must fulfil to get Invalidity Pension.

Further Reading

Who Can Qualify for Invalidity Pension?

To qualify for Invalidity Pension, you must meet certain medical and social insurance (PRSI) conditions.

A. Medical Rules 

To avail of Invalidity Pension:

  • You MUST be unfit or unable to work because of an illness or disability AND 

  • You MUST have been incapable of working for at least 12 months and SHOULD also be incapable of working for at least another 12 months OR

  • You MUST be permanently unfit and incapable of working due to a severe illness or disability.

A Deciding Officer from the Department of Social Protection (DSP) MUST determine that you meet the medical criteria to qualify for Invalidity Pension.

B. Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) Contributions

Only the following PRSI classes can apply for Invalidity Pension:

  • Class A: People employed in commercial, industrial, or service employment.

  • Class E: Minister of Religion employed by the Church of Ireland representative body.

  • Class H: Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and enlisted personnel from Defence forces.

  • Class S: Self-employed people.

To qualify for Invalidity Pension, you must meet both of the following conditions for PRSI contributions:

  • At least 260 PRSI contributions paid (which would amount to five years of contributions).

  • 48 weeks of PRSI contributions paid in the last or second last contribution year before your relevant date.

What’s the relevant date?

The DSP sets the relevant date based on the commencement date of your permanent incapacity for work. 

Usually, the relevant date is set to one year after an individual's illness/disability has prevented them from working. However, for lifelong permanent incapacities, it may be set at less than a year after the disability onset.

Can You Work While Receiving Invalidity Pension?

People in receipt of Invalidity Pension cannot do paid work.

If you want to return to employment or self-employment, you must transfer from Invalidity Pension to Partial Capacity Benefit.

You can qualify for Partial Capacity Benefit only if the limitation on your capacity for work is moderate, severe, or profound.

However, to continue receiving your Invalidity Pension payment while attending education or training courses, you should contact the Invalidity Pension section and obtain written permission.

To receive Invalidity Pension, you must meet the medical conditions and social insurance contributions and apply on time.

But when is the right time to apply for Invalidity Pension?

Let’s find out.

When to Apply for Invalidity Pension?

Apply any time after completing one year of incapacity for work — there is no specific date of application.

You can also apply before the completion of your one-year period only if a medical professional has prescribed it and you fulfil the relevant medical criteria and PRSI conditions we discussed above.

To enquire about Invalidity Pension, contact the Invalidity Pension department.

Further Reading

Rate of Invalidity Pension 

Invalidity Pension is paid at a maximum personal rate of €225.50.  

You may get an increase on your Invalidity Pension rate if you have any adult or child dependants.

The good news?

In its 'Budget 2024', the Irish government announced that individuals receiving the maximum rate of Invalidity Pension will receive an increase of €12 per week from January 2024.

This means Invalidity Pension is paid at a maximum personal rate of €237.50.  

You may get an increase on your Invalidity Pension rate if you have any adult or child dependants.

A. Increase for Adult Dependants 

As of January 2024, for qualified adult dependants, you can receive a maximum increase of €169.70 on your invalidity pension, depending on their income.

You can obtain an increase on Invalidity Pension for adult dependants if: 

  • Your adult dependant earns less than €100/week. In this case, you will receive the full-rate increase

    OR

  • Your adult dependant makes between €100 and €310 per week. In this case, you will get a half-rate increase.

You will not be eligible for an adult-dependant increase if the dependant's weekly income is more than  €310.

B. Increase for Child Dependants 

If you have a child dependant(s), you will get an increase based on your child’s age.

As of January 2024:

  • If your child is under 12 years of age, you get an increase of:

    • €46 (full rate)

    • €23 (half-rate)

  • If your child’s age is 12 years or above, you get an increase of:

    • €54 (full rate)

    • €27 (half-rate)

The catch?

You won’t get an increase in your payment for child dependants if your spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant has weekly earnings of more than €400. 

But you may get a half-rate increase for a child dependant if your spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant earns between €310 and €400 a week.

Starting from the week of 20th November 2023, the government will also make a one-time ‘cost of living lump sum payment’ of €400 to those on Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension, Blind Pension, or Carer’s Support Grant. However, this will be a single payment, so even if a person qualifies for multiple payments, they'll receive only one lump sum.

Do You Need to Pay Tax on Invalidity Pension?

Invalidity Pension is taxable. It may be taxed fully or at a specific amount based on your circumstances. 

The Department of Social Protection does not deduct taxes before making the Invalidity Pension payment. 

But to ensure the correct tax amount is paid, they will inform the Revenue about the taxable amount to be taken from Invalidity Pension for income tax purposes.

So you won’t have to do anything to pay the correct tax amount. 

Let’s now check when you can expect to receive your Invalidity Pension payment.

When Is Invalidity Pension Paid?

Invalidity Pension has no specified payment date. You can receive it on any day from Monday to Saturday.

The Invalidity Pension payment is made until the claimant: 

  • Resumes their employment/ self-employment 

  • Chooses to transfer to another social welfare payment 

  • Qualifies for another pension that pays a higher rate

  • Is disqualified from receiving Invalidity Pension 

  • Is transferred to State Pension (Contributory) at 66 years

  • Passes away

Once the claimant resumes work, they must submit medical evidence, i.e., final medical certificates showing they are well enough to continue employment, after which the Invalidity Pension payment is discontinued.

Ready to apply for Invalidity Pension?

Let’s see how you can do that.

How to Apply for Invalidity Pension 

To apply for Invalidity Pension, you must fill out the Invalidity Pension form (INV1 Form).

The form is available online at gov.ie, but you can also get it from your Intreo Center or the Social Welfare Branch Office.

Here are some details you will need to fill out in your INV1 form:

  • PPS (Personal Public Service) number

  • Personal details

  • Contact details

  • Work and claim details 

  • Payment details 

  • Details of your qualified child/children

  • Spouse, civil partner, and cohabitant details (including work and claim details)

  • Other payment details 

Have you received Illness Benefit for 468 days?

You may be able to transfer from Illness Benefit to Invalidity Pension. 

You will have to complete the medical assessment conducted by the DSP. This will help them determine if you continue to qualify for illness benefit and whether you meet the requirements for Invalidity Pension.

If you meet the qualifying conditions for Invalidity Pension in your medical assessment, you will be sent a new Invalidity Pension form (INV2) to apply for Invalidity Pension.

Suppose the Deciding Officer rejects your Invalidity Pension application, and you are unsatisfied with the result. In that case, you can appeal the decision to an appeals officer at the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO) within 21 days of getting the decision on your claim.

Where to Apply for Invalidity Pension?

Once you have completed your INV1 or INV2 application form, submit your Invalidity Pension application to the following address:

Invalidity Pension Section

Social Welfare Services Office

Government Buildings

Ballinalee Road

Longford

N39 E4E0

Ireland

You can also contact the department for support at: 

Tel: (043) 334 0000 or 0818 927 770

Website: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/d148b9-invalidity-pension/

Email: [email protected]

Did you know that the Government of Ireland provides employability services to help people on Invalidity Pension easily find work opportunities post-recovery?

Let’s have a look at some of them.

Returning to Employment After Receiving Invalidity Pension

The Nationwide EmployAbility Service provides employment support to people with disabilities, health conditions, and injuries.

Some of the employment support services they offer are:

  • Individual needs assessment 

  • Job sourcing 

  • Career planning and vocational profiling

  • Support and mentoring follow-up 

  • Coaching and on-job support 

They also provide some other schemes, which include:

A. Community Employment

The Community Employment scheme assists long-term unemployed (or otherwise disadvantaged) people in returning to work. 

It provides regular part-time employment and temporary placements in jobs based in local communities. 

People who avail of the community employment scheme cannot simultaneously claim other social welfare payments.

B. Back to Work Enterprise Allowance

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) scheme encourages people receiving social welfare payments to become self-employed.

People participating in the BTWEA scheme can keep a percentage of their social welfare payments for two years — 100% for the first year and 75% for the second year.

Disabled individuals who want to pursue self-employment full-time and have received Invalidity Pension for at least nine months can apply through the Department of Social Protection.

C. Back to Education Allowance

A person receiving Invalidity Pension can apply for Back to Education Allowance (BETA), which allows them to choose between second-level and third-level education options. 

People who receive a Back to Education Allowance are not permitted to work full-time and are ineligible for the Community Employment and Social Economy Program.

Want to avail of Invalidity Pension, but do you reside outside Ireland?

Here’s how you can do that.

Availing Invalidity Pension Outside Ireland  

Invalidity Pension is an exportable benefit; even if you move out of Ireland, you can continue to receive the Invalidity Pension payments in other countries.

You must notify the Department of Social Protection that you plan to move from Ireland.

The Ireland-United Kingdom Social Security Convention ensures that citizens of either jurisdiction who work (or have worked) in the other jurisdiction can benefit from national or social insurance contributions.

A frontier worker living and working in the Republic of Ireland can avail of Invalidity Pension provided they meet the medical and social insurance criteria. 

Alongside Invalidity Pension, you can also obtain other social welfare payments.

Let’s have a look at some of them.

Other Benefits Available for Sick and Disabled People in Ireland  

Some social welfare benefits available for sick and disabled people in Ireland are:

  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA): Have no income source and are waiting for your Invalidity Pension claim to be processed? You can apply for SWA. It’s a weekly payment made to people who are unable to make ends meet. Once you start receiving your Invalidity Pension payment, the amount received through SWA will be deducted from it.

  • Injury Benefit: A payment made at a weekly rate to employees who have experienced an on-the-job accident or contracted a disease due to their type of work, causing them to be unfit and unable to work.

  • Blind Pension: A means-tested payment made to blind and visually impaired people living in Ireland.

  • Treatment Benefit Scheme: Run by the Department of Social Protection, the Treatment Benefit Scheme assists people in completing the required number of PRSI contribution conditions needed to pay for dental, optical, and aural services.

  • Disablement Benefit: If you suffer a loss of physical or mental faculties due to a workplace accident or have contracted a prescribed disease at work, you can apply for Disablement Benefit.

  • Disability Allowance: This is a weekly payment you can receive if you suffer from an injury, illness, or disability which is expected to last more than a year. 

  • Occupational Injuries Scheme: If a worker becomes injured or incapacitated because of an accident at work or while travelling to and from work, they can apply for the Occupational Injuries Benefit scheme that provides various benefits to the sick and injured.

  • Medical Care Scheme: It’s a medical cost reimbursement for insured people injured while working or infected by a prescribed occupational disease.

  • Domiciliary Care Allowance: It’s a monthly payment made to a caregiver looking after a severely disabled child who lives at home.

Additionally, when you receive Invalidity Pension, you’re also eligible for other benefits, like:

  • Free travel in Ireland: The Free Travel Scheme allows you to travel on public transportation and certain private bus and ferry services for free. Anyone aged 66 and over who lives permanently in Ireland is also eligible to avail of the travel pass under the Free Travel Scheme. Individuals with disabilities and caregivers under 66 years of age may also qualify for Free Travel.

  • Household Benefits package: The Household Benefits Package (HBP) helps people manage their expenses, such as paying for their electricity or gas bill and television license. One person per household can avail of the HBP. 

  • Living Alone Increase: Supplementary increase for people receiving social welfare payments and living alone.

  • Fuel Allowance: An allowance paid to low-income households unable to meet their heating needs.

  • Telephone Support Allowance: Supplementary allowance for people receiving the Living Alone Increase and Fuel allowance and getting certain social welfare payments.

  • Increase for Living on a Specified Island: If you are getting a social welfare payment and reside on a specified island off the coast of Ireland, you can get an increase in your payments.

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Invalidity Pension is a social welfare payment made to people incapable or unfit for work due to long-term illness or disability.

While payments like Invalidity Pension can help the sick and disabled, if you’re an employer, you may want to offer more comprehensive benefits to your employees.   

And for that, you need Kota

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Aine Kavanagh

Article written by

Aine Kavanagh

👋🏻 Hi I'm Aine, Head of Customer Success at Kota. Whether you're a Kota customer, a Kota user, or you're just browsing, I hope to help educate and empower those who want to know more about owning their own benefits, and building financial autonomy 📚

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