August 15, 2023
Ireland’s State Pension (Non-Contributory) is a weekly payment made to people aged 66 and above. Learn about its eligibility, 2024 payment rates, and more.
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The Non-Contributory State Pension is a weekly social welfare payment to older adults who don’t qualify for the State Pension (Contributory) in Ireland.
In 2023, it’s paid at a weekly rate of €254 (for people aged 66-79) and €264 (for people aged 80 and above). However, from 2024, it’ll increase to €266 and €276, respectively.
We’ll explore the State Pension (Non-Contributory) in detail, including its eligibility criteria, rate of payment, and application process.
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The State Pension (Non-Contributory) is a means-tested payment made to individuals aged 66 and above who don’t qualify for the State Pension (Contributory) based on their PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance) contributions.
Ireland’s Department of Social Protection (DSP) introduced the Non-Contributory Pension scheme in September 2006.
The scheme was formerly known as the Old Age Non-Contributory Pension.
You may be wondering…
Here’s the fundamental difference between both State Pensions in Ireland:
In the State Pension (Non-Contributory), your eligibility is determined through a means test, where the Department of Social Protection (DSP) analyses your financial resources. (We’ll explain how the DSP conducts the means test soon.)
On the other hand, you must fulfil certain social insurance contribution conditions to qualify for a Contributory State Pension.
Learn more about Ireland’s State Pension (Contributory).
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To qualify for the State Pension (Non-Contributory), you must:
Be aged 66 and above.
Be living in Ireland and fulfilling the habitual residence condition (HRC).
In Irish law, the term "habitually resident" is not clearly defined, but it implies that the person must have a clear and established connection to Ireland.
For example, one factor determining this “connection” would be any arrangements you have made to stay in Ireland long-term.
Pass a means test conducted by the Department of Social Protection that examines all your sources of income.
Individuals who only qualify for a reduced rate of the Contributory State Pension based on their social insurance contributions record can opt for the Non-Contributory State Pension scheme.
A means test checks if you have enough financial resources to support yourself and determines your eligibility for the State Pension (Non-Contributory).
Here’s an overview of how the DSP carries out the means test:
When you apply for a means-tested social welfare payment, like the Non-Contributory State Pension, you must complete a form with the details of all your income sources. It may ask for your bank details, like the account numbers.
A Social Welfare Inspector will then visit your home and interview you to assess your income. They may also ask for supporting documents like your bank statements.
The officer will assess your total income from all sources to determine if you qualify for the State Pension (Non-Contributory). A separate Deciding Officer will decide on your pension entitlement.
The means test for the Non-Contributory State Pension looks at two things:
Cash income: The money you or your spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant may have.
Capital: The value of your savings, investments, shares, or any property (except your own home and the first €20,000 of the capital).
Let’s discuss these in more detail.
But if you earn up to €200 per week from employment, your income is not assessed in a means test.
If you work under a Community Employment scheme (but are not self-employed) and earn €200 per week, the DSP will not assess your earnings in a means test. Your spouse, civil partner, and co-habitant can also make up to €200 per week.
Cash income can also include income generated from owning or leasing farmlands.
Your net income from owning or leasing your farmland is calculated by deducting expenses from your gross income (income before tax).
However, if you don’t actively use or lease the land you own, the DSP will consider its capital value.
For the means test, the DSP doesn't consider:
Any income you receive through the Farm Retirement Scheme.
Income from property that has already been assessed on its capital value.
Capital includes any savings, investments, cash on hand, and any property you have (except your own home).
The DSP combines all the capital from various sources and uses a particular formula to calculate your weekly means from your capital.
As per this formula:
The initial €20,000 of capital is completely excluded from consideration.
The subsequent €10,000 is assessed at a rate of €1 per thousand.
The next €10,000 at €2 per thousand, and any amount beyond that is assessed at €4 per thousand.
Even though personal property, like your house, isn’t considered in a means test. Any income you generate from your home, such as renting a room, may be assessed in a means-test.
There are also some exceptions if you are:
Living alone: If you live alone and decide to rent out a room in your own home, the DSP will disregard the income from the rent you receive.
Not living alone:
If you don’t live alone, you can earn up to €269.23 per week (€14,000 per year) by renting out a room in your house without it affecting your State Pension (Non-Contributory).
However, the person renting the room must use it for at least 28 consecutive days and shouldn’t be an employee or an immediate family member.
The means test also assesses any income you get by selling, leaving, or investing the income obtained from selling your house.
If you sell your house, the income you get from the sale is considered in the means test.
However, if you sell the house because it's no longer suitable or affordable to maintain, up to €190,500 of the sale proceeds will be excluded from the means test.
This exemption applies if you use the money from the sale to:
Buy or rent more suitable accommodation.
Move into a registered private nursing home.
Live with someone receiving a carer's allowance to care for you.
Relocate to sheltered or special housing in various sectors (voluntary, co-operative, statutory, or private).
When you leave your home temporarily or permanently due to old age or illness, the DSP won’t consider the value of your home in the means test.
If you receive income from the house (like rent), the DSP will consider the property's capital value in the means test.
The DSP will consider any income you make from selling your home in the means test, and interest on your investment will be counted as capital income.
But if you use the interest to cover significant living expenses like nursing home costs, the DSP may exempt the interest from a maximum capital limit of €190,500.
Your means under the various headings (cash and capital) are combined to calculate your total means, which then determines the pension amount you’ll receive.
In the case of a couple (married, civil partners, or cohabiting), the DSP will consider half of the total means between the two partners.
The lower your total means, the higher the pension rate you’re likely to receive, within the limits set by the pension scheme.
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In its “Budget 2024” plan, the Irish government announced changes to the non-contributory pension rate from January 2024.
So, we’ll look at the 2023 rates and the new 2024 rates:
As of December 2023, the State Pension (Non-Contributory) is paid at the following rates:
For individuals aged between 66 to 79 years: €254 (maximum)
For individuals aged 80 and above: €264 (maximum)
Increase of qualified adult dependents: €167.80
Increase for qualified child dependents under 12 years: €42 (full rate), €21 (half rate)
Increase for qualified child dependents aged 12 and above: €50 (full rate), €25 (half rate)
People receiving the maximum rate of the State Pension (Non-Contributory) will get an increase of €12 per week from January 2024.
So the maximum weekly rate of State Pension (Non-Contributory) from January 2024 will be:
€266 if the person is 66-79 years old.
€276 if the person is aged 80 and over.
Moreover, the 2024 State Pension (Non-Contributory) rate increases have also led to a proportional raise in the payments for qualified adults and child dependents. This is as follows:
Individuals can claim an increase of €175.70 per week for an adult-dependant under 66 as part of their pension entitlement.
Members aged between 66 and 79 with child dependents under 12 can claim an increase of €46 (full rate) and €23 (half rate).
Members aged 80 and over with children aged 12 or above can receive an increase of €54 (full rate) and €27 (half rate).
How does the DSP decide if you get the full or half-rate increase for qualified child (IQC) payment?
You can get a full-rate IQC if you’re getting an increase for a qualified adult for your spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant or if you’re parenting alone.
You’ll get a half-rate IQC if your spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant earns between €310 and €400 per week (this condition doesn’t apply to some social welfare payments like jobseeker’s allowance, disability allowance, etc).
However, you don't receive an increase for qualified child dependents if your partner earns over €400 per week or if you receive certain government benefits.
You should apply at least three months before you reach the State Pension age of 66.
Follow these steps to apply for the Non-Contributory Pension scheme:
Unable to download the online form?
No worries! You can collect it from the nearest Intreo Centre, Social Welfare Office, post office, or Citizens Information Centre.
The SPNC-1 form asks for the following information:
Part 1: Personal details
Mother’s birth surname
Part 2: Work and claim details
Pension allowances (received in the past)
Financial and bank account details
Part 3: Habitual residential conditions
Part 4: Payment details (of the Applicant)
Part 5: Details of the dependent child/children
Part 6: Other payment details
Living alone increase
Household benefits package
Part 7: Spouse’s, civil partner, or cohabitant's details
Part 8: Spouse’s, civil partner, or cohabitant's work and claim detail
Part 9: Spouse’s, civil partner, or cohabitant's payment details
Qualified Adult Declaration
Payment details (of the spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant)
Financial institution (details of bank accounts)
Send the completed application forms via post to the following address:
Department of Social Protection
Social Welfare Services
For further information and pension-related queries, contact:
Tel: (071) 915 7100 or 0818 200 400
Email: [email protected]
Applicants and pension scheme members must always inform the Department of Social Protection about any changes in their circumstances while receiving the State Pension (Non-Contributory) to avoid overpayment.
Some commonly asked questions about the State Pension (Non-Contributory) are:
Irish citizens receiving the Non-Contributory State Pension can get extra benefit payments while continuing to receive their pension entitlement.
Some benefits include:
Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme: A weekly payment made to individuals lacking sufficient income to cover their or their family's essential needs. From January 2024, it will be paid at a rate of:
€230 for individuals aged 25 and above (€218 in 2023)
€230 for individuals under 25 years of age living independently on State support (€218 in 2023)
€141.70 for individuals under 25 not living independently (€129.70 in 2023)
Living Alone Increase: An additional payment of €22 per week (no change in 2024) for individuals who live alone and receive a social welfare payment.
Free Travel Pass: Provides free public transport services to those receiving specific social welfare payments.
Fuel Allowance: Helps people on long-term social welfare payments by supporting fuel costs and is paid at a weekly rate of €33 (no change in 2024).
Carer's Support Grant: An annual payment of €1850 (no change in 2024) for carers aged 16 or older who provide full-time care for at least six months per year.
The State Pension (Non-Contributory) is a weekly income paid in advance every Friday.
The Department of Social Protection may deposit the payment directly into your bank or building society account through Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT).
Alternatively, pension scheme members can collect it from a selected post office using their Public Services Card.
When a person receiving the State Pension (Non-Contributory) passes away, their spouse, surviving civil partner, or dependent should:
Notify the DSP and register the death with the General Register Office (GRO) within three months.
Return the person's Public Services Card (used to collect the payment at the Post Office). The family members can note the PPS number for their reference.
In most cases, the spouse, surviving civil partner, co-habitant, or carer can receive a payment if they have been included in the scheme to receive an increase for adult dependents.
The payment is made for six weeks after the person's death at the same weekly rate at which it was made to the deceased member.
The Widow's, Widower's, or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension is a means-tested payment for individuals who have lost their spouse or civil partner and don’t have any child dependents.
Starting January 2024, it will be paid at a maximum weekly rate of €232.
Individuals who don’t meet the eligibility criteria for a Widow's, Widower's, or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension can apply for this pension scheme.
If you leave Ireland, you won't be able to receive the State Pension Non-Contributory payments.
However, if you relocated to Northern Ireland and were already receiving this pension before the move, you may continue receiving it for up to five years.
Additionally, if you have to go abroad for a short time due to special reasons, the Department of Social Protection will assess whether or not you can continue to receive the pension when you return. In such cases, you must notify the DSP before leaving.
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👋🏻 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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