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August 15, 2023

Ireland's Non-Contributory State Pension: 2024 Rates + Eligibility

Learn about the Irish Non-Contributory State Pension, including payment rates, eligibility criteria, and application process.

Aine Kavanagh

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Aine Kavanagh

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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. 

How much is the Non-Contributory State Pension in 202?

Who is eligible for it?

We’ll answer all these questions in this article. 

Further Reading

What Is the State Pension (Non-Contributory) in Ireland?

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…

What’s the Difference Between the Contributory and Non-Contributory State Pensions? 

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 when we cover eligibility later in the article.)

  • 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).

How Much is the Non-Contributory Pension in Ireland?

The maximum weekly rate of State Pension (Non-Contributory) from January 2024 is: 

  • €266 if the person is 66-79 years old.

  • €276 if the person is aged 80 and over.

This is part of the changes the Irish government announced in its “Budget 2024”. 

There’s also a proportional rise in the payments for qualified adults and child dependents, which 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 whether to give you a full or half-rate increase for a 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.

Who Can Qualify for the State Pension (Non-Contributory) in Ireland?

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.

How Is a Means Test Conducted for the Non-Contributory State Pension?

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. 

What Is Assessed in a Means Test?

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. 

1. Cash Income 

Any cash income earned through employment, self-employment, occupational pension, private pension, or social security pension from foreign countries is assessed in a means test.

But if you earn up to €200 per week from employment, your income is not assessed in a means test. 

For example:

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:

  • Income from property that has already been assessed on its capital value. 

2. Value of Capital and Property 

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.  

But remember: 

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.

What’s more?

The means test also assesses any income you get by selling, leaving, or investing the income obtained from selling your house. 

1. 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).

2. Leaving your House without Selling it

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. 

The catch?

If you receive income from the house (like rent), the DSP will consider the property's capital value in the means test.

3. Investing Income Obtained From the Sale of the House

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. 

However, 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.

Total Means

Your means under the various headings (cash and capital) are combined to calculate your total means, determining 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.

Further Reading

How to Apply for the Non-Contributory State Pension in Ireland?

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:

1. Filling Out the Application Form 

Download the application form (SPNC-1).

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 

    • PPS number

    • Name

    • Mother’s birth surname

    • Relationship status 

    • Contact details 

  • Part 2: Work and claim details 

    • Employment status

    • Pension allowances (received in the past)

    • Financial and bank account details

    • Property owned 

  • Part 3: Habitual residential conditions

  • Part 4: Payment details (of the Applicant)

    • Financial institution 

    • Post office 

  • Part 5: Details of the dependent child/children 

  • Part 6: Other payment details 

    • Living alone increase

    • Household benefits package 

    • Fuel Allowance 

    • Dependent’s details 

  • 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)

      • Post office 

2. Submitting the Application Form  

Send the completed application forms via post to the following address: 

Department of Social Protection

Social Welfare Services

College Road

Sligo

F91 T384

For further information and pension-related queries, contact:

Tel: (071) 915 7100 or 0818 200 400

Email: [email protected]

Applicants and pension plan members must inform the Department of Social Protection about any changes in their circumstances while receiving the State Pension (Non-Contributory) to avoid overpayment.

5 FAQs on the Irish State Pension (Non-Contributory) 

Some commonly asked questions about the Non-Contributory State Pension are:

1. Can Irish Citizens Claim Other Benefits While Receiving the Non-Contributory Pension?

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.

2. When Is the Non-Contributory State Pension Paid in Ireland?

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.

3. What Happens If a Person Dies While Receiving the Non-Contributory State Pension Payment?

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.

4. What Is the Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Contributory) Pension?

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.

In 2024-25, it's 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 plan. 

5. Can I Receive the State Pension (Non-Contributory) Payment If I Move Outside Ireland?

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, suppose you have to go abroad briefly for specific reasons. In that case, the Department of Social Protection will assess whether you can continue receiving the pension when you return. You must notify the DSP before leaving Ireland.

6. How Long Will I Receive My Pension?

The State Pension Non-Contributory will be paid for as long you satisfy the eligibility criteria. 

However, if you start receiving State Pension Contributory at a higher rate, then you will stop receiving the State Pension Non-Contributory.

Offer Better Retirement Support to Your Employees with Kota 

Considering the growing living costs, an employee may need more than the Irish State Pension (Non-Contributory) to lead a comfortable life post-retirement. 

So why not supplement their pension using Kota?

Kota lets you enrol employees in an occupational pension scheme and add them to a corporate Master Trust without any administrative overheads.

You can:

  • Easily onboard your employees to a workplace pension plan. 

  • Set matching employer and employee contribution limits — with employees having complete freedom to increase or decrease their contributions. 

  • Automate pensions to reduce extensive paperwork.

  • Stay up-to-date on how your package competes locally with geo-based data.

  • Integrate your existing HR and payroll tools for a unified pensions system.

Join Kota to scale your team’s retirement benefits in one digital app.



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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