October 24, 2023
Irish workers can continue working after age 66 while receiving their State Pension payments. Learn how it works and get answers to related FAQs.
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Reaching the State Pension age in Ireland doesn't mean you must quit work and retire.
Ireland allows its workers to work past 66 years of age while claiming their State Pension.
But there’s a catch.
If you’re receiving the State Pension (Contributory), working after 66 won’t affect your pension entitlements. However, your pension payment may be affected if you receive the State Pension (Non-Contributory).
Let’s discuss this in detail.
Explore Ireland’s State Pension (Contributory) and learn everything you must know about eligibility, payment rates, and the application process.
Don’t qualify for the Contributory State Pension? Read our detailed guide about joining the State Pension (Non-Contributory) in Ireland.
Understand how Irish Pension Schemes work and the taxes you must pay on your pension income.
Irish workers can continue working full-time or part-time while claiming the State Pension.
The State Pension is a weekly payment made by the government to people aged 66 or above and is of two types:
State Pension (Contributory): If you receive the State Pension (Contributory), working while claiming the State Pension will not affect your pension entitlements.
State Pension (Non-Contributory): For the State Pension (Non-Contributory), your earnings from work can affect the pension amount you receive since it’s a means-tested payment.
What is a means test?
A means test assesses all your income sources to check if you qualify for the payment.
Cash income earned through employment, self-employment, occupational/private pensions, and capital like savings, investments, and property (except your home) is assessed in a means test.
Although there is no fixed retirement age in Ireland, most employees retire around 65. However, some employment contracts may specify a mandatory retirement age.
Psst…Your retirement age isn’t the same as the State Pension age (66), which is when you qualify for the State Pension.
For individuals retiring at 65, a special payment similar to Jobseeker's Benefit is available until they reach the State Pension age of 66. This payment does not require job-seeking activities and is taxed similarly to Jobseeker's Benefit.
If you wish to work beyond the retirement age:
You must make a request to your employer at least three months before your retirement date. Your employer will then meet with you and inform you about their decision.
If your employer accepts your request, they must offer you a fixed-term contract stating the contract’s length and other legal details.
If the employer rejects your request, you can challenge their decision, and a union representative can help you with the appeal.
You can also choose to work after retiring from your old job and join the same field or industry or take up an entirely different career.
Let’s see how joining different employment sectors can impact your pensions.
Your State Pension (Contributory) allowance won’t be affected as it depends on your Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions record. PRSI is a mandatory social insurance contribution deducted from an employee’s earnings to fund social welfare benefits. You don’t pay PRSI once you start receiving your pension.
Your State Pension (Non-Contributory) payment may be reduced as it's means-tested and assesses all your cash income from sources like employment, self-employment, and personal and occupational pensions.
Your public service pensions (public sector occupational pensions set up by the government) will be reduced.
You can receive the State Pension (Contributory) payments while working and receiving other income, such as occupational pension and private (personal) pensions. Please check with your employer if their occupational scheme allows contributions after age 66.
You may or may not receive the State Pension (Non-Contributory) entitlements as it’s a means-tested payment.
If you were working in the private sector and your employer added you to their occupational pension scheme, you can continue working for your employer or become a self-employed person.
Wondering about tax relief on your contributions?
Explore how you can get Tax Relief on Irish Pension Contributions.
Here are some common questions about the Irish State Pension:
The State Pension in Ireland is a social welfare payment made by the Department of Social Protection. It’s a weekly payment for people aged 66 and above to help them sustain their basic cost of living in retirement.
The two State Pension schemes available in Ireland are State Pension (Contributory) and State Pension (Non-Contributory). The contributory pension is also known as the old age pension.
Both schemes' personal rates and maximum rates vary as you can get an increase for qualified adult dependents (IQA) and qualified child dependents (IQC).
The State Pension is paid to workers aged 66 and above. This qualifying age is called the State Pension age.
You must apply at least 3 months before you turn 66 to claim the State Pension (Contributory or Non-Contributory).
If you’re an Irish citizen working abroad, you must apply for the State Pension (Contributory) at least 6 months before you turn 66. You can apply for the State Pension (Non-Contributory) only if you live in Ireland.
Remember: You can’t claim both the non-contributory pension and the contributory pension at the same time.
However, you can apply for both, and the Department of Social Protection will assess your eligibility based on the PRSI contributions paid during your working life and decide which scheme will benefit you.
For instance, if you only qualify for a reduced rate of the contributory pension, you may be better off under the non-contributory scheme.
You can claim the Irish State Pension (Contributory) if you live or work outside Ireland.
However, you can’t claim the State Pension (Non-Contributory) because it requires you to reside in Ireland to qualify for the pension payments.
If you work or live in other European countries:
You can combine your contributions in each European Union (EU) member state with your Irish social insurance record.
You can also be eligible for a pro-rata pension (a portion of a full pension) if you don’t have enough Irish social insurance contributions.
Even though the UK left the EU in 2020, Irish citizens residing in the UK can still receive the Irish State Pension (Contributory) based on their social insurance contribution records.
If you work or live outside the UK or other EU countries:
You can claim the State Pension if you have worked or lived in countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. Ireland has signed bilateral social security agreements with these countries, which allows Irish workers to join the State Pension scheme.
To claim the State Pension from abroad, send your application form by post to the Department of Social Protection in Ireland at:
State Pension (Contributory) Section
Social Welfare Services, Department of Social Protection
Tel: (071) 915 7100 or 0818 200 400.
They will contact the relevant institution in your country of residence to start the pension claim process.
If you’ve moved to Northern Ireland, you may continue to get the State Pension (Non-Contributory) payments for the next five years.
You can continue working full-time after 66 while receiving your pension payment for as long as you want.
However, you may receive your pension entitlement at your standard personal rate.
Please contact the DSP for further information, including the full rate increases for qualified adults and dependent children.
Some benefits you can claim include:
Carer’s Allowance: If you’re providing full-time care for a person, you may qualify for Carer's Allowance. But you can work or participate in a training or education course for up to 18.5 hours a week.
Household Benefits Package: It helps cover the cost of your gas/electricity bills and TV license. The package doesn’t explicitly exclude working people — the primary considerations are your age and other social welfare payment status.
Living Alone Increase: It’s a social welfare payment for people on certain welfare schemes, like the State Pension, Invalidity Pension, etc., and are living alone.
Widow's, Widower's, or Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory) Pension: It’s a weekly payment made on the death of a spouse or civil partner and isn’t means-tested. So, it’s not affected by other income you may have, such as earnings from employment. However, you must not re-marry or have a cohabitant.
According to a 2023 survey by Ireland’s Retirement Planning Council (RPC), 55% of Irish workers (above 50) plan to continue working full-time after retirement.
The main reasons cited by the workers were the high cost of living in Ireland, the need to stay active and engaged, maintain social connections, and passion for their work.
As an employer, you can help employees boost their retirement savings by supplementing their retirement income and offering extra benefits with Kota.
Kota is a powerful digital pension app that lets you:
Enrol your employees in award-winning workplace pension schemes compliantly.
Set flexible pension contribution levels for you and your employees.
Sync pensions with your HR (human resources) and payroll tools for easy management.
All that and more without incurring any brokerage or administrative costs!
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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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