TN 1 (01-03)
GN 01735.020 Irish Social Security Benefits - Eligibility Requirements– Eligibility Requirements
Although Ireland pays many different categories of benefits, this section describes only the benefits to which the agreement applies; retirement, old-age, disability and survivors benefits. (A retirement benefit is paid a year earlier than an old-age benefit, but requires that the worker retire.)
B. POLICY – WORKERS
To qualify for benefits, a worker generally must have paid a minimum number of contributions to the Irish system and, in addition, have credit for a minimum average number of contributions per year during his or her working lifetime. Only paid contributions (see GN 01735.015B.) can be used to meet the minimum contribution requirements, while both paid and credited contributions can be used to meet the average annual contribution requirement.
1. Retirement Benefits
The eligibility requirements for Irish retirement benefits are as follows:
Age 65, with 156 weeks of paid contributions,
Paid contributions before age 55,
A yearly average of at least 24 weeks of paid or credited contributions since 1953 (or the date work began, if later), and
No full-time work.
NOTE: A retirement benefit is converted to an old-age benefit at age 66.
2. Old-Age Benefits
The eligibility requirements for Irish old-age benefits are as follows:
Age 66, with 156 weeks of paid contributions,
Paid contributions before age 56,
A yearly average of at least 20 weeks of paid or credited contributions since 1953 (or the date work began, if later).
NOTE: A person may continue working full time and still receive old-age benefits.
3. Disability Benefits
The eligibility requirements for Irish disability (invalidity) benefits are as follows:
Under age 66,
Disabled for 12 months and permanently unable to work because of nonwork-related illness or disability,
At least 260 weeks of paid contributions, and
At least 48 weeks of paid or credited contributions in the tax year prior to the year benefits are claimed.
C. POLICY – DEPENDENTS OF RETIRED OR DISABLED WORKERS
There is no provision for benefits paid to spouses. However, a spouse’s supplement may be paid to a retired or disabled worker depending on the income of the spouse.
2. Divorced Spouse
There is no provision for divorced spouses’ benefits.
There is no provision for benefits paid to children. However, a child’s supplement may be paid to a retired or disabled worker for each child under age 18 (age 21 if in school full time).
D. POLICY – SURVIVORS
The eligibility requirements for Irish survivor benefits are as follows:
Payable at any age if unmarried and not cohabiting (i.e., living with someone as husband and wife) and if either the worker or the widow(er) had at least 156 weeks of paid contributions before the worker’s death and an average of either:
39 weeks per year of paid or credited contributions in either the three or five year period before the worker reached age 66 or died, or
At least 24 weeks per year of paid or credited contributions since first starting work up to the year before the worker reached age 66 or died.
2. Divorced Widow(er)
A divorced widow(er) must meet the same requirements as a widow(er).
Both parents must be deceased (or the surviving parent must not be providing support),
The child must be under age 18, or age 21 if a full-time student, and
One of the parents must have had at least 26 weeks of paid contributions.
NOTE: If only the father is deceased, a child’s supplement may be paid to an entitled widow.
4. Death Grant
A one-time payment payable upon the death of an insured worker, spouse, widow(er), or child.
Advise individuals that SSA cannot give official information about Irish benefits. Refer those individuals who want official information to the following address:PRSI Special Collection Section Social Welfare Services Department of Social & Family Affairs Cork Road Waterford IRELAND