Thursday, 7 October 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
I thank the Deputy for raising this question. Recipients of the contributory State pension can claim an increase in their pension in respect of a qualified adult, subject to a means assessment. A qualified adult is the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the pensioner who has been wholly or mainly maintained by that pensioner. The means assessment reflects the fact that there is an expectation that people with reasonable amounts of income or capital are in a position to use these resources to support themselves so that social welfare expenditure can be directed towards those most in need.
Entitlement to the contributory State pension is based on a person’s social insurance record and the personal rate of payment is not subject to a means test. Only the spouse or partner of the claimant is means-tested. An increase is payable at the maximum rate of payment where the means of the spouse or partner are €100 a week or less, while reduced rates are payable where the means are over €100 or less than €310 per week. No increase is payable where the means of the spouse or partner are in excess of €310 per week. The means assessed include income from employment or self-employment, non-social welfare pensions and the capital value of savings, investments and property other than the family home. It should be noted that the value of the family home, regardless of who the legal owner is, is never taken into account in this assessment. Where savings, property or other assets are held jointly, the spouse or partner’s means are taken to be half of the total amount.
It is a matter for each couple to decide how their finances are arranged and the Department has no role in this. The current means-testing arrangements are based on the actual means of the spouse or partner at any given time.