Written answers

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

State Pensions

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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86. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address a matter regarding pension entitlements (details supplied). [60581/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The number of state pension non-contributory recipients at the end of 2020 was 95,465. However, based on the latest complete year of PRSI contribution data, 2019, there were 94,854 recipients, 4,888 of whom made a paid PRSI contribution in 2019, of which:

- 30 made self-employed class contributions

- 4,858 made non-self-employed class contributions

- 10 made both self-employed and non-self-employed class contributions.

The Department can not provide summary information on state pension non-contributory recipients holding occupational pensions as its systems do not differentiate between different types of private pension.

In determining the eligibility of a state pension non-contributory applicant, the first €30 per week of assessed means, from any source, including self-employment, is disregarded. In addition, a weekly earnings disregard from insurable employment (as an employee) of up to €200 per week applies. This disregard is intended to facilitate non-contributory pensioners who wish to continue working, or to re-enter the workforce. Apart from providing an incentive to take up employment, this approach recognises that persons in employment incur additional expenses such as travelling expenses, clothing and so forth, consequent to the employment.

The rules applying to state pension non-contributory do not prohibit individuals from engaging in any form of self-employment; it is the means available from the profit from such self-employment (after allowing for authorised expenses) which determines the rate of pension payable, if any.

The means assessment for the state pension non-contributory allows for "any expenses necessarily incurred in carrying on any form of self-employment” to be disregarded. There is no exhaustive list of all allowable expenses in self-employed cases, since expenses vary with the nature and extent of the self-employment. This means that earnings from self-employment are assessed net of expenses incurred by the person concerned in the course of their work; for example, on petrol/diesel, purchase of equipment and raw materials and so forth.

Any changes to the means testing criteria for state pension non-contributory would need to be considered in an overall budgetary and policy context.


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