Pension clock


Q. I am trying to find out if I will qualify for a full State pension. I started working at the age of 17 in July 1977 paying full contributions until April 1993. I then moved to the US – but moved back to Ireland in April 2013. I am working full time since June 2013 for the same company. I am now 56 years old. I qualify for a reduced US social security payment at 62 years old – though not enough to retire on. If I stopped working at 62 years old, will I qualify for the Irish State pension at 66 – or a reduced State pension? If not and I need to work till I am 65 or 66, would that give me the full pension?

A. The Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011 made a number of changes to the qualifying age for State pensions. The qualifying age will rise to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028. So:

  • If you were born on or after 1 January 1955 the minimum qualifying State pension age will be 67.
  • If you were born on or after 1 January 1961 the minimum qualifying State pension age will be 68.

Therefore, as you were born after Jan 1st 1955 you will not qualify for the State Pension until you reach 67. The National Pensions Framework made changes which will come into effect in 2020 but the necessary enabling legislation has not yet been passed. When and if this is in place your entitlement will be as follows:

If you were born after 1 January 1954, when you reach pension age, you will need a total of 30 years contributions and/or credits to get the maximum State Pension. You will be able to get the minimum State Pension if you have paid 520 full-rate contributions (10 years). The minimum pension will be one third of the maximum rate. You can then get a further 1/30th of the pension for each additional year of contributions that you have. The maximum number of credits that can be used in calculating your entitlement to State Pension will be 520 (or 10 years). So, even if you continue working or signing on for credits until age 67 you will still have less than the 30 years contributions needed to qualify for a full pension. Sorry to give this news but

I cannot stress the importance of the phrase think pensions. We are on a timebomb that by the year 2050, I doubt whether the government of the day will be able to fund any pension payments at that time. We need to act now.


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