Business Farming

Sunday 21 September 2014

Pensions bombshell for thousands of farmers' wives

Martin Ryan

Published 22/07/2014 | 00:00

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Farmer's wives are facing a pension bombshell.
Farmer's wives are facing a pension bombshell.

Thousands of farmers' wives, who are 'employed' on their home farms and make PRSI contributions, have no contributory pension entitlements.

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This pensions bombshell was delivered by the Department of Social Protection to the IFA recently.

"We were advised that all these women are going to get when they reach retirement/pension age at 66 years, is a refund of the PRSI payments, which they have made," said IFA spokeswoman Maura Canning following a meeting with Department officials.

"They are not entitled to a contributory pension, even though they have been paying in to PRSI for several years."

The reason for this anomaly appears to be a technicality which affects normal contributory pension entitlements in a situation where one spouse is employed by the other.

Ms Canning, chairperson of the IFA's farm family and social affairs committee, said the association was very concerned about the situation.

"The matter needs to be taken up further to establish if a more satisfactory outcome can be agreed," she said.

"We have quite a few women who are now getting refunds of their payments when they had expected to be qualifying for a contributory pension.

"It is a very unsatisfactory situation," added Ms Canning.

The situation arose after a number of farmers' wives were informed that they would be ineligible for a contributory pension, even though they worked full time on their farms and were being paid 'a wage' which was subject to PAYE and PRSI compliance deductions.

The Department of Social Protection told the IFA delegation that the PRSI deductions did not entitle these women to the contributory pension that would normally apply to those with PRSI payments.

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