Explainer: How farmers can now avail of invalidity pension benefits
Until last year there was no Social Welfare benefit available to farmers or indeed self-employed people generally who became unable to work due to long term illness or injury.
However, from December 1, 2017 farmers and the self-employed who have been paying Class S PRSI (which covers the vast majority) will be entitled to an invalidity pension in the event of long term illness or injury.
Entitlement to the pension should not be confused with Illness Benefit which is a more short term benefit payable to employed workers paying PRSI classes A,E,H and P but not Class S.
One of the main differences is that to qualify for the invalidity pension one has to cease self-employment and notify Revenue accordingly. While the pension proper is not means tested any additional payments for an adult dependent or child dependent are means tested.
This means that any income or assets that a farmer possesses or is in receipt of will not be counted provided of course that he/she has ceased their registration as self-employed but any income a spouse, partner or dependent child has may affect entitlement to increased payments for those dependents.
To qualify for the payment, applicants will need 260 (equivalent to five years) PRSI paid contributions (Class A, E, H or S) since they started paying social insurance and 48 PRSI paid or credited contributions (Class A, E, H or S) in the last complete contribution year or the second last contribution year before the date of their claim.
You will need to have paid PRSI in either of the two years prior to the year in which you make the claim.