Farmers can now get Invalidity Pension as Government extends benefit to the self-employed

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Self-employed workers who cannot work due to long term illness or disability can claim Invalidity Pension from December 1, 2017

This includes small business owners, farmers, tradespeople, freelancers, contractors and professionals.

The current personal rate of payment is €198.50 per week.  Increases may be paid also for a dependent adult (means-assessed) and dependent children.

It is expected that this improvement will cost in the region of €23million in 2018. 

According to the CSO Quarterly National Household Survey Q2, 2017, there are over 326,000 self-employed people in Ireland.

It means that people who work for themselves and pay PRSI at Class S will, from 1st December, have the option of applying for Invalidity Pension on a similar basis to those who are employees. 

Invalidity Pension is a pension payment for people who cannot work because of a long-term illness or disability. For the first time, the self-employed will have access to the safety-net of State income supports if they have a serious illness or injury that prevents them from working without having to go through a means test.

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty welcomed the improved social welfare measures being provided for the self-employed.

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“These measures are part of the Government’s policy of making work pay and encouraging self-employment and entrepreneurship.  It is a real advance in the level of cover available to the self-employed and it is in line with the commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government for an improved PRSI scheme for the self-employed.

The Minister confirmed that it is also open to self-employed who are currently out of work through illness to claim the Invalidity Pension if they have the relevant PRSI contributions on their social insurance record.

Eligibility

From 1st December this year, to qualify for an Invalidity Pension from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, a self-employed person or employee must have:

  • 260 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.
  • For claims made during December 2017, the last complete contribution year is 2016 and the second last contribution year is 2015.

For claims made in 2018, the last complete contribution year is 2017 and the second last contribution year is 2016.

Invalidity Pension is paid as long as the person continues to satisfy the qualifying conditions.  On their 66th birthday, a person who is receiving Invalidity Pension will automatically transfer to the State Pension (Contributory). For those under age 66, the payment will discontinue if they get any other payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (except Disablement Benefit and half-rate Carer’s Allowance).

People who receive Invalidity Pension also receive the Department’s Free Travel Pass (this is not means assessed). Also, they may qualify for extra social welfare benefits, for example, the Household Benefits Package but this is means assessed.

Invalidity Pension is taxable.

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