Q&A: Invalidity pension being extended to self-employed

Self-employed workers, including farmers, who cannot work due to long term illness or disability, will be able to claim Invalidity Pension from December 1, 2017, writes Stephen Cadogan.

Invalidity Pension is a weekly pension payment for people who cannot work because of a long-term illness or disability.

The current personal rate of payment is €198.50 per week.

Increases may be added for a dependent adult (means-assessed) and dependent children.

Application for the Invalidity Pension is also open to self-employed people who are currently out of work through illness.

Do I qualify for Invalidity Pension?

From December 1 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 aged under 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).

How much is paid under the Invalidity Pension?

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.

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.

What are the medical criteria for Invalidity Pension?

Invalidity Pension is a payment for insured people who are permanently incapable of work because of an illness or incapacity.

To qualify, you must:

  • Have been incapable of work for at least 12 months, and be likely to be incapable of work for at least another 12 months (you will probably have been getting Illness Benefit or Disability Allowance during that time)
  • OR

  • Be permanently incapable of work (in certain cases of very serious illness or disability, you can transfer directly from another social welfare payment, or from your job, to Invalidity Pension).

A deciding officer of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection will examine your claim and determine your entitlement based on the qualifying conditions outlined above.

How can I apply for Invalidity Pension?

To apply, fill in an Invalidity Pension application form (INV1) (http://www.welfare.ie/en/pdf/inv1.pdf).

You can also get a form from your social welfare local office.

You may qualify for Supplementary Welfare Allowance while you are waiting for your claim to be processed.

If you have been getting Illness Benefit for a period of 468 days, you will be medically assessed for continued entitlement to Illness Benefit, and possible entitlement to Invalidity Pension.

If, as a result of this assessment, it is considered that you may be entitled to Invalidity Pension, an application form (INV2) will be sent to you. When they get the completed form, a deciding officer will examine the claim and determine eligibility for Invalidity Pension.

This does not stop you from applying for Invalidity Pension in the normal way, using application form (INV1).

You can get help to fill in your form from your local Citizens Information Centre or social welfare local office.

If you think you have been wrongly refused Invalidity Pension or you are unhappy about a decision of a deciding officer, you can appeal this decision

Send your application form Invalidity Pension Section, Social Welfare Services Office, Government Buildings, Ballinalee Road, Longford (telephone 043-334 0000 or Locall 1890 92 77 70).

Where can I get more information?

Go to the Welfare Invalidity Pension website here.

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