Invalidity Pension

Richie MacRitchie is an information officer with Welfare Appeals, who provide information and representation on social welfare, housing, employment and other issues.  Regular clinics are held in Russian language in the Larkin Unemployed Centre, North Strand Road, Dublin 3 and by zoom (Appointment is required)

For details, visit http://www.welfareappeals.ie/index.php/en/russian-info .

If you would like further information or help with their circumstances please phone 085 7630328 (Russian) or 083 4001658 (English) or email contact@welfareappeals.ie 

 

Invalidity Pension

Invalidity Pension is a payment for those who are “permanently incapable of all categories of work”.   However, it may be easier to get this payment than it first sounds.

First of all, you must have at least 5 years (260 weeks) work record to receive the payment.   This can be as an employee, or as a self-employed person.    Weeks that you are not paid (eg. sick leave, maternity leave or other unpaid leave) do not count towards your 5 years.   You do not need to be currently employed to apply, but you must have at least 48 weeks social insurance contributions (either paid or credited) in either of the previous two tax years.

If you have 5 years work in Ireland, and meet the medical criteria, you will be paid at the maximum Irish rate (currently 208.50 Euro per week).   The payment is not means tested, so you will receive this rate regardless of your income or savings.    You can also claim an increase in your payment for a spouse/partner and for children under 18, or under 22 if they are still in full-time education.   However, these increases depend on the income on your spouse/partner.      You can claim these increases, even if your spouse/partner or children live in another EU country.

If you do not have 5 years work history in Ireland, but do have 5 years when you combine your work record from other EU countries, you can qualify for a pro-rata Invalidity Pension.    In those circumstances you will be told that your Irish Invalidity Pension application has been unsuccessful.   Your application will then be sent to the authorities in any other EU country where you have worked before.     This can take some time, often longer than 6 months.

If you qualify for this pro-rata pension, the amount you will receive from Ireland will depend on the percentage of your social insurance record that has been made in Ireland.   For example, if you have 50% of your social insurance from Ireland and 50% from another EU country, you will be 50% of the Irish rate of payment, and 50% of the rate from the other country.    If you have worked the majority of your life in another EU country, you may only be entitled to a small Invalidity Pension from Ireland.    If this is the case you might want to consider some other payment (eg.  Illness Benefit or Disability Allowance).

However, if you have worked for 5 years in Ireland, you will receive the maximum Irish rate, regardless of whether you have worked in other EU countries.

Medical Test

The medical condition to receive Invalidity Pension is that you must be permanently incapable of working in all categories of work.

However, if you can show that you have already been incapable of work for 12 months at the time of your application, you will be considered to be permanently incapable if you can show that you will remain incapable of work for a further 12 months after your application.   This is obviously much easier than showing that you will never be able to work again.

Most people who apply for Invalidity Pension have already been on Illness Benefit for some time before they apply.   Illness Benefit is a short-term payment that you can get for up to two years.   If you have been on Illness Benefit already for 1 year, you should think about applying for Invalidity Pension, as it can take some time for the claim to be processed, and you may need to appeal the decision if you are refused.

Illness Benefit is paid by the last country where you worked.  However, it can be received in any country in the EU.   It is therefore possible to receive your Irish Illness Benefit payment in another EU country, and submit your Invalidity Pension from that country if you wish.

However, if you are self-employed, you need to be careful.  Invalidity Pension is available for self-employed people, but the short-term Illness Benefit is only available to employees.

The medical test requires that you are not capable of any category of work.   Your age, qualifications or experience will not be taken into account.  Only your medical condition will be considered.    This is a much stricter test than for Disability Allowance.   It is possible to apply for Disability Allowance and Invalidity Pension at the same time.   However, you can only receive one payment at a time.   If your Invalidity Pension application is not successful, then you might still be able to qualify for Disability Allowance.   If you are awarded both payments, you can chose which one is better for you.  However, you should note that Disability Allowance is only available if you continue to live in Ireland.

On the other hand, you can receive Invalidity Pension in any country (either inside or outside the EU).

Those who are on Invalidity Pension when they reach the age to receive the old-age pension (currently 66) are automatically placed on the maximum rate of old-age pension, even if they would normally only qualify for a smaller pension based on their social insurance record.

The general rule is that you cannot receive Invalidity Pension at the same time as another social welfare payment.   However, you can receive the payment along with Carers Allowance (they will pay you the full rate of Invalidity Pension and half of the Carers Allowance payment) and also at the same time as Disablement Benefit (this is a payment made to those who have been injured at work, and is not the same as Disability Allowance).

If you receive Invalidity Pension and live entirely by yourself, you can receive a Living Alone Allowance (currenty 19 Euro per week).     You may also be eligible for a Fuel Allowance during the winter (currently 33 Euro per week), although this depends on who is living in your house, and this payment is means tested.   You may also qualify for the Household Benefits Package which provides 35 Euro towards your gas or electric bill and a free TV license.  A telephone allowance of 2.50 Euro per week is also available in some circumstances.

You may be eligible for a Medical Card or housing support.   However, the fact that you have been awarded Invalidity Pension does not automatically qualify you for either of these supports and your income will be taken into consideration.    You may be entitled for Medical Priority on the housing list but the test for this is much stricter than for Invalidity Pension, and you must be able to show that your disability will be significantly improved by the grant of housing to qualify for this.   You may also be entitled to a disability parking badge, but again your Invalidity Pension does not automatically entitle you to this.

Invalidity Pension is taxable income.   No tax will be deducted from your payment, but if you or your spouse have other income, it can affect the amount of tax that you pay.

You cannot work on Invalidity Pension.   If you are on Invalidity Pension and wish to return to work, either on a full-time or part-time basis, you can apply for Partial Capacity Benefit.    In most cases your payment will be reduced by 50%, although it is possible to have your payment reduced by only 25% or even not at all in some circumstances.

Although you can receive Invalidity Pension for the rest of your life, your payment can be reviewed at any time.   If your payment is reviewed, you will be given the opportunity to submit any recent medical evidence that shows that you still meet the conditions.

Many applications for Invalidity Pension are refused.   However, if your claim is refused, you have the right to appeal to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office.   If you need help completing an application form, or if you want information about your rights or help with an appeal, our advisers will be happy to talk to you.

The above information is provided for information purposes only, and without any liability for any error or omission.   It does not purport to constitute legal advice

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