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Case Studies » Pensions » State Pension (Contributory) - from 2015 Annual Report (ref: 2015/20)

Background: The appellant applied for a State Pension (Contributory).  His application was refused as the Deciding Officer held that he did not meet the requirement of having at least 520 paid full-rate social insurance contributions prior to his 66th birthday.  His social insurance record indicated a total of 519 such contributions.  He made an appeal against the decision and stated that he had worked abroad for three months in 2004, as the employee of an Irish aid agency, and had not been awarded any contributions for this period of time.  He submitted that these contributions would have allowed him to meet the qualifying requirement.  The Appeals Officer determined the appeal on a summary basis.

Consideration: Based on an assessment of his social insurance record, the Appeals Officer concluded that the appellant had not been attached to the Irish social insurance system prior to his departure in 2004.  He noted that the evidence indicated that his most recent social insurance attachment was to the system in the United Kingdom, by virtue of having paid 52 contributions there in the 1998/1999 year, the last year for which there was an insurance record available, and prior to his employment by the aid agency in 2004.  He noted that the appellant’s last insurance contributions in Ireland had been recorded for the 1997/1998 year and, accordingly, that he had not been awarded contributions for the time spent working abroad with reference to the provisions of Article 98 of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Contributions and Insurability) Regulations, 1996 (S.I. 312 of 1996).  This legislation provides for consideration of temporary employment in the circumstances specified, which include a requirement to have been ordinarily resident in the State, as follows.


98. (1) Where an insured person who is ordinarily resident in the State is temporarily employed outside the State in the service of an employer who is resident or has a place of business in the State in an employment which, but for the words "in the State" in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of the First Schedule to the Principal Act would be employment within the meaning of that paragraph, the said paragraph shall be construed as if the words "in the State" were deleted therefrom and the provisions of the Principal Act which govern the payment of employment contributions shall apply in respect of that person.


The Appeals Officer noted that there was no evidence that the appellant had been employed in the State from 1999 to the date prior to the commencement of his employment with the aid agency, which would have given him an entitlement to social insurance contributions for the period in question.  He concluded that the decision was correct and that the manner in which the appellant’s claim had been calculated was in line with the provisions of the governing legislation.  He noted that the appellant was in receipt of a State Pension (Non-Contributory) at the maximum rate, including a living alone allowance and a fuel allowance.  He advised that the appellant should be aware that were he to have qualified for a contributory pension, it would be on a reduced basis with reference to his contribution record, and the rate of payment would be significantly lower than the rate of the non-contributory pension which he had been awarded. 


Outcome: Appeal disallowed.