Dáil Éireann - Volume 418 - 29 April, 1992

Written Answers. - Irish/UK Pensions.

[2015] 63. Mr. J. Mitchell asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will outline the general rules governing the amount of Irish pension payable to old age pensioners living in Ireland who are in receipt of a UK pension; if he will further outline whether a full UK pension disqualifies Irish residents from any Irish contributory pension even though they have a contribution record in Ireland; if there is some formula for combining Irish pensions and UK pensions; if so, if this formula ensures that the full amount received from the two pensions is no less than would be received from the full Irish contributory pension; if, in any circumstances, the combination of part Irish pension and part UK pension can exceed the total of a full Irish contributory pension.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. McCreevy): The Deputy has asked his question in four parts, and the reply deals with each in turn. First, the general rules governing the amount of Irish pension payable to old age pensioners living in Ireland who are in receipt of UK pension; one of two types of Irish pension may be payable in this circumstance: (a) a contributory (social insurance) old age or retirement pension which is decided on the basis of the claimant's social insurance record, or (b) a non-contributory (social assistance) old age pension which is decided on the basis of a means test under which the UK pension is included among the claimant's means. People with a UK pension who also satisfy the contribution conditions for Irish contributory pension are entitled to that person without abatement. Those who have insufficient Irish social insurance contributions to qualify for a minimum Irish contributory pension might be entitled under EC regulations to a pro-rata Irish pension in addition to the UK pension. The pro-rata pension is based on the proportion of the pensioners' Irish insurance contributions relative to their total social insurance contributions in Ireland and any other [2016] EC country (including UK). Similar arrangements apply in relation to any country with which Ireland has a reciprocal agreement.

Second, whether a full UK pension disqualifies Irish residents from any Irish contributory pension even though they have a contribution record in Ireland: a person who has been insured in more than one member state in the EC may be entitled to a pension, full or partial, from each of those States, provided the particular qualifying conditions for pension entitlement applicable in each State are satisfied. Receipt of a full rate UK pension, or any other pension, has no bearing on Irish contributory pension entitlement. Claimants who satisfy the contribution conditions for Irish old age contributory-retirement pension are entitled to an Irish contributory pension.

Third, the formula for combining Irish pensions and UK pensions, and whether this ensures that the full amount received from the two pensions is no less than would be received from the full Irish contributory pension: there is no formula for combining Irish and UK pensions. However, there is a formula for combining insurance records in Ireland and the UK (and in any other EC State or countries with reciprocal agreements with Ireland), if pensioners have insufficient contributions to qualify for an Irish contributory pension.

In this circumstance, pension is calculated in proportion to the periods of insurance completed in Ireland relative to the total combined insurance in any relevant State.

Fourth, the circumstances, if any, where the combination of part Irish pension and part UK pension can exceed the total of a full Irish contributory pension: it is quite possible that a combination of both Irish and UK pensions, whether standard or EC pro-rata contributory pension, would exceed a full Irish contributory old age pension.

I would draw the Deputy's attention to a booklet published by my Department, entitled Social Security Rights in the EC. This booklet is a summary guide to how EC regulations affect all relevant social [2017] security entitlements, including retirement and old age contributory pensions.

If the Deputy has any particular case in mind, I would be pleased to have it investigated on receipt of the details.