Benefit and contribution years for social welfare purposes
To qualify for most social insurance payments in Ireland, a person must satisfy two conditions, first have a certain number of PRSI contributions paid since they started work and secondly, they must have a certain number of PRSI contributions paid or credited in a specific period, that is, in the relevant or governing contribution year. The number of contributions needed varies from benefit to benefit.
The Relevant Tax Year or Governing Contribution Year is 2 years before the Benefit Year. So, for claims in 2017, the Relevant Contribution Year is 2015.
One exception to this is Invalidity Pension, the relevant tax year for Invalidity Pension is the year before the benefit year. So, for claims in 2017, the relevant tax year is 2016.
The Benefit Year
The Benefit Year is not the same as the calendar year which begins on 1 January. The Benefit Year is the 12 months beginning on the first Monday of the calendar year. In 2017, the first Monday in January fell on 2 January, therefore, claims made on 1 January would be based on an earlier Contribution Year. In some cases, this could make a difference to the person claiming.
For example, a claim for Jobseeker's Benefit on 1 January 2017 would be based on PRSI contributions in 2014, whereas a claim for Jobseeker's Benefit on 7 January 2017 would be based on PRSI contributions in 2015.
If you are a part-time worker, you may not be making the maximum amount of PRSI contributions each year. See Part-time work and social insurance (PRSI) for more information.