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Credited social insurance contributions

Information

If you are an employee, your employer makes Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) deductions from your earnings each week. These PRSI contributions to the Social Insurance Fund can help you to qualify for social insurance payments, such as Jobseeker's Benefit and State Pension (Contributory). If you are out of work you may qualify for a credited contribution.

A credited social insurance contribution is a contribution given to you and recorded on your social insurance record. In some cases you can combine your paid and credited contributions to help you qualify for a social insurance payment.

Rules

To qualify for a credit you must have worked and paid at least one PRSI contribution at PRSI Class A, B, C, D, E, or H and have paid or credited contributions in either of the last two completed tax years. For example, if you are applying for credits in 2014 you must have paid or credited contributions in either 2013 or 2012. If there is a gap of more than two completed tax years you must work and pay contributions for a further 26 weeks before you qualify for credited contributions.

Credits are usually awarded at the same rate as your last paid PRSI contribution. Your credit will only help you to qualify for the social insurance payments appropriate to your PRSI class. For example, if your last paid PRSI contribution was Class A your credits will be for Class A. If however, your last PRSI contribution was at Class B your credits will be for Class B. More information is available about social insurance classes and the social welfare payments for each class.

Pre-entry credits when you start work

When you start work you are automatically given pre-entry credits. These credits are normally given once and cover you from the beginning of the tax year in which you start work, up to the actual date you start work. The credits also cover you for the two previous income tax years. Your pre-entry credits can help you to qualify for the following social insurance payments:

  • Illness Benefit
  • Jobseeker's Benefit
  • Treatment Benefit
  • Maternity Benefit
  • Adoptive Benefit
  • Health and Safety Benefit

Credits during unemployment

You get credits automatically if you are fully unemployed and getting Jobseeker's Benefit. You can continue to get credits if you have used up your entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit and qualify for Jobseeker's Allowance.

You do not automatically get credits if you are getting Jobseeker's Allowance. You must have paid or credited PRSI contributions in either of the last two tax years to get credits with Jobseeker's Allowance.

You can sign on for credits, if you are not entitled to a social welfare payment or you are a qualified adult on your spouse's, civil partner's or cohabitant's social welfare payment as long as you:

  • Are unemployed
  • Available and capable of work
  • Genuinely seeking work
  • Have paid or credited PRSI contributions in either of the last two tax years

You can also sign on for credits if you are on strike from work. You must sign on for credits in your social welfare local office - see 'Where to apply' below.

If you are unemployed and getting credits you can continue to get credits if you take part in one of the following:

  • Back to Education Allowance Scheme (BTEA)
  • Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)
  • SOLAS (formerly FÁS)/Cert/BIM/Teagasc training courses

If you qualify for the BTEA Scheme after signing on for credits you take part on a non-payment basis. This means that you do not get a weekly Back to Education Allowance.

Credits during illness

Credits are awarded if you are getting Illness Benefit, Injury Benefit and Invalidity Pension. If you use up your entitlement to Illness Benefit or Injury Benefit and you qualify for Disablement Benefit you should continue to submit medical certificates to ensure that you continue to get credits. If you have applied for Illness Benefit or Injury Benefit and don't qualify, you may still be entitled to credits if you have paid or credited contributions in the last two tax years.

If you are getting Disability Allowance because you have used up your entitlement to Illness Benefit you will get credits. To get credits while on Disability Allowance you must have paid or credited contributions in the last two years. Public servants who give up work because of ill health can protect their entitlement to certain payments by sending in medical certificates once a year.

You can continue to get credits during illness, if you take part in the Back to Education Allowance Scheme.

Credits and early retirement

If you are getting a State Pension (Transition) you will automatically be given credits. These credits will help maintain your entitlement to Treatment Benefit and can also help you to qualify for State Pension (Contributory).

Credits for carers

If you give up work to care for someone and get Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit you will be awarded credits. You will also get credits if you do not get one of these payment but are on Carer's Leave from work. If however, you avail of unpaid statutory Carer's Leave you must get your employer to complete an application for Carer's Leave 'credits' (pdf) when you return to work.

Credits and homemakers

The Homemaker's Scheme can make it easier for homemakers to qualify for a State Pension (Contributory). If you give up work to look after a child under 12 years of age, or a disabled child, or adult, you can get credits from the date you give up work to the end of that contribution year. If you are out of the workforce for the complete contribution year the complete year is disregarded when you are assessed for a State Pension (Contributory).

In some cases people who are jobsharing may be eligible for homemakers credits if they are job-sharing to look after a child under 12 or a disabled child or adult.

Student credits

Student credits are only given once, and can cover periods in full-time education. To qualify you must have worked and paid PRSI Class A before starting your course. You must have started your course before you reached 23 years of age and before you have taken up full-time insurable employment. You apply for student credits when you are applying for a social insurance payment. You must supply written confirmation from the school or college stating that you were a student there, and the dates you attended. You may also have to show that you have started full-time employment. This can mean submitting your P60 or a letter from your employer.

Credits for maternity leave, adoptive leave, parental leave, Health and Safety Benefit.

You will automatically be awarded credits while you are getting Maternity Benefit, Adoptive Benefit or Health and Safety Benefit.

If however you avail of unpaid statutory maternity leave you must get your employer to complete an application for maternity leave credits (pdf) when you return to work. Similarly, if you avail of unpaid statutory adoptive leave you must get your employer to complete an application for adoptive leave credits (pdf) when you return to work.

If you take parental leave, your employer must contact the Records Section of Department of Social Protection, detailing the weeks you have not worked, so that you can get credits for this time - see 'Where to apply' below.

Volunteer development worker's credits

If you spend time as a volunteer development worker abroad, you may be entitled to credits for the time you spend as a volunteer development worker abroad up to a maximum of five years. Volunteer development worker's credits can help you to maintain your social insurance record.

Change of status credits

You may qualify for change of status credits if you are insurably employed at PRSI Class A and your last paid PRSI contribution was at Class B, C or D. These change of status credits are only taken into account for the State Pension (Contributory). You can get change of status credits back to the beginning of the tax year in which you start making PRSI contributions at the Class A rate and for the previous tax year. A mixture of PRSI contributions at Class A and PRSI contributions at Class B, C or D may help you to qualify for a mixed insurance pro-rata State Pension (Contributory).

How to apply

Credits are automatically awarded if you are getting any of the following payments:

Student credits

You apply for student credits when you are applying for a social insurance payment.

Where to apply

If unemployed or on strike you should sign-on for credits at your social welfare local office.

For unpaid adoptive leave credits apply to:

Adoptive Benefit Section

Department of Social Protection
McCarter's Road
Buncrana
Donegal
Ireland

Tel:(01) 471 5898
Locall:1890 690 690
Homepage: http://www.welfare.ie

For unpaid maternity leave credits apply to:

Maternity Benefit Section

Department of Social Protection
McCarter's Road
Buncrana
Donegal
Ireland

Tel:(01) 471 5898
Locall:1890 690 690
Homepage: http://www.welfare.ie

For parental leave credits apply to:

PRSI Records

Department of Social Protection
McCarter's Road
Ardaravan
Buncrana
Donegal
Ireland

Tel:(01) 471 5898
Locall:1890 690 690
Homepage: http://www.welfare.ie/

For the Homemaker's Scheme apply to:

Homemaker's Scheme Section

Department of Social Protection
McCarter's Road
Buncrana
Donegal
Ireland

Tel:(01) 471 5898
Locall:1890 690 690
Homepage: http://www.welfare.ie


Page updated: 5 February 2014

Language

Gaeilge

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