Credited social insurance contributions
If you are working, your employer pays a Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contribution to the Social Insurance Fund for you each week. Depending on how much you earn, your employer may also deduct PRSI from your wages. These PRSI contributions can help you to qualify for social insurance payments, such as Jobseeker's Benefit and the State Pension (Contributory).
If you are not working, the Department of Social Protection can give you a weekly credited social insurance contribution, but you must meet certain conditions to qualify. Credited contributions can be used with your PRSI contributions to help you qualify for a social insurance payment.
PRSI contributions are sometimes called ‘paid contributions’. Credited contributions are also called 'credits’.
Record of your contributions
Your PRSI and credited contributions are recorded on your social insurance record by the Department of Social Protection. You can request your record of contributions, known as a ‘Contribution Statement’ on MyWelfare.ie.
Some people can also choose to pay voluntary contributions, which are different to credited contributions.
How to qualify for credited contributions
To qualify for a credited contribution, you usually must meet the following conditions.
You must have worked and have at least one paid PRSI contribution at any of the following PRSI classes:
You must have paid or credited contributions in either of the last 2 completed tax years. For example, if you are applying for credits in 2023, you must have paid or credited contributions in either 2022 or 2021.
If it's been more than 2 completed tax years since you had contributions, you'll need to work and pay PRSI for a further 26 weeks before you qualify for credited contributions.
The rules for getting credited contributions are set out in SI No. 312 of 1996.
Rate of credited contribution
Credited contributions are usually given at the same rate as your last paid PRSI contribution. This means your credit can only help you qualify for the social insurance payments paid to your PRSI class.
For example, if your last paid PRSI contribution was Class A your credits will also be for Class A. If it was for Class B, your credits will be for Class B.
Find out about the social welfare payments for each PRSI Class.
Types of credits you can get
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 contributions in either of the last 2 tax years to get credits with Jobseeker's Allowance.
If you are unemployed and don’t qualify for a jobseeker’s payment, you can still sign on for credits, if you meet the qualifying conditions.
Signing on for credits
You can sign on for credits, if you don’t qualify for a jobseeker’s payment or you are a qualified adult on your spouse's, civil partner's or cohabitant's social welfare payment and meet the qualifying conditions.
To sign on for unemployment credits, you must have paid or credited contributions in either of the last 2 tax years and be:
- Available and capable of work
- Genuinely seeking work
If you are on strike from work, you can sign on for credits.
You must sign on for credits in your Intreo centre or 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 the following schemes:
You can get credits if you take part in an approved training course under the following organisations:
- Certain Education and Training Boards (ETB’s)
- National Tourism Development Authority
- Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM)
The Department of Social Protection provides information on training programmes where you can continue to get credits.
If you qualify for the BTEA Scheme after signing on for credits, you do not get a weekly Back to Education Allowance.
Pre-entry credits when you start work
When you start work you are automatically given pre-entry credits. These credits are normally given once. They 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 2 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
- Paternity Benefit
- Parent's Benefit
- Adoptive Benefit
- Health and Safety Benefit
Pre-entry credits can also help you qualify for the State Pension (Contributory). However, the credits will only cover you from the beginning of the tax year in which you start to work up to the actual date you start work.
Pre-entry credits are not given at Class B, C, D, J and S.
Credits during illness
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 continue to get credits.
If you have applied for Illness Benefit or Injury Benefit and don't qualify because you do not meet the PRSI requirements, you may still be entitled to credits if you have paid or credited contributions in the last 2 tax years. You must submit medical certificates to get credits.
You can continue to get credits during illness if you take part in the Back to Education Allowance Scheme.
You can get credits while on Disability Allowance, if you have paid or credited contributions in the last 2 years. If you are getting Disability Allowance because you have used up your entitlement to Illness Benefit, you will get credits.
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.
Credits for carers
If you take unpaid statutory carer's leave from work and do not get Carer’s Allowance or Benefit, you can still be awarded credits for up to 104 weeks. Your employer must complete an application for carer's leave 'credits' when you return to work.
Carer’s Leave Credits
People who take Carer’s Leave (temporary unpaid leave from work to care for someone) but do not get Carer’s Benefit or Carer’s Allowance qualify for Carer’s Leave credits for each week of Carer’s Leave up to a maximum of 104 weeks. The person should ask their employer to complete the application form for Carer’s Leave credits on their return to work.
Credits and homemakers
The Homemaker's Scheme can make it easier for homemakers to qualify for a State Pension (Contributory). Under the Scheme, up to 20 years of caring for a qualified child or adult can be disregarded when working out your yearly average contributions for a state pension.
The Scheme only covers complete years, except for the year you start and finish your homemaking period.
Student credits are only given once and cover periods when you are in full-time education.
To qualify, you must have:
- Worked and paid PRSI Class A before starting your course
- Started your course before you reached 23 years
- Started before you took up full-time insurable employment
You apply for student credits when you apply for a social insurance payment. Student Credits can be used to help you qualify for short-term payments only (for example, Illness Benefit and Jobseeker's Benefit). You provide written confirmation from the school or college that you were a student there, and the dates you attended.
Credits for different types of leave
You will automatically be awarded credits when you are getting Maternity Benefit, Paternity Benefit, Adoptive Benefit, Parent's Benefit or Health and Safety Benefit.
Volunteer development worker's credits
You can get Volunteer development worker's credits for the time you spend as a volunteer development worker abroad, up to a maximum of 5 years.
Change of status credits
You may qualify for change of status credits, if you are 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).
Where to apply
If unemployed or on strike you should sign-on for credits at your Intreo centre or social welfare local office.
For unpaid adoptive leave credits apply to:
For unpaid maternity leave credits apply to:
For parental leave credits apply to:
For the Homemaker's Scheme apply to: