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Old Age Pension

Top 10 Irish State Pensions Questions Answered

December 4, 2023

As the years go by and retirement approaches, it's natural to have questions about your financial security, especially when it comes to your pension. The Irish state pension system, often referred to as the Old Age Pension, is a cornerstone of financial support for retirees in Ireland. It offers a lifeline, providing an income source once you’ve reached the age of eligibility.

This guide is designed to address the top ten questions that people commonly have about the Irish state pension. Whether you're on the verge of retirement, planning for the future, or simply curious about what lies ahead, understanding the intricacies of the state pension system is key. With a comprehensive understanding of the Irish state pension, you'll be better equipped to plan for your golden years, whether that means addressing gaps in your PRSI (Pay-Related Social Insurance) contributions, exploring supplementary benefits like the Living Alone Increase and Fuel Allowance, or seeking professional advice to make the most of the available support and benefits. Your financial well-being in retirement is a critical consideration, and by delving into these top ten state pension questions, you can embark on your retirement journey with confidence and financial security.

1. Who is Eligible for the Irish State Pension?

The Irish State Pension, commonly known as the Old Age Pension, is available to individuals who have reached the official retirement age of 66 years of age. To qualify, you must also have a certain number of PRSI (Pay-Related Social Insurance) contributions.

Eligibility is based on your PRSI record. To receive the maximum Contributory State Pension, you must have a sufficient number of contributions, currently 2080. The Total Contributions Approach is used by the Department of Social Protection to assess the number of PRSI contributions made over the course of your employment career.

The amount you will receive in your weekly State Pension payments is based on your amount of PRSI Contributions. 

2. How Much Will I Receive from the State Pension?

The amount you receive from the state pension is determined by your PRSI contributions. The pension is divided into two parts: the Contributory State Pension and the Non-Contributory State Pension. The Contributory Pension is based on your PRSI contributions and can provide a higher income. Non-contributory pensions are means-tested and available to those who do not qualify for the Contributory Pension. In Ireland, the most an individual can receive from their State Pension is €265.30 per week for Contributory and €254 per week for Non-Contributory. 

However, the 2024 Budget announced that as of January 2024, the maximum amount an individual can receive from both State Pensions will increase by €12 per week. 

3. How Can I Check My State Pension Eligibility and Contributions?

To check your eligibility and contributions, you can request your PRSI record from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. This record will show the number of contributions you've made and your eligibility status.

4. Can I Increase My State Pension Entitlement?

Yes, it is possible to increase your state pension entitlement. If you have gaps in your PRSI contributions, you can consider voluntary contributions or credited contributions to fill these gaps. This can boost your overall entitlement.

5. What Happens If I Have Gaps in My PRSI Contributions?

Gaps in your PRSI contributions can affect your eligibility for the Contributory State Pension. Voluntary contributions, which can be made by individuals not in compulsory PRSI employment, allow you to address these gaps and protect your pension entitlement.

6. When Can I Claim My State Pension?

You can apply for your State Pension up to three months before you reach 66 years old, the age of eligibility. The application process is straightforward, and you can typically start receiving your pension once you're eligible.

7. Does the State Pension Amount Change with Age?

As previously mentioned, the maximum amount an individual can receive from the State Pension is €265.30 per week for Contributory and €254 per week for Non-Contributory. However, these amounts go up to €275.30 and €264 per week respectively once you reach the age of 80. Again, this amount for individuals who reach the age of 80 will also increase by €12 in January 2024. 

8. Can I Receive Additional Benefits Alongside My State Pension?

Several additional benefits can complement your state pension, depending on your circumstances. These supplementary benefits aim to provide financial support and assistance with various aspects of your daily life.

One such benefit is the Living Alone Increase. If you're a pensioner living alone, you may be eligible for this additional payment. It recognizes the increased costs that individuals living independently may face and offers extra financial support to help cover these expenses.

Another significant benefit is the Fuel Allowance, which assists pensioners with heating costs during the colder months. The Fuel Allowance is particularly valuable for ensuring that older individuals can adequately heat their homes during the winter.

Additionally, medical cardholders may be entitled to a range of healthcare benefits, which can help alleviate the burden of medical expenses, including prescription charges and doctor's visits. The medical card is means-tested and can be a valuable addition to your state pension benefits.

9. How Does the State Pension Affect Taxation?

The state pension is taxable income. However, it's essential to understand that not all pensioners will pay income tax on their State Pension, as it depends on their total income and tax credits. If the State Pension is your only source of retirement income then you will not pay tax on it. 

10. What Happens to My State Pension in the Event of My Passing?

In the unfortunate event of a pensioner's passing, the state pension may be transferred to a surviving spouse or civil partner for a duration of 6 weeks after the recipient’s passing. This transfer depends on the surviving partner's age and other circumstances. It's important to inform the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in such situations.


Understanding the Irish State Pension is crucial for a secure and comfortable retirement. It ensures you're well-prepared for your senior years and can make the most of the available support and benefits. As the state pension system evolves, staying informed and planning ahead is essential. 

Whether it's addressing gaps in your PRSI contributions or exploring additional benefits, proper planning can significantly impact your financial well-being in retirement. Seeking advice from financial professionals or the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection can provide further guidance tailored to your unique situation. By taking the time to address these top ten state pension questions, you can navigate your retirement journey with confidence and financial security.

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