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May 6, 2020

The state widow’s pension


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Thankfully in Ireland aside from any additional life protection that Widow’s, Widower’s of surviving civil partner’s had in place to plan for the loss of income upon death, the State also provides two forms of pensions to persons who are bereaved, namely a contributory and non-contributory pension. Today’s insight will discuss the Contributory pension in depth.

Am I entitled to the Widow’s pension?

The following criteria must be satisfied in order to qualify:

1. You have become widowed or become a surviving civil partner of a registered civil partnership.

2. You have not remarried or entered into a registered civil partnership.

3. You are not cohabiting with someone else; and,

4. You satisfy the necessary PRSI payment conditions. Employment classes A, S, B and D contributions all qualify for this pension. The conditions can be satisfied by the deceased’s PRSI record or that of their surviving spouse or civil partner’s.

I am in receipt of an income; do I still qualify for the Widow’s pension?

Yes. Any income you are in receipt of will not impact your entitlement to the state Widow’s Contributory Pension. The pension is also not means tested. If you do not have an entitlement to a Widow’s Contributory Pension, you could apply for a Widow’s Non-Contributory Pension, the latter being means tested.

Is the Widow’s pension taxable?

The pension is not liable to USC or PRSI, but income tax does apply. PAYE is not deducted at source, however if the survivor is in receipt of another income their income tax allowance and credits will be adjusted to collect the income tax due from the Widow’s pension.  

Can I receive the Widow’s Pension indefinitely or is it only payable for a fixed period?

The pension will cease being payable if the individual marries or remarries, starts cohabiting or enters a new civil partnership. However, the pension will continue to be payable as long as the individual remains a widow/widower or a surviving civil partner.

What is the weekly Widow’s pension payment?

The payment amount you would receive is dependent upon compliment with two criteria:

1. That at least 260 PRSI contributions were paid up to the date of death or before the deceased had reached pension age, whichever of the two are earlier And

2. A yearly average of either 39 paid contributions in the 3 or 5 years before death were made or before pension age. The earliest of the two is chosen. This is known as the ‘Short yearly average’, or at least 24 paid contributions from the first year of paying PRSI contributions. Again, this would be the earlier of the time period mentioned in section A above. This is known as the ‘Long Yearly average’.

PRSI ContributionsAged under 66Aged 66 or over
48 or more PRSI contributions€208.50€248.30
36 – 47 PRSI contributions€205.40€243.40
24 – 35 PRSI contributions€202.90€237.70

The weekly Widow’s pension payment can be collected from your local post office upon presentation of your Social Services card or Public Services Card or be paid directly into your bank account.

Where do I apply for the Widow’s pension?

Applications for the Widows, Widower’s and Surviving Civil partner’s pension are made to the Department of Social Protection.

At Aspire Wealth Management we are well attuned to reviewing a person’s full financial picture and delivering value for our clients beyond state and employer pension payments. Through our “Aspire Life Plan™” we ensure that your personal future arrangements are tailored to your specific needs and ensure that you can plan for having money beyond your daily needs and into your future as you age. We can be reached at 01-8455827 where we can explain that tailoring in more detail.

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