Irish Life Health
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State Benefits

State benefits when you retire
When you retire, the State makes some additional benefits available to you:

  • The State Pension (Contributory)
  • Contributory Widow's, Widower's and Surviving Civil Partner's Pension
  • Household benefits
  • Free travel
  • Medical benefits

State Pension (Contributory)
The State Pension (Contributory) is paid to people from the age of 66 who have enough social insurance contributions.

The State Contributory Pension is not means tested. But if you do not qualify, an alternative Non-Contributory State Pension, which is means tested, is available.

There are also additional increases for qualified adult dependants but these are means tested.

The current maximum rate of the State Contributory Pension is €248.30 per week and the current minimum rate is €99.20 per week. You do not pay the Universal Social Charge on this pension.

Changes to when the State Pension will be paid

From 1 January 2014: from age 66
From 1 January 2021: from age 67
From 1 January 2028: from age 68

Source: Department of Social Protection, correct as of February 2019.

You should apply to the Department of Social Protection for your State Pension at least 3 months before you reach age 66.

However if you paid social insurance contributions in more than one country, you should apply 6 months before your 66th birthday.

Full details regarding the State Pension are available in the Welfare website.

Contributory Widow's, Widower's and Surviving Civil Partner's Pension
To qualify for this pension you must of course, be a widow, widower or surviving civil partner and you must not be cohabiting with another person. You do not pay the Universal Social Charge (USC) on this pension.

For more information on the State Contributory pension visit the Welfare website.
For more information regarding the State Non Contributory pension visit the Welfare website.

Household benefits
If you satisfy a number of conditions you may also qualify for the Household Benefits Package. There are two allowances in the Household Benefits Package:

1. The Electricity Allowance or Natural Gas Allowance or Cash Electricity Allowance or Cash Gas Allowance
2. The Free Television Licence

Full details regarding the household benefits are available here.

Free travel
The Free Travel Scheme operated by the Department of Social Protection allows people who are aged 66 or over and who are permanently residing in the State, to travel free of charge on most CIE public transport services, LUAS, as well as on the public transport services of a large number of private operators in various parts of the country. Certain incapacitated people under age 66 are also entitled to free travel.

Full details regarding free travel are available in the Welfare website.

Medical benefits
A medical card may be obtained by anybody at age 70 on a means tested basis. The HSE updated the Medical Card/GP Visit Card National Assessment Guidelines for people aged 70 years and over (pdf) in April 2013.

This information is only an outline of some State benefits available to you. For more information please see some additional resources available: