Your Questions Answered
I’ve heard about changes to the PRSI Voluntary Contribution Scheme – what does this mean and will it affect me as a carer?
If you’ve had to give up work, or take extended periods away from work because of your caring responsibilities, your entitlement to a State Pension (Contributory) may be affected. There are a number of schemes in place to help protect a person’s entitlement to a State Pension, one of which is the Voluntary Contribution Scheme. Voluntary contributions are PRSI contributions you can opt to pay if you are between the age of 16 and 66 and are no longer covered by compulsory PRSI by way of insurable employment and/or self-employment. On February 6th Minister Varadkar announced positive changes to the Voluntary Contribution Scheme. One of these changes was increasing the period a person can apply to make voluntary contributions from 1 to 5 years. This means that carers who have had to give up work to provide care can, if they wish, apply to pay voluntary contributions for up to 5 years after their last paid contribution made through employment. If you are getting a social welfare payment such as Carer’s Allowance or signing for credits you may get credited contributions which will also keep your social insurance record up to date so there is no need to pay voluntary contributions.
How to apply: To become a voluntary contributor, you must complete application form VC1 and return it to the Voluntary Contributions Section, Department of Social Protection, Cork Road, Waterford. LoCall 1890 690 690
Family Carers Ireland has prepared a useful guide to help carers understand the pension system which can be downloaded here.