Social insurance for self-employed persons was introduced from April 1988. Social welfare legislation provides that where a person who became a self-employed contributor on the 6th April, 1988 and who at any time prior to that date was an employed contributor, the date on which the person first entered into insurance (or the 6 April 1988 if more favourable to them) shall be regarded as their date of entry into insurance. This provides for a more favourable calculation method for self employed people, where earlier periods of insured employment do not affect the yearly average achievable from their self employment.
As periods of self-employment prior to April 1988 are not insurable under Social Welfare legislation, they cannot be taken into account when calculating a person's pension entitlement. Whether other types of social insurance contributions for periods prior to 1988 are deemed reckonable for pension entitlement purposes depends on the nature of those contributions and the person's social insurance record.
A person may apply for the voluntary contributions scheme to help maintain their social insurance record, provided they satisfy the qualifying conditions for that scheme. Eligible voluntary contributions are reckonable for state pension (contributory) purposes. Information on the voluntary contributory scheme is available on www.welfare.ie or by writing to the Client Eligibility Services section of my Department at Cork Road, Waterford.
I want to assure the Deputy that when determining a person’s eligibility for state pension (contributory), the deciding officer will award the most financially beneficial payment, taking account of their entire employment history, in accordance with the governing legislative provisions.
I hope that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.