Westport deputy Michael Ring spoke in the Dáil last week, seeking clarification about the number of people engaged in commercial activity, including the operation of a farm, who had applied for pension entitlements.
The Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Mary Hanafin, replied to Dep Ring by explaining: “Spouses of self-employed contributors, who are actively engaged in a commercial partnership, including the operation of a farm, can apply to the Department to have the commercial partnership formally recognised, and to be treated as an individual self-employed contributor. In this way, both spouses incur a liability to pay Class S self-employed PRSI, which can count towards qualification for State Pension (Contributory ) and other Social Welfare benefits. An information leaflet Working with Your Spouse was published in June 2008.”
According to Minister Hanafin, of the 713 applications to have a commercial partnership retrospectively recognised, received by the Department, 633 are in respect of farm partnerships. To date 202 applicants have been issued with decisions; some 80 per cent have been granted and 20 per cent disallowed.
“No statistical information is maintained on State Pension (Contributory ) applications arising from retrospectively recognised commercial partnerships. Such pension applications are dealt with as part of the normal claim load,” explained the Minister.
Dep Ring has encouraged people to apply for this pension if they feel that they meet the criteria.