If you are a newly arrived expat to Ireland or are simply thinking about making the move abroad to live and work in Ireland, you may be wondering what type of social welfare system the Irish government has and how you can benefit from it. In Ireland, almost everyone contributes to the Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) and levies for employment, health and training.
You contribute to the Pay Related Social Insurance through your paycheck automatically. You do not have to send in your contributions as your employer ensures that they are taken out of your paycheck, unless you are self employed. If you are not self employed, your employer also contributed to the Pay Related Social Insurance at a rate of 12 percent on all of your earnings. These contributions also include a National Training Fund levy of 0.7 percent.
If you are self employed you are not exempt from Pay Related Social Insurance, but your contribution amount is smaller at only 3 percent. The downside to this is that you do not benefit from having an employer contribution of 12 percent. If you are a company director and your shareholding is more than 50 percent then you are classified as self employed for Pay Related Social Insurance purposes.
In addition to your Pay Related Social Insurance contributions that are taken out of your paycheck, there is also a government levy of 2 percent that is payable on your entire salary with no limit. This levy is referred to as a health contribution.
Almost anyone can benefit from the social welfare system in Ireland, as it is not just for the unemployed. It is important to note that benefits are not retroactive and cannot be backdated. This means that you need to apply for benefits as soon as you are eligible to avoid missing out on payments.
Some of the benefits available under the Irish social welfare system are maternity benefits, single parent family benefits, disability benefits, occupational injury benefits, widow and orphan pension, death benefits and unemployment benefits. Benefits are typically classified in one of three categories: contributory, non-contributory and universal services. If you find that you do not qualify for unemployment benefits or disability, you might see that you are entitled to non-contributory unemployment or disability benefits.
Payments made to you from contributory benefits are calculated based on your pervious year’s earnings. When you receive payments they are made weekly and can be paid by one of four payment methods. You are able to choose which method is best for you and your circumstances.