Social Security in Dublin


The social welfare system in Ireland is divided into three main types of payments.

  • Social insurance payments
  • Means-tested payments
  • Universal payments

With all social welfare payments, you must satisfy specific personal circumstances that are set out in the rules for each scheme. For example, to claim the "One-Parent Family Payment"", you must be parenting alone and therefore not cohabiting. As well as satisfying the necessary circumstantial criteria, other rules also apply.

Since May 2004, you must be habitually resident to qualify for social assistance payments in Ireland.

Find out more about the residency requirements for social assistance payments in Ireland

PPS in Ireland

Personal Public Service Number (PPS number or RSI number) is a unique reference number that helps to you to gain access to social welfare benefits, public services, and information.

Without this number, you will pay "emergency taxes ". This mean that you will pay twice the tax for few weeks before you get it back.

You cannot apply for a PPS Number before your arrival in Ireland. You must already be living in Ireland in order to apply for a PPS Number. You will be asked to produce evidence of identity and residence in Ireland

Your local Social Welfare office will help you for the registration process. Have a look on this website to find it:

If you are not Irish, you will need to produce the following documents when getting a PPS number:

  • Passport or national identity card
  • Immigration Card.
  • Evidence of your Irish address, such as a household bill (ESB, telephone, gas, etc.) in your name

For all relevant questions, have a look on Welfare.

Social Security Contributions in Ireland

The Social Insurance Fund is made up of a current account and an investment account managed by the Minister for Social Protection and the Minister for Finance, respectively.

The current account consists of monies collected from people in employment. This money is then used to fund social insurance payments.

Payments based on your social insurance contributions include, among others:

  • Jobseeker's Benefit
  • Illness Benefit
  • Maternity Benefit
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Carer's Benefit
  • State Pension (Contributory)

The payment of social insurance is generally compulsory. Most employers and employees (over 16 years of age and under 66) pay social insurance (PRSI) contributions into the national Social Insurance Fund. The term "insurable employment" is used to describe employment that is liable for social insurance contributions.

PRSI is calculated on reckonable pay, meaning the gross money pay plus notional pay.

Social Insurance Classes

Social insurance contributions are divided into different categories, known as classes. The rate of contribution is determined by the nature of your work. Generally, the higher the salary, the higher the contribution, the better access to the full range of social insurance payments. Class A offers the full range of social insurance payments.

More on social insurance classes:

Means-Tested Parments

Means-tested payments are designed for people who do not have enough PRSI contributions to qualify for the equivalent social insurance-based payments. An example would be a person who becomes unemployed, applies for Jobseeker's Benefit but fails to qualify because he or she does not have enough social insurance contributions. He or she can apply for Jobseeker's Allowance instead, which is the means-tested equivalent payment.

A means test is where the Department of Social Protection examines all your sources of income to see whether they fall below a certain level. How your means are tested varies from payment to payment. In some instances, you are allowed a certain amount of income or savings before your entitlement to a payment is affected. The rules that determine how much you can or cannot have depended on the payment you apply for and are often referred to as income disregards.

Where to apply for Irish Social Security

Department of Social Protection
Social Welfare Services, College Road, Sligo, Ireland
Tel: (071) 915 7100
Homepage: /
International Pension Centre / Department for Work and Pensions
Tel: +44 191 218 7777
Fax: +44 191 218 7381

Update 14/10/2017


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