Check your pension entitlements

IFA President Padraig Walshe has urged women working on farms to check out their pension entitlements in the context of the changes and clarifications announced by the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, and ensure that they are in receipt of a contributory pension if entitled to one. He was speaking at the launch by Minister Hanafin, of the information leaflet ‘Working with your spouse: how it affects your social welfare contributions and entitlements’. Following negotiations between IFA and the Department of Social and Family Affairs, and Revenue, on Spouses’ Partnerships, women working on farms in partnership with their spouses can qualify for a non means-tested pension in their own right. Mr. Walshe said: ‘Two key issues have been substantially progressed.  First, the criteria used by the Department and by Revenue in determining whether a partnership exists are now clear and transparent to farm families for the first time. ‘Second, spouses who were effectively farming in a partnership in the past but did not claim to be in a partnership when making their tax and PRSI returns will be eligible to claim partnership status retrospectively. Their case will be investigated by the Department under the spouses partnership criteria.’ The Chairperson of the IFA Farm Family Committee, Mary Sherry said, ‘I am particularly pleased that this retrospection opportunity is being taken on board, because I know of many wives on farms who work as partners in the farm business, but never formally claimed partnership status. These spouses subsequently lost out under the means-tested pension because, for example, they jointly own the farm and this is included in the means test.’ She advised spouses working on farms that they may be eligible to claim partnership status retrospectively to ensure that they have prepared adequate supporting material for the relevant years.