Social Welfare Law Reform and Pensions Act 2006

SCHEDULE 4

State Pension (non-contributory) — Assessment of Means

“PART 3

Section 153.

STATE PENSION (NON-CONTRIBUTORY)

1. Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), in calculating the means of a person, account shall be taken of the following:

(1) other than in the circumstances and subject to the conditions and for the periods that may be prescribed, the weekly value of property belonging to the person (not being property personally used or enjoyed by the person or a farm of land leased by him or her) which is invested or is otherwise put to profitable use by the person or which, though capable of investment or profitable use is not invested or put to profitable use and the weekly value, calculated in accordance with Table 1 to this Schedule, constitutes the weekly means of a person from that property, but no account shall be taken under any other provision of these Rules of any appropriation of the property for the purpose of current expenditure;

(2) all income in cash (including the net cash value of such non-cash benefits as may be prescribed), and the income received by a qualified child or qualified children that may be prescribed which the person may reasonably expect to receive during the year succeeding the date of calculation, but—

( a) excluding the amounts at references 1 to 19 in Table 2 to this Schedule, and

( b) excluding—

(i) any moneys received by way of maintenance payments (including maintenance payments made to or in respect of a qualified child) in so far as they do not exceed the annual housing costs actually incurred by the person subject to the maximum amount that may be prescribed, together with one-half of any amount of maintenance payment in excess of the amount disregarded in respect of housing costs actually incurred (if any),

(ii) any income arising from a grant or allowance in pursuance of a scheme for promoting the welfare of the blind prepared under section 2 of the Blind Persons Act 1920,

(iii) any moneys received under a scheme administered by the Minister for Agriculture and Food and known as the Early Retirement Scheme from Farming operated under Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2079/92 of 30 July 1992 2 , or Council Regulation (EC) No. 1257/99 of 17 May 1999 3 ,

(iv) any moneys received in respect of rent from a person who resides with the claimant or beneficiary and but for the residence of the person the claimant or beneficiary would reside alone,

(v) any sums arising from the investment or profitable use of property (not being property personally used or enjoyed by the person or a farm of land leased by him or her),

(vi) the prescribed amount of any earnings from employment, subject to the circumstances and conditions that may be prescribed,

(vii) in the case of a blind person, the amount that may be prescribed of his or her earnings from employment of a rehabilitative nature,

(viii) in the case of a blind person, his or her wages or profit from any form of self-employment, except and in so far as the annual amount of those earnings is calculated to exceed an amount made up as follows—

€400, plus €265 if the person’s spouse is living with or is wholly or mainly maintained by him or her or, being a single person, widow or widower, is maintaining wholly or mainly a person over the age of 16 years having the care of one or more than one qualified child who normally resides or reside with the person, plus €133 for each qualified child normally residing with the person of whom account has not already been taken in accordance with this paragraph in calculating the means of another person,

(ix) in the case of a person who has a qualified child who normally resides with him or her, his or her wages or profit from any form of self-employment, except and in so far as the annual amount of those earnings is calculated to exceed €133 for each such child of whom account has not already been taken in accordance with this paragraph in calculating the means of another person,

(x) an amount of €2,540 together with one-half of any amount in excess of €2,540 received under the following schemes:

(I) the Rural Environment Protection Scheme administered by the Minister for Agriculture and Food;

(II) the Special Areas of Conservation Scheme administered by the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs,

and that income shall, in the absence of other means for ascertaining it, be taken to be that actually received during the year immediately before the date of calculation but where that income is attributable to a period before the year immediately preceding the date of calculation but is received in a subsequent year, it shall be regarded for the purposes of this paragraph as having been received in the year to which it is attributable;

(3) the yearly value of any advantage accruing to the person from—

( a) the use or enjoyment of property (other than a domestic dwelling or a farm building owned and occupied, furniture and personal effects) which is personally used or enjoyed by the person, and

( b) a farm of land leased by the person.

2. (1) Subject to paragraph (2), if it appears that any person has, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, directly or indirectly deprived himself or herself of any income or property in order to qualify himself or herself for the receipt of the pension in question, or for the receipt of the pension at a higher rate than that to which he or she would otherwise be entitled, that income or the value of that property shall for the purposes of these Rules be taken to be part of the means of that person.

(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to any assignment—

( a) which is an assignment to a child or children of the assignor, and

( b) which is an assignment of property consisting of a farm of land (together with or without the stock and chattels thereon) and of which the assignor is the owner and the occupier or the occupier only.

(3) In the case of a person to whom paragraph (1) applies, where the income or the value of the property taken to be part of his or her means for the purposes of that paragraph has reduced since the date of calculation, the calculation may be revised, subject to the conditions and in the circumstances that may be prescribed, but regulations made under this paragraph shall not cause the income or the value of the property taken to be part of his or her means to be increased.

(4) For the purposes of this Rule, ‘assignment’ includes any form of conveyance, transfer or other transaction by which a person parts with the ownership or possession of property.

3. (1) Notwithstanding this Schedule and subject to paragraph (2), the gross proceeds derived from the sale of the principal residence of the claimant or beneficiary or, in the case of a married couple who are living together, the spouse of the claimant or beneficiary where the spouse has attained pensionable age, shall not, subject to the limit and under the conditions and circumstances and for the periods that shall be prescribed, be taken into account in calculating the means of the claimant, beneficiary or pensioner.

(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to any sums arising from the investment or profitable use of the gross proceeds derived from the sale of the principal residence.

4. (1) The following apply when calculating the means of a person who is one of a couple living together:

( a) the means of the person shall be taken to be one-half of the total means of the couple;

( b) the person is deemed to be entitled to one-half of all property to which the person or the other member of the couple is entitled or to which the person and the other member of the couple are jointly entitled;

( c) for the purposes of this Rule, the means of each member of the couple shall first be determined in accordance with these Rules (each being regarded as an applicant for a pension or a pension at a higher rate, as the case may be) and the total means shall be the sum of the means of each member as so determined;

( d) where one member of the couple dies, nothing which was reckoned for the purposes of pension, or would (if the deceased member had been entitled to receive any pension) have been so reckoned, as means of the deceased member shall be so reckoned as means of the surviving member for the purpose of reducing the pension of the surviving member if any payment in respect of that pension was made before the death of the deceased member or becomes payable in respect of a period before or part of which was before that death.

(2) In this Rule ‘couple’ means a married couple who are living together or a man and woman who are not married to each other but are cohabiting as husband and wife.

(3) In calculating the means of a person who is one of a married couple living apart from his or her spouse, any sum paid by him or her to his or her spouse under a separation order shall be deducted in calculating his or her means.

5. (1) Notwithstanding these Rules, where—

( a) a State pension (non-contributory) is in course of payment to or in respect of a person or the spouse of the person or both of them, and

( b) a pension or pensions (in this Rule referred to as ‘the other pension’), not being a State pension (non-contributory), is in course of payment to or in respect of the person or the spouse of the person or both of them,

in calculating the means of the person or of the spouse or of both of them for the purposes of State pension (non-contributory), any portion of the amount of an increase in the other pension or the aggregate increase, where more than one increase in the other pension has occurred, which, if it were reckoned as means, would result in a reduction in the amount of the pension or combined pensions (as the case may be) which would be greater than the amount by which the other pension has been increased, shall not be reckoned as means.

(2) Any amount excluded from the calculation of means in accordance with reference 16 in Table 2 to this Schedule shall be subject to Rule 5(1).

6. Notwithstanding this Schedule, the amount of any allowance, special allowance, dependent’s allowance, disability pension or wound pension under the Army Pensions Acts 1923 to 1980, or pension under the Military Service Pensions Acts 1924 to 1964, arising out of service in the period commencing on 23 April 1916 and ending on 30 September 1923, or pension under the Connaught Rangers (Pensions) Acts 1936 to 1964, shall be disregarded in the calculation of means for the purposes of Chapter 4 of Part 3.

7. The Minister may by regulations vary Rule 1(1) and Table 1 to this Schedule in relation to the calculation of the weekly value of property belonging to a person.”.