Voluntary Contributions

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What are Voluntary Contributions and why would I want to pay them?

Voluntary Contributions are PRSI contributions you can opt to pay if you are between the age of 16 and 66 and are no longer covered by compulsory PRSI by way of insurable employment, self-employment, or credited contributions.

Voluntary contributions can help maintain your social insurance record and help you to qualify for social insurance payments in the future.

Is it compulsory to pay Voluntary Contributions?

No. There is no legal require requirement to pay Voluntary Contributions if you are outside of insurable employment or not receiving a Credit.

Are there any conditions I have to meet to be eligible to pay VCs?

Yes.  To pay Voluntary Contributions you have to meet three criteria: have paid at least 260 weeks PRSI in either employment or self employment;
you must apply to make your voluntary contribution within 12 months after the end of the last completed tax year (contribution year) during which you last paid compulsory insurance or you were last awarded a credited contribution; agree to pay voluntary contributions from the start of the contribution week that follows the week in which you leave compulsory insurance.

How much would I have to pay?

There are three rates of voluntary contributions.  The rate of voluntary contribution you pay is the same as the last PRSI contribution paid or credited by you.

If you paid PRSI at Class A, E or H you pay a high rate contribution of 6.6% of your reckonable income in the previous tax year, subject to a minimum payment of €317 and maximum payment of €3,075.60.

If you paid PRSI at Class B, C or D you pay a low rate contribution of 2.6% of your reckonable income in the previous tax year, subject to a minimum payment of €126 and maximum payment of €1,211.60.

If you have paid PRSI at Class S, you pay a special flat rate €253.

Am I entitled to different social insurance payments depending on the rate of Voluntary Contributions that I have to pay?

Yes.

High rate Contributions cover:

  • State Pension (Transition)
  • State Pension (Contributory)
  • Widow’s or Widower’s Contributory Pension
  • Guardian’s Payment

Low rate Contributions cover:

  • Widow’s or Widower’s Contributory Pension
  • Guardian’s Payment (Contributory)
  • Bereavement Grant

Special rate Contributions cover:

  • State Pension (Contributory)
  • Widow’s or Widower’s Contributory Pension
  • Guardian’s Payment (Contributory)
  • Bereavement Grant

So the Social Insurance benefits I would be entitled to are not the the same as for the VDW Scheme?

Correct.  Voluntary contributions cover for long-term benefits, such as pensions. They do not cover short-term benefits such as those for illness, unemployment,maternity, occupational injuries and dental and optical treatment.

How do I apply to pay VCs?

You need to complete form VC1 and send it to the Voluntary Contributions Section of the Department of Social Protection.

What is Comhlámh’s role with regard to VCs?

Comhlámh does not have an explicit role with regard to Voluntary Contributions.  We raise awareness amongst volunteers and development workers that they may be an option to consider in protecting your social welfare rights while you are on assignment.

I have more questions, who can I talk to?

Voluntary Contributions Section, Department of Social Protection.
Telephone: (051) 356000/01 704 3000
Fax: (051) 877838
E-mail: volcons@welfare.ie

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