PRSI & SOCIAL WELFARE

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1 PRSI & SOCIAL WELFARE Historical Background PRSI is pay related social insurance, prior to 1979 Social Insurance contributions were not earnings related but operated on a flat rate basis. Significant changed were made in 1979 with regard to the administration of the Social Insurance System in Ireland. The Pay Related Social Insurance System is administered by the Department of Social & Family Affairs which provides a range of Social Welfare Benefits, the Health Contributions are administered by the Department of Health & Children. The 2005 Social Welfare (Consolidated) Act is an important piece of legislation as it brings together in a single act over 90 years of Social Welfare Law. Pay Related Social System An individual can be insured for Social Welfare purposes in one of three ways i.e. as: an employed contributor a self employed contributor a voluntary contribution Employed Contributor Persons are required to pay Social Insurance Contributions based on their level of income. These contributions provide entitlements to benefits under various Social Insurance schemes. Most employees pay the standard rate of contribution known as Class A which provides insurance for a full range of Social Insurance benefits. Employees of the Civil Service and the Public Service are in what is known as modified insurance. They pay a lower rate of contribution and they are insured for certain Social Insurance Benefits only. New entrants to the Public Service i.e. from 6 April 1995 are insurable at Class A. I have attach a Document relating to the difference PRSI classes and the rates of payment, under each class in your handout. Employees aged 16 or over and under 66 are compulsory insured. Employees aged under 16 came within the Scope of Class M i.e. a nil contribution. Employees over 66 years of age come within the Scope of Class K or J i.e. paying health contributions only.

2 Self Employed Contribution Class S is paid by self employed people such as Professional people for example doctors, dentists, solicitors etc certain company directors, people in business on their own account such as farmers, contractors, people with income from rents and/or from investments, employees who are also self employed in a trade or profession. PRSI Class S is payable on income from self employment in addition to the PRSI contributed as an employee. The contribution payable by self-employed contributions provide insurance for social welfare pensions i.e. survivors and old age contributory pensions, maternity benefit, funeral grant, however it does not give one an entitlement to full range of social welfare benefits i.e. retirement pension which is a pension at 65 years of age or to Treatment Benefits i.e. optical and dental. Company Directors with a shareholding of 50% or more with voting rights i.e. having a controlling interest come within the people of Class S. There is no specific provision under the Social Welfare Acts regarding the insurability of Company Directors. In cases where a director holds less than 50% of the voting shares it is more difficult to determine the PRSI rate applicable. In such cases it is advisable to seek a ruling from Scope Section of the Department of Social & Family Affairs. In Class S there is no employers contribution. The employee contribution is 3%, 5% or 5.5% depending on income. The pay band are set out on an attaching document. PRSI for self employed people came into effect on 6 April Voluntary Contribution There is an opportunity available to an individual to make voluntary contributions in order to enhance their benefit at retirement. There are certain conditions to be satisfied in order to qualify to make such contributions, one must be: A former employed contributor. A former self employed contributor. A person who cease to be an employed or a self employed contributor otherwise than by reason of reaching pensionable age and has qualifying contributions of not less than 260 weeks is entitled to make voluntary contributions. There is a time limit for the application i.e. within 12 months of when they last paid PRSI or had a PRSI credit. A former employed person. There is a maximum payment. Where one was previously paying Class A, the maximum payment is 6.6% of 48,800 which is 2,928. a former self employed contribution.

3 The contribution is set at 253 per year. Voluntary Contributions can be paid quarterly, half yearly or annually. The full contribution must be made within 5 months of the end of the relevant year. PRSI Classes As you know PRSI is divided into different classes. There are 11 different PRSI classes. A, B, C, D, E, H, J, K, M, P & S and in addition there are sub divisions for example within Class A there are AO, AX, AL, A1, A2. A8 & A9 i.e. 7 sub divisions. I will give you a brief description of the people covered by each of these main contribution classes.

4 Class A Class B Class C Class D Class E Class H Class J Class K Class M Class P Class S Employees in industrial commercial and service type employment with gross earnings of e38 or more a week, civil and public servants recruited from 6 April 1995 and Community Employment workers form 6 April 1996, Permanent and pensionable civil servants, doctors and dentists employed in the civil service and Gardai, recruited before 6 April Commissioned Army Officers and members of the Army Nursing Service recruited before 6 April Permanent and pensionable employees in the public service, other than those mentioned in Classes B and C, recruited before 6 April Ministers of religion employed by the Church of Ireland Representative Body. Non-Commissioned Officers and enlisted personnel of the Defence Forces. Employees in industrial, commercial and service-type employment with gross earnings of less than 38 a week. People insured for Occupational Injuries Benefits only, for example employees age 66 or over. People taking part in certain FÁS training schemes insurable for Occupational Injuries Benefits only. People in secondary employments who are also full-time civil and public sector employees and paying PRSI Class B, C, D or H in their full-time job. People who are employed as attendants at or in connection with examinations held by the Department of Education and Science. People who are employed as presiding officers or poll clerks at elections. People who pay only the Health Contribution on their income such as occupational pensions, income from employment of certain office holders (for example judges and State solicitors) and income of people aged 66 to 70 previously liable for Class S, People who do not pay PRSI, for example, employees under age 16 and people within Class K who do not pay PRSI (medical card holders, widows and widowers, people aged 70 or over). Self-employed people whose main income comes from share fishing, Self-employed people such as farmers, certain company directors, sole traders and people with income from investments, rents and maintenance where the income is 3,174 or more a year from all sources.

5 Married Couples Liability to self employed contributions applies separately to each spouse. Reckonable Income is therefore calculated separately in each case and each person is liable for his or her own contributions. This applies whether the couple have elected to be assessed to income tax jointly or as single persons. Example In the 2006 contribution year, one spouse has taxable profits from a trade of 30,000 while the other spouse has investment income from Government Stock of 4,000. Self-employment contribution is calculated in each case as follows: Spouse With Trading Income Reckonable income 30,000 Self-employed contribution 5% 1,500 Spouse with Investment Income Reckonable income 4,000 Self-employed contribution 3% 120 But the minimum contribution of 254 applies to the spouse with the Investment Income. Maintenance Payments The person in receipt of the maintenance payments is liable to PRSI but the person who pays the legally enforced payments under a maintenance agreement is entitled to claim back the Social Insurance contribution. This PRSI relief applies to employment, self employment and voluntary contributions. This is covered by Section 23 of the Social Welfare Act 2000 and came into operation on 6 April The payments made under the Maintenance Agreement are also exempt from Health Contributions. Deductions Employees There are deduction, which are deducted prior to the calculation of PRSI from employees such as pension contributions (Revenue approved Schemes and AVC s additional Voluntary Contributions).

6 The contributions vary accordingly to the age of the employee. Age % of Net Relevant Earnings Up to 30 years of age 15% 30 but less than 40 20% 40 but less than 50 25% 50 but less than 55 30% 55 but less than 60 35% 60 years or over 40% The above values are based on a maximum salary of 254,000 per year. I set out hereunder a calculation example: John Murphy earns 450 per week and contributes 55 to a Revenue approved Pension scheme. Calculation of Employee and Employer PRSI contributions under class A. John Murphy s salary after pension is PRSI Class AL Gross Pay = Less Pension = X 0% Levy = X 4% (PRSI Rate) = Employer PRSI Contributions Total Employee PRSI = Gross Pay = Less Pension = X (PRSI Rate) = The Employer must pay on behalf of John Murphy Self Employed Contribution There is a difference in the calculation of taxable income for income tax purposes and reckonable income for self employment contributions. This is best illustrated by an example

7 Example Trading profits for tax purposes 20,000 Losses Forward 4,000 Capital Allowances 1,000 Retirement Annuity 700 Income Tax Social Insurance Trading Profit 20,000 20,000 Less Loss Relief (4,000) - Capital Allowances (1,000) (1,000) Retirement Annuity (700) - For income tax purposes tax income is 14,300 while for social insurance purposes income is 19,000. Lump Sum Termination Payments Statutory Redundancy no PRSI and/or Health Contributions liability. Lump sum payments made to employees on termination of employment are not regarded as reckonable earnings for employment contributions. However, the taxable element of a termination payment attracts the health contributions at 2%. Example An individual receives a lump sum termination payment of 30,000 and is entitled to a tax exemption of 20,000 in respect of the payment. The position regarding PRSI is as follows: Lump Sum 30,000 Tax exemption (20,000) Taxable lump sum 10,000 Employers contribution Nil Health contribution employee 2% 200 Total Liability 200

8 Social Welfare Payments/Benefits There are approximately 50 different benefits/payments from the Department of Social & Family Affairs. There are child related payments, Illness, disability and caring payments, Employment Support payments, payments to widows, widowers and one parent families, payment for retired and for older people, there is a Supplementary Welfare Allowance for low income families. There are also payments which are categorised by the Department of Social & Family Affairs as Extra Benefits for example Bereavement Grant, Free Television Licence, Telephone Allowance and a Fuel Allowance. To help fund all of the above PRSI is payable. Benefits under the various categories are as follows: Payments for Retired/Older People State Pension (Transition) i.e. retirement pension which is payable at 65 years of age State Pension (Contributory) payable at 66 years of age State Pension (Non-Contributory) payable at 66 years of age Pre-Retirement Allowance Widows, Widowers and One-Parent Families Widow s/widower s (Contributory) Pension Deserted Wife s Benefit Widowed Parent Grant Widow s/widower s (Non-Contributory) Pension Deserted Wife s Allowance Prisoner s Wife s Allowance One-Parent Family Payment Child Related Payments Child Benefit Maternity Benefit Adoptive Benefit Health & Safety Benefit Guardian s Payment (Contributory) Guardian s Payment (Non-Contributory) Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance Illness, Disability And Caring Illness Benefit Invalidity Pension Disability Allowance Blind Pension Respite Care Grant Carer s Benefit Carer s Allowance

9 Injury Benefit Incapacity Supplement Constant Attendance Allowance Disablement Benefit Medical Care Scheme Employment Supports Family Income Supplement Farm Assist Back to Work Allowance (Employees) Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Part-time Job Incentive Scheme Back to Education Allowance Extra Benefits Bereavement Grant Widowed Parent Grant Fuel Allowance and the Smokeless Fuel Allowance Electricity Allowance Natural Gas Allowance Bottled Gas Refill Allowance Free Television Licence Telephone Allowance Supplementary Welfare Allowance Supplementary Welfare Allowance In addition there are payments made which are completely funded by the Exchequer, there are child benefit payments, these are made regardless of family means or PRSI payments and Free Travel for people of pensionable age. This does not depend on the individuals PRSI record nor does it require the recipient to be means tested.

10 What Benefits may I get under each PRSI class? Benefit Class Class Class Class Class Class Class Class Class A J S B C D E H P Adoptive Benefit Bereavement Grant Carer s Benefit Disability * Benefit Health and Safety Benefit Invalidity Pension Maternity Benefit Occupational Injuries Benefit Old Age Contributory Pension Orphan s Contributory Allowance Retirement Pension Treatment Benefit Widow s or Widower s Contributory Pension

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