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For Written Answer on : 15/11/2022
Question Number(s): 406 Question Reference(s): 56691/22
Department: Social Protection
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Minister for Social Protection the criteria necessary for an application to be successful under the farm spouses scheme in order for the spouse of a farmer to qualify in their own right for the State pension (contributory); the proofs would be required in cases in which no formal proof of a partnership exists in order for a partnership to be recognised for the State pension (contributory) to be paid; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


Currently, self-employed social insurance contributors, including men and women farmers, can qualify for a wide range of benefits, including the State Pension (Contributory).

Since 2014, following amendments to the relevant provisions of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 to transpose EU Directive 2010/41/EU on the application of equal treatment between men and women engaged in self-employment activity, the spouse or civil partner of a self-employed person can benefit from social protection in accordance with the qualifying criteria set in national law.

The provisions mean that liability for social insurance contributions has been extended to the spouses and civil partners of self-employed contributors who are not formal business partners or employees, where they perform the same, or ancillary tasks.  This arrangement can apply where the family members operate a business in partnership, including farming, and where they share profits of the business or farm. 

The liability of spouses and civil partners to make self-employment contributions is subject to the established provisions that apply to all self-employed contributors.  Each business partner is insurable as a self-employed contributor in their own right, provided that each partner reaches the annual reckonable income threshold of €5,000.  However, Section 110 (1) of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005 restates a condition in earlier social welfare legislation that in order to qualify for a State Pension (Contributory) a self-employed contributor must have paid at least one year’s self-employment contributions prior to reaching age 66.  It is important that all farm partnerships are registered on the Register of Farm Partnerships that is maintained by the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine.

If there is a particular case that the Deputy has a concern about, my officials would be happy to examine it and advise accordingly.  

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.