An invalidity pension is paid to a person who is incapable of work due to a long-term illness or disability. In order to qualify a person must be permanently incapable of work and satisfy the contribution conditions. The definition of incapable of work is similar to that for illness benefit.
A person is regarded as permanently incapable of work, if
- he has been continuously incapable of work for a period of one year and is shown to the satisfaction of the deciding officer or appeals officer that he is likely to continue to be incapable of work for at least one year or
- he is incapable of work and evidence is offered to establish to the satisfaction of the deciding officer or appeals officer that the incapacity is of such a nature that the likelihood is that the person will be incapable of work for life.
To be permanently incapable of work, the person must at the relevant date have been continuously incapable of work for at least a year and show to the satisfaction of the Department officers, that he is likely to continue to be incapable of work for at least a further year or be incapable of work and evidence proves to the satisfaction of the Department, that the incapacity is of a nature that the likelihood is that the person will be incapable of working for life.
The matter may be reviewed. The applicant is like to be examine by a doctor under the auspices of the Department. The doctor will make a recommendation and the Department will base its decision on the evidence.
The contribution conditions for an invalidity pension are:
- at least 260 contributions since commencement of employment;
- At least 48 paid or credited in the last year of contributions before the commencement of incapacity.
The pension is a flat rate payment with increases for dependent spouses and children. A greater range of benefits are payable with invalidity pension relative to illness benefits.
A person might be disqualified from invalidity pension if he fails, without good cause
- to comply with certain conditions including in particular,
- failing to submit to medical examination or treatment:
- failure to comply with doctor’s instruction;
- refraining from behavior which hinders recovery,
- failure to meet Department officials and officers.
A person receiving an invalidity pension may not generally work. He may with the consent of the Department for a specified time undertake certain types of work or training including worker training with a view to taking up another occupation, or light work for which no payment is normally made or rehabilitative / occupational therapy type work.
A person may cease to be deemed to be incapable of working for life, if it is shown that he is no longer so incapable.
A person may move to invalidity pension from illness benefit, theoretically after a year, but in practice, generally later. A claim can be made at any time.
A medical referee who is dealing a claim for illness benefit who considers that the person may qualify for an invalidity pension may recommend that the person be transferred to an invalidity pension. The Department notifies the individual concerned, who may make a claim for invalidity pension, accordingly.
A person in receipt of invalidity pension may qualify for household benefits.
Invalidity pension may be payable up to retirement age, subject to complying with the ongoing requirements. A person in receipt of invalidity pension may be required to submit to and attend medical examination and treatment, comply with instructions relating to incapacity issued by a registered medical practitioner, refrain from behaviour likely to hinder his recovery, be available to meet with officers of the Minister regarding his claim.
A person is disqualified, if he is undergoing legal, lawful imprisonment.
The 2011 Act provides for discontinuing the entitlement to the payment of a half-rate qualified child increase where the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the beneficiary has weekly income in excess of a prescribed amount (i.e. €400) in the case of new claimants for Carer’s Benefit, State Pension (Contributory), State Pension (Transition) and Invalidity Pension, with effect from the beginning of July 2012.
It also extended the reference to the ‘‘spouse’’ of the beneficiary, in the case of similar provisions applying to the Incapacity Supplement scheme, to include a reference also to the ‘‘civil partner or cohabitant’’ of the beneficiary.