Paying social insurance can help you qualify for social insurance payments, such as the State Pension (Contributory). If you are an employee Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) deductions are made from your earnings each week.

If you are no longer an employee or if you are self-employed and you are no longer making compulsory PRSI contributions, you can opt to make voluntary contributions.

You can choose to pay voluntary contributions if you are under 66 and if you

  • Are no longer covered by compulsory PRSI in Ireland
  • Are no longer covered by PRSI on a compulsory or voluntary basis in another EU country
  • Are working outside the EU and not subject to Irish or EU social insurance contributions you may also opt to pay voluntary contributions.

To be eligible to make voluntary contributions you must

  • Have at least 520 PRSI contributions paid under compulsory insurance in either employment or self-employment
  • Apply to make your voluntary contribution within 60 months (5 years) of 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

There are three different rates of voluntary contributions. The rate you pay is based on the rate of the PRSI contribution paid or credited by you. The amount of voluntary contribution you pay in any contribution year is a percentage of your reckonable income in the previous tax year. Depending on the voluntary contribution discharged you will be entitled to different social insurance payments.




Social Insurance payments
A, E, H

6.6% (minimum payment €500)

State Pension (Contributory), Widow’s or Widower’s Pension (Contributory), Guardian’s Payment (Contributory)
B, C, D 2.6% (minimum payment €250) Widow’s or Widower’s Pension (Contributory), Guardian’s Payment (Contributory)
S Flat Rate of €500 State Pension (Contributory), Widow’s or Widower’s  Pension (Contributory), Guardian’s Payment (Contributory)


It is not always necessary to pay voluntary contributions, if you cease employment. If you are in receipt of a social welfare payment, or signing for credits, you may be due credited contributions (or ‘credits’) which will also keep your social insurance record up to date.

To become a voluntary contributor, you must complete application form VC 1 and return it to:

Department of Social Protection
Client Eligibility Services
Social Welfare Services
Cork Road

This leaflet is only a guideline we recommend you review additional information at