Operational Guidelines HomeCaring Periods


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Home Caring Periods Operational Guidelines

Part 1. Description of the Scheme

Home Caring Periods are part of a measure announced by the Government on 23 January 2018 to make improvements to pension calculations for post September 2012 state pension (contributory) pensioners with social insurance contribution gaps in their record.

For the purposes of the scheme anyone who was born on or after the 1st of September 1946 and spent time out of the workforce for caring duties can apply for a Home Caring Period for use under the new State Pension Contributory Aggregated Calculation Method of pension calculation.

A Home Caring Period may be awarded for each week during which you were not employed, including self-employment, in receipt of a social welfare payment, or otherwise signing on for credits because you were providing full-time care for:

  • A child or children under 12 years.

  • A child or children over 12 years who needed an increased level of care, or

  • An adult who needed an increased level of care.

Note: HomeCaring Periods will only apply where both you, and the person you were providing the care for, were resident in the Irish State.  You must have been aged between 16 and 66 at the time you provided the care, in order to qualify for a HomeCaring Period. 

Legislation

The main provisions governing the Home Caring Periods are:-

  • The Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005

  • The Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill 2018

  • Article 59, 60 of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, 2019 (S.I. No. X of 2019)

Administration

Home Carer’s Scheme Section, Dept of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, McCarter’s Road, Buncrana, Co. Donegal administers the scheme.

Qualifying Conditions

In order to qualify for a Home Caring Period, you (at the time you provided the care) must:

  • Have been aged 16 or over and under pension age

  • Have been permanently resident in the state during the period of home caring
  • Not have been engaged in full time employment/ self-employment or training (however, part time employment or training may be allowed under the conditions outlined here).

  • not have had a paid, credited or reckonable voluntary contribution doing the period in question
      
  • Not have been in receipt of a weekly payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection other than Carers Allowance, Carers Benefit and Domiciliary Care Allowance (excluding Child Benefit)

  • Be able to demonstrate that due to the nature and extent of their home caring responsibilities they were unable to engage in insurable employment and self-employment

  • The person for whom the home caring was provided meets the required conditions and was also resident in the State for the entire duration of the HomeCaring

Residency Requirements

Both the home carer, and the person who was cared for, must have been permanently resident in the State during the period of home caring. Exceptions may be made where provisions under EU or posted worker regulations apply.

Home carer must be caring for the person on a full-time basis

A home carer is considered to have been providing full time continuous supervision and regular assistance to a child under the age of 12 for any week that person was residing with the child and exercised full parental responsibility.

A home carer may continue to be regarded as having provided continuous supervision and regular assistance to a relevant child or adult while either they or the relevant child or adult were undergoing medical or other treatment, in a hospital or other institution for a period not longer than 13 weeks.

A home carer may also continue to be regarded as having provided continuous supervision and regular assistance where the person who was cared for was attending a non-residential course of rehabilitation, training or a non-residential day care centre approved by the Minister for Health.

Home carer must not be employed, self-employed or training outside the home

A home carer must not have been engaged in full time employment, self-employment or training outside of the home.

Any period in which the home carer was engaged in these activities may be refused home caring periods unless the Department is satisfied this activity was for less than 15 hours per week duration and resulted in limited income.

In the case of self-employment any periods which the applicant was engaged in self-employment will be refused home caring periods and in the case of employment a home caring period may be awarded under circumstances were the employment was considered part time employment pre April 1991 or post April 1991 if the employment had income of less than €38 per week.

In case of employment, self-employment or training which is below the limits the Department may need to be satisfied that adequate provision was made, at the time the care was provided, for the care of the person to whom continuous supervision and regular assistance was being provided.

Home carer does not have a paid, credited of reckonable voluntary contribution during the period


Home caring periods are awarded where a person had taken time out of the workforce to provide home care, and did not, as a result, have a paid or credited contribution or a reckonable voluntary contribution on their social insurance record.  Therefore they will not be awarded for any period during which the applicant had a paid or credited contribution or a reckonable voluntary contribution.  

Home carer must not have been in receipt of a weekly payment from the Department


A home carer must not have been in receipt of any weekly payment under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 other than Carers Allowance, Carers Benefit and Domiciliary Care Allowance. This excludes payment of Child Benefit. For any period in which the applicant had been in receipt of any other payment, home caring periods may be refused.

 

Person for whom a home carer may have provided care

A home carer may be considered as having provided continuous supervision and regular assistance to:

  • A child under 12 for whom they had parental responsibility and who resided with them during the period of the home care.

  • A person for whom Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allowance was payable during the period of the home care.

  • A person aged 12 years or over who required continuous supervision and regular assistance throughout the day with the activities of daily living. This includes, but is not limited to, assistance with personal care, food provision and nursing care, during the period of the home care.

The persons listed above must not have been receiving full time assistance within his or her own residence from a person other than the applicant for the week in question.

A child(ren) must have been under 12 in order for the applicant to apply for home caring periods however this limit does not apply in the case of a child(ren) who continue to require an increased level of care beyond the age of 12.

Special Categories


Any person who resided with and had full parental responsibility for a child under the age of 12 can be considered for home caring periods during this time. The applicant is not required to be the natural parent of the child. This may occur in circumstances were the child has been adopted or fostered.

Overlapping provisions


Applicants who had been in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allowance may have weeks for which they received the above schemes converted to home caring periods (instead of credited contributions) where  it is of benefit to the applicant for the Aggregated Contributions Method of State Pension Contributory.

Part 2. CLAIMS, DECISIONS & APPEALS

Application to be regarded as a home carer

Applications will only be considered once the applicant has submitted an application for State Contributory Pension.

A person does not need to apply directly for the scheme if the only gaps in their contribution history are in relation to providing care for their own child while under the age of 12. The Department will treat any missing contribution years during this period as an application for Home Caring Periods.

A person does not need to apply directly for the scheme if the only gaps in their contribution history are in relation to a period during which they were in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allowance. The Department will treat any missing contribution years during this period as an application for Home Caring Periods.
A person should apply directly to the scheme if:

  • They are applying for a child under 12 for whom they were not the natural parent i.e. A foster parent or adoptive parent

  • They have never claimed Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allowance but provided continuous supervision and regular assistance throughout the day with the activities of daily living to a child over the age of 12 or an adult who required increased care.

  • The Department seeks additional information where it may not be clear, from the information held by the Department, that existing gaps in a person’s social insurance record relate to time spent caring for their own child(ren) under the age of 12 and/or for period when they were in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allowance

In the circumstances above the quickest way to submit a claim is via MyWelfare, all information on the application process is supplied here.

For anyone who cannot access the MyWelfare platform, please call 071 9113680 and request an application form.

Documentation

Although no evidence is required in order to submit a Home Carers application, documentation may be requested after examination of the application by a Deciding Officer.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to produce the requested documents. This may include, but is not limited to, certificates such as birth certificates and marriage certificates, earnings details, medical reports, or any other relevant information.

Investigation of Claim


Where it is evident from the details supplied by the claimant, or the details held by the Department, that all the qualifying conditions are fulfilled, or that one or more are clearly not fulfilled, the file will be referred immediately to a Deciding Officer for decision.

Where there is doubt about the fulfilment of a condition further enquires will be made, by correspondence with the claimant, or by referring the file to a Social Welfare Inspector for investigation.

Decisions


Claims are decided by Deciding Officers who are appointed by the Minister. A notification of the decision is issued to the claimant, and when claims are disallowed the claimant is given the reason for the disallowance.

A person may submit any further information and documentary evidence that they consider relevant to their case to the Home Carer’s section within 21 days, and request a review of the decision made on their claim by the Deciding Officer.

Appeals


An appeal should be made in writing to the Chief Appeals Officer, D’Olier House, D’Olier Street, Dublin 2. A form for that purpose is available at that office or online at www.socialwelfareappeals.ie.

Notice of appeal should be submitted within 21 days of the review by the Deciding Officer.

Part 3. PROCEDURE FOLLOWING AWARD

Payments


There are no direct payments for periods spent as a home carer. Any periods will be taken into account during calculation of the applicant’s State Pension Contributory.

Duration of the home caring period


A home caring period will be considered ended when:

  • The person for whom home care was being provided for no longer required an increased level of care,

  • The person for whom home care was being provided for is deceased,

  • The home carer was no longer providing full time continuous supervision and regular assistance to the home care recipient,

  • The home carer had taken up employment, self-employment or training above the prescribed limits,

  • The home carer had reached pension age,

  • The home carer returned to work or

    training via a recognized training course e.g. FAS Community Employment scheme or VTOS training scheme,

  • The home carer submitted an application for a scheme payable under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 other than Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allowance (note this does not include Child Benefit),

  • The child(ren) being cared for reached 12 years of age,

  • The home carer, and/or the person for whom home care was provided, was no longer resident in the State (Exceptions may be made where provisions under EU or posted worker regulations apply).
Last modified:07/05/2019