Know Your Rights February

Citizens Information

Know your rights:                                                                                                                            February 11, 2021

Retiring at 65 and social welfare payments

I have to retire at 65, and can’t claim my State pension until I’m 66. What can I do?

Many people, under their contract of employment, must retire at 65. However, State pensions are not paid until you are 66.

If you retire at 65, you may be able to get a new social welfare benefit. This is paid until you reach 66 and can claim a State pension. It is similar to Jobseeker’s Benefit, but you don’t need to be looking for work or sign on at your local Intreo centre. It is only available to people aged 65.

To qualify for this benefit, you must have stopped work, be living in Ireland and meet the social insurance (PRSI) conditions.

If you were an employee, you must have paid at least 39 PRSI contributions at Class A, H or P or have credited contributions in the governing contribution year – this is the second last complete tax year before the year you claim.  You must also have paid at least 104 PRSI contributions at Class A, H or P (or at least 156 PRSI contributions at Class S).

If you were self-employed, you must have paid 52 PRSI self-employment contributions at Class S in the governing contribution year and have paid at least 156 PRSI contributions at Class S (or at least 104 PRSI contributions at Class A or H).

You can take up a course provided you inform the Department of Social Protection. You can also continue in subsidiary employment.

You can claim for an adult dependant and any dependent children.

You will continue to get credited contributions while you are on the payment – these can count towards your State pension.

The quickest way to apply for the scheme is through You can also email to get a paper application posted to you. 

You can read more about this new payment for people who retire at 65 on

Help when bereaved

I’m looking for some simple information on first steps after a bereavement for my sister who has been widowed. Can you recommend an appropriate resource?

Bereavement can be overwhelming and your sister may be going through many different emotions. The Citizens Information Board (CIB) has published a booklet that may be of help to your sister at this difficult time.

Bereavement – A practical guide (pdf) answers questions she may have about accessing money, getting help with funeral expenses, dealing with her loved one’s estate, and other practical issues she may be worried about. It has information on dealing with the loss of a loved one during COVID-19, as well as contact details for a range of support services available to those who have been bereaved.

You can get the guide online at You can also get a printed copy from your local Citizens Information Centre

You can get more information about any of the topics covered in the booklet on The website has detailed information on practical arrangements after a death, and all of the latest information on death and bereavement during COVID-19.

CAO late application

The closing date for applying to college was 1 February. Can I still apply?

You apply for almost all full-time undergraduate courses through the Central Applications Office (CAO). This includes, for example, university and institutes of technology undergraduate courses such as Higher Certificates at Level 6 and degrees at Levels 7 and 8.

The closing date for 2021 CAO applications was 1 February 2021. However, late applications are allowed up to 5.15pm on 1 May 2021.

There is a fee to apply for courses through the CAO and late applications pay an increased fee. Late online applications cost €60.

Regardless of when you applied, you can access your application to change the courses you picked or the order of courses. This Change of Mind facility is free. It opens on 5 May and closes on 1 July 2021 at 5:15pm.

If you want to be assessed as a mature applicant, or if you want to be considered for the HEAR and/or DARE schemes, most colleges require you to have applied to the CAO by 1 February 2021. You must submit your completed application for DARE and/or HEAR by 1 March 2021 and submit all your supporting documents by 15 March 2021.

There are also some restricted courses which you cannot apply for after 1 February 2021. 

The CAO’s handbook lists all the courses on offer and gives information on how to apply.

Decisions on offers of places are normally made in August and September, after the results of the Leaving Certificate have come out. A detailed schedule of the offer rounds is in the CAO handbook.

It is important to note that there is no central applications body for Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses. Students must apply directly to the individual colleges. You should check the closing date for PLC courses with the college where the PLC course is taking place.


During the COVID-19 pandemic you can contact your local Citizens Information Centre:

•             Bray CIC on 0761 07 6780 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

•             Email Bray CIC at – anytime

You can  find comprehensive integrated information online at and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday,
    9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit to request a phone call from an information officer

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