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Homemaker’s Scheme

From: Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

What the Homemaker's Scheme is

The Homemaker’s Scheme makes it easier for a homemaker to qualify for a higher rate of State Pension Contributory when you reach pension age.

The Homemaker's Scheme was introduced on 6 April 1994 to support people who give up work to take care of a child under the age of 12 or an incapacitated adult. Only periods after this date can be taken into account, up to a maximum of 20 years.

A homemaker, under the Homemaker’s Scheme, is a man or woman who provides full-time care for either:

  • a child under 12
  • an ill or disabled person aged 12 or over

A full tax year spent as a homemaker can be disregarded in the calculation of the yearly average for State Pension (Contributory).

How to qualify

To qualify, you must:

  • permanently live in the State (except where EU or posted worker regulations apply because your main employment is based in Ireland, but you are sent to work in another country temporarily and you continue to be liable to pay social insurance (PRSI) contributions to the Irish State)
  • be aged under 66
  • have started insurable employment or self-employment on or after the age of 16 and before the age of 56
  • not work full-time but you can work and earn less than €38 gross a week
  • care full-time for a child under 12 or an ill or disabled person

You should apply for this scheme directly if you are providing full-time care to:

We will treat a claim for these schemes as an application to become a Homemaker. In these circumstances, you should apply to become a Homemaker before the end of the tax year after the year in which you first become a homemaker.

You can backdate your application if there is a genuine reason for a delay in making your claim.

If you do not live with the person you care for

you must have:

  • a direct system of communication between your home and the person being cared for, for example a phone or alarm system
  • a person being cared for not getting full-time care and attention within their own home from anyone else

The person being cared for must be so disabled or incapacitated as to need continual supervision either:

  • to avoid danger to himself or herself
  • at frequent assistance throughout the day in connection with their normal personal needs

It’s important to note that only one person can be the homemaker at any one time. If you stop being a homemaker and your spouse or civil partner takes up homemaking duties, you should tell the department immediately to make sure you don’t lose entitlements under the Homemaker’s Scheme.

You do not need to apply directly for this scheme if you are getting:

Homemaking and social insurance (PRSI)

A homemaking year is a year in which you are out of the workforce for the full tax year. Your social insurance (PRSI) record does not take this year into account – it is disregarded.

In fact, it does not take up to a maximum of 20 homemaking years into account. Doing this helps you to qualify for the State Pension (Contributory).

For example, if you started working at 16 and you reach pension age at 66, this is a 50 year working career. All 50 years are counted for pension purposes. When your pension is being worked out, your total social insurance (PRSI) contributions over your working life will be averaged out over those 50 years.

But if you left the workforce for 16 years and you were an approved homemaker for that time, your pension is worked out in a different way. Your total contributions are divided out over 34 years (50 years minus 16 years in the workforce). So, your pension average does not disadvantage you for the time you cared for a child or incapacitated adult.

Homemaker’s credits

Homemaker’s credits can be awarded for part of a year from the date you become a homemaker up to the end of the tax year.

Likewise, homemaker’s credits can also be awarded for part of a year when the homemaking period ends, from the start of the tax year up to the date you stop homemaking.


To apply, please complete the Homemaker's Scheme application form at the bottom of this page.

You can also get this form at your local:

Please return your completed application form to:

Homemaker’s Section

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Buncrana, F93 CH79
(Note: the rates charged for using 1890 (Lo-call) numbers may vary)

Application Form: Homemaker’s Scheme (HM1)

The Homemaker's Scheme was introduced on 6 April 1994 to support people who give up work to take care of a child under the age of 12 or an incapacitated adult. Only periods after this date can be taken into account, up to a maximum of 20 years.


Operational Guidelines

Operational guidelines describe the processes and procedures that staff in the department follow when carrying out their work.

Operational Guidelines: Homemaker's Scheme.