At present most teachers receive their pension in full from the Department of Education (DES) and do not qualify for the State Pension [previously known as the Old Age Pension].

 However, an increasing number of teachers, have an entitlement to the State Pension (generally at a pro-rata rate). These teachers are said to have a ‘Coordinated Pension’.

 A teacher with a ‘coordinated pension’ receives a pension from two sources i.e. an occupational pension paid by the Department of Education (DES) and the State Pension paid by the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection (previously Dept of Social Welfare).1

 A teacher with a coordinated pension paid a ‘mix’ of Class D and Class A PRSI contributions during her/his teaching career .

 Mixed PRSI contributions most commonly arise where a teacher had a ‘break in service’2 and returned to school after 6 April 1995, to find that the PRSI rules had changed from that date. On resumption the teacher moved from the lower Class D rate of contribution, which s/he had previously paid, to the higher Class A contribution rate.

 It is the move to the higher Class A rate of PRSI contribution which gives an entitlement to the State Pension (pro-rata). [Class D contributions do not cover entitlement to the State Pension].

 The State Pension does not commence until age 66. (set to rise to age 67 in 2021.)

 If a teacher retires before age 66, the DES will pay an additional amount of pension – known as a ‘supplementary pension’ – until s/he reaches age 66. The supplement ensures that the teacher does not suffer a financial shortfall in the interval between retirement from school and reaching age 66.

 A teacher must apply to the DES for a ‘supplementary pension’, i.e. the DES will not commence the supplementary pension automatically.

 A section on the Application Form3 has to be completed at the teacher’s local social welfare/INTREO office. This is to establish whether the teacher has any immediate entitlement to a social welfare payment.

 When retired teachers attend the local social welfare office to have the form completed, most –  to their surprise – discover that they have an entitlement to claim Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB). This is a weekly social welfare payment which will last for 9 months.

 The DES will not pay the supplementary element of the pension until the Jobseeker’s Benefit has been exhausted i.e. it is not open to a teacher who is eligible to claim Jobseeker’s Benefit to decline this payment and move directly to claim the supplementary pension from the DES.

 At the end of the 9 months period on Jobseeker’s Benefit the teacher must get another form signed at her social welfare office confirming that this benefit has now come to an end.

 At that point the DES will pay her a ‘supplementary pension’ which will last until s/he reaches age 66.

 Once s/he reaches age 66 and the State Pension starts the DES will cease the payment of the supplement.

 The supplementary pension is not paid for periods when the retired teacher is employed in any capacity which involves the payment of a PRSI contribution – for example during periods of employment in school, in a substitute capacity.


 General sequence of payments for a teacher on a coordinated pension:

 At retirement

DES pension plus Jobseeker’s Benefit (paid by social welfare)

After 9 months on JB

DES pension plus DES supplementary pension (paid by the DES)

 At age 66/67

DES pension plus State Pension (paid by social welfare)



  • The combined amount of both pensions (DES pension and the social welfare State Pension) is broadly the same amount as if the teacher was receiving the pension in from the DES only.
  • Approved leave of absence whether paid (e.g. paid sick leave, paid maternity leave etc) or unpaid (unpaid maternity leave, career break etc ) does not constitute a ‘break in service’.
  • The DES website contains a comprehensive Information Note on Supplementary Pensions. [go to: Home-Education Staff-Services-Retirement/Pensions-Retirement Pack.]
  • The DES document also contains a link to the Application Form for Supplementary Pension [For Supp1] and the form which has to be completed at the teacher’s local social welfare/INTREO office [Form Supp 4]

 This is an RTAI summary which covers the key principles. It is not intended as a comprehensive guide.