I will qualify for the Contributary Pension when I reach 66 in 3 year's time. I began work in 1969 and worked up to 2004 but have not worked or paid contributions since nor have I received social welfare payments. My total paid contributions is 1542 and I also have 204 credited contributions. To calculate my yearly average I think I add the paid and credited contributions and divide by the number of years of paid contributions. What I want to know do I just count the years between 1969 and 2004 ( when contributions and credits were made) making a total of 35 years or must I count all the years between 1969 and 2018 making a total of 49 years? If the latter is used it would mean that I would qualify for a slightly lower contributary pension. I also have a small occupational pension which I have received from the age of 60 and I understand ( hopefully correctly) that my contributary pension will not be affected by this. Many thanks in advance for your replies.

Correct that the contributory pension is not affected by the occupational pension. Only non-contributory pension is means tested. Your combined pension will be taxed though.

3. Average number of contributions per year You must meet the average condition. This is probably the most complex aspect of qualifying for a State Pension (Contributory). Normal average rule The normal average rule states that you must have a yearly average of at least 10 appropriate contributions paid or credited from the year you first entered insurance or from 1953, whichever is later to the end of the tax year before you reach pension age (66). An average of 10 entitles you to a minimum pension; you need an average of 48 to get the maximum pension. Alternative average rule This alternative average only applies to people who reach pension age on or after 6 April 1992. It requires that you have an average of 48 Class A, E, F, G, H, N or S contributions (paid or credited) for each contribution year from the 1979/80 tax year to the end of the tax year before you reach pension age (66). This average would entitle you to the maximum pension. There is no provision for a reduced pension when this alternative average is used. So, if you reach the age of 66 on or after April 6 1992, your average will be looked at in two ways - the usual average will be assessed and the alternative average will be assessed. Most employed or formerly employed people will be able to meet the alternative average. The alternative average will probably be looked at first because it is easier to assess. If you do not have an average of 48 contributions from 1979 then the normal method of assessing the average will be looked at and you may get a reduced pension (if you do not meet the alternative average, it is virtually impossible for you to have an average of 48 using the normal average rule).