Friday, 7 September 2018
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
1233. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if all persons on disability allowance are entitled to apply for and receive PRSI credits reckonable for the State pension irrespective of whether they were previously employed as a PAYE worker or worked as a self-employed person paying class S stamp; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36067/18]
1269. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the policy of not providing credited PRSI contributions for persons in receipt of carer's allowance will be reviewed; and if this policy will be changed in recognition of the fact that carers are working full-time looking after their family member and should be recognised as such. [36329/18]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1218, 1233 and 1269 together.
Credited contributions (credits) are social insurance contributions designed to protect the social insurance entitlement record of insured workers who are not in a position to make PRSI contributions.
Credits are awarded in circumstances such as unemployment or illness, and their purpose is to help protect the social insurance entitlements of insured persons during periods when they may not be in a position to pay contributions.
In order to qualify for credits, a person must first have entered insurable employment - he or she must have paid at least one PRSI contribution at Class A, B, C, D, E, H or P.
In general credits can only be awarded where an individual has had a recent attachment to the workforce i.e. within the last 2 years. Self-employed class S contributions are not reckonable toward the award of credits.
Persons in receipt of disability allowance or carers allowance can qualify for credits where they have previously entered insurable employment and paid at least one PRSI contribution at Class A, B, C, D, E, H or P and where they have had a recent attachment to the workforce.
In combination with paid PRSI contributions, credits can assist employees in qualifying for short-term schemes such as jobseeker’s benefit and enhance the level of benefit for long-term schemes such as the level of payment of State pension contributory (SPC). Credits do not however, in isolation, entitle individuals to qualify for social insurance benefits.
Individuals who are caring and who do not qualify for carers allowance may qualify for the homemaker’s scheme. The homemaker’s scheme is designed to help homemakers and carers qualify for the SPC, and applies to homemaking periods since 6 April 1994. It equally applies to both men and women.
The scheme provides that years spent working in the home while caring on a full-time basis for a child up to 12 years of age or an incapacitated person age 12 or over will be disregarded in calculating a person's yearly average number of contributions for the purposes of determining the rate of their entitlement to SPC. In this way the homemaker’s scheme ensures that an individual’s entitlement to SPC is protected during periods spent caring.