Written answers

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Eligibility

Photo of Claire KerraneClaire Kerrane (Roscommon-Galway, Sinn Fein)
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126. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if there is flexibility in which a person (details supplied) has the required number of PRSI contributions but not at the necessary class for the invalidity pension given that through no fault of their own they had paid a WOPS stamp during their early years at work; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [59366/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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Invalidity pension (IP) is a payment for people who are permanently incapable of work because of illness or incapacity and for no other reason and who satisfy the pay related social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions.

To qualify for IP a claimant must, inter-alia, have at least 260 (5 years) paid PRSI contributions since entering social insurance and 48 contributions paid or credited in the last or second last complete contribution year before the relevant date of their claim.  Only PRSI classes A, E ,H & S contributions are reckonable for IP purposes.  

The qualifying  PRSI contribution is laid down in social welfare legislation and  must be satisfied in order to be considered eligible for IP.There is no scope for me to set aside these  legislative requirements.

As previously advised, a claim for IP was received from the person concerned on 23 July 2021.  She was refused IP on the grounds that the contribution conditions for the scheme are not satisfied.  Specifically, she does not have the required 260 contributions paid since entering social insurance. The WOPS credits on her record are not reckonable for Invalidity Pension purposes. She was notified on 27 July 2021 of the decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal. Following enquires made to the Department's PRSI records section and a review of her application, the original decision to refuse her claim remained unchanged. 

The person concerned appealed the decision of the 27 July 2021 and her file was forwarded to the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO) on 03 September 2021 for determination by an Appeals Officer (AO).  The SWAO upheld the Department's decision and disallowed the appeal.  Notification of the AO's decision issued to the person concerned on 23 November 2021.  The decision of the SWAO is final and conclusive and may only be reviewed by the AO in the light of new evidence or new facts. 

I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.


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