asked the Minister for Social Welfare the number of pensioners who have qualified to date for an increase because of a daughter or stepdaughter having given up insurable employment for the purpose of providing full-time care and attention for them; and if he will introduce amending legislation to cover those who give up insurable employment in the United Kingdom for the same purpose.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Social Welfare Pensioners.
Increases of pension have been awarded to 147 incapacitated pensioners whose daughters or stepdaughters have given up insurable employment to provide them with full time care and attention. As regards the second part of the question I would refer the Deputy to my reply of 27th February, 1969, to a question by Deputy Liam Cunningham, in which I undertook to have the matter examined.
In view of the fact that there are so few who qualify and in view of the fact that in counties adjoining the Border, including the Minister's county, there are many girls who give up insurable employment in Northern Ireland and in other parts of the United Kingdom, in order to look after their invalid parents, surely it is a matter of justice that those people should be considered in the same light as those who give up insurable employment at home?
I have the utmost sympathy with the type of case in question and the examination of the applications in this case that have come in has, to a great extent, brought a good deal of light, as we expected, to bear on this particular problem. This little scheme was originally introduced to meet two types of cases in addition to doing something for the pensioner concerned, by way of compensating persons who had to give up insurable employment and were not eligible for unemployment benefit by virtue of the fact that they were confined to caring for their parents. In cases where they gave up insurable employment, came home and certified that they were capable of obtaining, and were genuinely seeking work and drew unemployment benefit and then came along the next day to say that they gave up work entirely to care for their parents, then it is hard to reconcile these two things.
It is not so hard——
(Cavan): Have the Minister's inquiries not led him to believe that it is practically impossible for a person to qualify for this 45s. within the regulations as they stand at present and that innumerable people who thought they would benefit have found that they are not eligible?
Yes, all the British insured persons failed to qualify. It would require legislation. It is a good first step.
You have reciprocity in every other way, why not have it here?
Does the Minister intend to introduce legislation?
I referred the Deputy to a reply given to Deputy Cunningham a few weeks ago when I said I was examining the question.