Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (267)

John Lyons


270 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 347 of 3 July 2012, with regard to the four year time limit governing the refund of PRSI contributions, the reason, in this instance, no similar time limit was imposed vis-à-vis the amount of illness benefit claimed by this person since 2001; if she will outline the way such an error occurred over a very extensive period of time; and if she will reconsider the decision to rescind this person's entitlement to class A entitlements. [34543/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

As stated in reply to question No 347 on 3 July 2012, new arrangements relating to PRSI for public and civil servants came into operation with effect from 6 April 1995. Public and civil servants who had been in employment before 6 April 1995 and continued to be so employed without a break in service were insured at the modified rate of PRSI contribution, Class D, whereas new entrants paid PRSI Class A.

Following on from the 6 April 1995 changes, a number of different departments and Boards applied the incorrect rate of PRSI in certain situations. This resulted in an overpayment of PRSI contributions and an underpayment of pension contributions in respect of the employees concerned.

Where the incorrect class of PRSI has been paid the Department of Social Protection refunds the PRSI contributions where the conditions for refund are met. When a PRSI refund is being calculated any benefits paid to the person on foot of the class A PRSI contributions are deducted from the amount of refund due. There is no time limit in respect of the deduction of benefit from the refund due.

The position in relation to the person concerned is that her employer contacted the Department in November 2011 to clarify the correct PRSI contribution class for her employment. It was confirmed that she had been paying the incorrect PRSI class since she was made permanent in 1999. No refund is due to the individual concerned in this case as illness benefit paid out exceeds the amount of PRSI refund available.

As outlined above class D is the correct PRSI class payable in respect of the person concerned. It is not possible to rescind this decision.