Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Old Age Pensions Claims.

11.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare if the records of the former National Health Societies are available to his Department in connection with claims for old age (contributory) pensions; and, if not, if he will take steps to have such records requisitioned in the interests of such claimants.

12.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare if, in view of the fact that records of insurance contributions paid previous to 1947 seem in many cases to be unavailable in his Department, he will state the type of evidence which will be acceptable to his Department with a view to proving that insurance contributions were actually paid in the case of applicants for old age (contributory) pensions who were in insurable employment, and who paid insurance contributions previous to 1947, or previous to the dates in the records of his Department of the payment of such contributions.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 and 12 together.

When Cumann an Arachais Náisiúnta ar Shláinte was set up under the National Health Insurance Act, 1933, the insurance records of existing members of approved societies were taken over to form the basis of the new records. These records, expanded over the years to cover new members, were used in framing the new Social Insurance records under the Social Welfare Act, 1952.

My Department's records of National Health Insurance are complete except, in some respects, for insurances before 1932 and also for periods where stamped insurance cards were not surrendered.

Very few claims to old age (contributory) pension are affected by these deficiencies and no claim is rejected merely because there is no insurance record or the record is deficient. If a claimant to pension contends that he had more insurance than is shown on his record, every effort is made to ascertain the facts and all available evidence including, for example, unemployment insurance records, certificates from employers, statements by fellow workers, is carefully examined.

Will the Minister not agree that one of the reasons he gave for not carrying out the terms of the Act was that these records were not available?

The terms of the Act are being carried out.