Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 13 Jun 1972

Vol. 261 No. 8

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Health Insurance Contributions.


asked the Minister for Social Welfare if full records are available in his Department of all contributions made by workers under the former National Health Insurance Acts prior to 1950; if such contributions are now of any value to the workers concerned; and, if so, in relation to which schemes.

Full records of contributions made by workers under the former National Health Insurance Acts from July, 1932, until these Acts were replaced by the Social Welfare Act from January, 1953, are available in my Department. Such contributions made prior to 1950 are of value to the workers concerned as they may be reckoned for the purposes of satisfying the contribution conditions for the receipt of invalidity, retirement and old age contributory pensions. In addition such contributions may, in certain circumstances, be reckoned for the purposes of disability, unemployment, treatment, marriage and maternity benefits. Where contributions under the National Health Insurance Acts are so reckoned they are given enhanced values. I may say that a considerable number of the benefit and pension claims at present in payment were awarded by taking contributions under the National Health Acts into account.

Is the Minister aware that a number of people are dissatisfied with the fact that the Department have not got the records dating back to the old National Health Insurance scheme and that this is a source of annoyance to many people who are deprived of the contributory old age pension?

The Deputy says people are dissatisfied that the records are not there? The answer which I read for the Minister of Social Welfare is to the effect that the records are there and the Deputy is basing his supplementary question on the assumption that they are not there.

There is a conflict between the claimants for old age pension and the Department. The claimants say the Department are not able to trace back their work records prior to the date on which the Department of Social Welfare took over. They are in conflict with what the Minister has stated.

It is clearly in conflict.

But the Minister's Department clearly have had thousands of complaints from people who say that the Department have not got the records and in view of that does he not consider there is something wrong?

Am I correct in believing that for the purpose of computing the yearly average contributions for an old age contributory pension, contributions prior to 1950 are not in practice taken into account and that a man who might have been working since the early 1920s and stamping a card regularly would be disqualified because those contributions could not be taken into account in computing his yearly average?

They are taken into account for invalidity, retirement and contributory old age pensions.

That is for computing the total but not for computing the yearly average and would the Minister consider that this is something that should be amended?

We should not become lost in the mechanics of the scheme.

Deputy Bruton is correct.

In view of the evident confusion on this matter, would the Minister agree to have it thoroughly investigated?

There is no confusion in what is given here by the Minister but certainly there is conflict in the information supplied by Deputies from their personal experience and the experience of their constituents and I think this should be investigated and it will be.