Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

378.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will give full particulars of reciprocal agreements between (i) this country and (ii) the EEC member states, in relation to social welfare benefits; the benefits available to insured Irish persons now domiciled in (a) Britain and in (b) EEC member states; the benefits available in this country to (a) British insured persons and (b) insured persons from the EEC member states; and the benefits available to Irish persons who return from (a) Britain and (b) EEC member states, to reside here having been insured, in the main, in Britain and EEC member states respectively.

Relations in the field of social security between this country and the eight other member states of the EEC are governed by the regulations of the EEC concerning the application of social security schemes to employed persons and their families moving within the Community. The regulations provide that, where a worker has worked in more than one member state, periods of insurance or periods of employment or residence are aggregated where this is necessary for the purpose of establishing entitlement to benefit. In this way the migrant worker's entire working career may be taken into account for social security purposes and he is at no loss by virtue of the fact that he moves from one country to another within the Community. The regulations also guarantee equality of treatment to the nationals of member states who reside in other member states with the nationals of these states.

The benefits covered are the normal benefits of the social security system and embrace the following branches: Sickness and maternity benefits, invalidity benefits, old age benefits, survivors' benefits, benefits in respect of accidents at work and occupational diseases, death grants, unemployment benefits, family benefits.

In view of the entitlements provided by the regulations to the nationals of member states of the EEC, reciprocal arrangements with individual member states covering these nationals are not necessary. The principal EEC Regulations referred to are Regulation 1408/71 and Regulation 574/72.