asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Dublin.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Disability Benefit Payment.
The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 3 August 1979. He is not, however, qualified for payment of that benefit as he has not the required minimum of 26 paid or credited employment contributions in 1978, the contribution year governing his claim. I understand that the person concerned was employed by another Government Department and that his employment was in an established capacity since 1973. Employment in that capacity is insurable at modified rates of employment contributions which are reckonable for a limited range of benefits only, excluding disability benefit.
In view of the unfortunate circumstances here, would the Minister accept that his Department should exhort those other Government agencies to ensure that their employees are covered for benefits of this type? It is through no fault of the person concerned that he understood he was paying into the social insurance fund and was not covered.
That possibly would mean a substantial change in the terms which cover such schemes.
Would the Minister agree that it is very regrettable that a person employed by a Government agency who is now disabled finds that he or she is not entitled to disability benefit because of the conditions of the insurance in that employment?
That is a fact which existed. In general, it does not only apply to a specific case. The question, therefore, arises as to whether the total scheme should be reviewed and reconsidered. Obviously, that would mean increased contributions in the first instance.
I am glad the Minister is beginning to see the light.