Credited contributions are automatically awarded to a person when they are receiving Carer's Benefit. Credits are awarded at the same rate as the last paid PRSI contribution. These credits help protect future entitlement to social welfare benefits and pensions.
The person concerned was in receipt of carer's benefit from 20 November 2014 to 16 November 2016 and has been awarded credits for this period.
My Department received an application for carer’s allowance (CA) from the person concerned on 28 October 2016.
CA is a means-tested social assistance payment, made to persons who are providing full-time care and attention to a person who has a disability such that they require that level of care.
As part of the application process, applicants are required to submit their latest set of accounts if they or a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is self-employed.
In this case the applicant’s spouse is a self-employed auctioneer and he owns or shares in the ownership of an unspecified number of houses yet no set of accounts were furnished with the application.
Accordingly, the matter was referred to a social welfare inspector (SWI) on 28 February 2017 to assess the level of care being provided, assess means and confirm that all the conditions for receipt of carer’s allowance are satisfied.
Once the SWI has reported, a decision will be made and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.
If the person concerned qualifies for CA she will also qualify for credits as there would be no break in her contribution record following her carer’s benefit claim.
Should her application for CA be unsuccessful, she can maintain her social insurance record by paying voluntary contributions (VC). Last month I announced reforms I have made to the PRSI system to make it easier for people to make VCs. Up to now, people had to make an application for VCs within 12 months of the end of their employment or after their last credited contributions. I have now extended that period to 5 years.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. If you require any further assistance with this query, please do not hesitate to contact Philip in my office.