Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Ceisteanna (60, 98)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

60. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will request an independent review of the decisions with regard to the errors in the historic PRSI classification of a person (details supplied) and the resulting entitlements or lack thereof to payments from her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7977/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

98. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will request an independent review of the decisions with regard to the errors in the historic PRSI classification of a person (details supplied) and the resulting entitlements or lack thereof to payments from her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7976/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 60 and 98 together.

I understand the Deputy has provided details of two cases.  Both of these cases concern  public servants who were employed in a permanent and pensionable capacity and who were  determined to be paying the wrong class of PRSI for a period of time.  They were paying the standard rate class A PRSI when they should have been paying the modified rate Class D. 

People paying the Class D rate of PRSI pay a lower contribution and have access to a reduced range of benefits - in particular they do not accrue entitlement to the State Contributory Pension during the period in which they pay Class D but do instead accrue entitlement to a  public sector occupational pension scheme. Similarly people paying Class D do not have access to Illness or Invalidity Benefit schemes but rely on the public sector occupational schemes.

In both cases the people concerned were made permanent and formally admitted to the superannuation or occupational pension scheme by their employer in 2006.  In 2012 in one case and 2013 in the other, following a request by the employer for an insurability decision, a Deciding Officer within the SCOPE section of the Department determined that the correct class of contribution effective from 2006 was PRSI Class D.  Prior to that, the employees were correctly insured at PSRI Class A.  The consequence of this decision is that the employees will not accrue entitlement  to the State Contributory pension or to State Illness and Invalidity schemes in the period since 2006 pension but do like all other established public servants, accrue  occupational pension and illness entitlements.

The Deputy has asked if I can arrange for an independent review of the decisions. I can in fact advise that the decision in respect of one employee was appealed to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

As the Deputy is aware, the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO) is an independent office established to provide an appeals service to persons who are unhappy with decisions of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection on questions with regard to entitlement to social welfare payments and insurability of employment under the Social Welfare Acts.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office having considered the arguments put forward both by the Department's deciding officer and the employee upheld the decision of the Deciding Officer as being correct.

Under Section 320 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005  an Appeals Officer’s decision can only be revised where new facts or evidence have been provided which were not before the Appeals Officer when he or she made their decision.  If the people concerned have new facts or evidence I would invite them to submit it to the Chief Appeals Officer.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.