Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Ceisteanna (570)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

570. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason pensioners who have paid class K and M contributions in the relevant tax years cannot avail of the treatment benefit scheme; and her views on this group of PRSI contributors being left without access to treatment benefit. [49854/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

PRSI contributions made after age 66 years are not included in the assessment of whether a person is eligible for treatment benefit. This is also the case in relation to other social welfare benefits

Currently, Class K and M PRSI contributions are not reckonable for treatment benefit, class M PRSI applies where there is no PRSI liability (zero % rate) and class K at a zero % rate in relation to income of less than 100 euro per week and at a significantly reduced rate of 4% on other income. People of pension age paying K rate PRSI usually do so on the basis of being in receipt of a private pension or other additional income.

Anyone who qualifies for treatment benefit at age 60 or 66 years, having paid the required number of contributions at one of the qualifying PRSI rates, A,E H, P or S, remain qualified for their lifetime. It should also be noted that medical card holders are entitled to a range of free dental, optical and audiology services via the HSE.

Any changes to the entitlements available to Class K and Class M contributors would need to be considered in the overall policy and budgetary context.