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Social Welfare Benefits

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 28 April 2021

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Ceisteanna (634)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

634. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a person (details supplied) has been refused benefit payment for a 65 year old on the basis that they did not have the relevant contributions in recent years; her plans to make changes to the rules to alleviate such situations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21155/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

The Benefit Payment for 65 Year Olds has been introduced to fulfil the Programme for Government commitment to address the position of people who retire at age 65, in many cases not because they want to, but because that is the retirement age specified in their contract of employment.  The new payment is not designed to be a full State Pension and it is designed specifically to bridge the gap for people who retire at 65 but who don’t qualify for the State Pension until age 66.  Recipients of the payment are not required to sign on, engage in activation measures or be available for and genuinely seeking work which is normally the case for recipients of a Jobseeker’s payment.

To be eligible for the payment a person must satisfy the qualifying conditions of the scheme including the PRSI social insurance contribution requirement.

The first PRSI condition is that a person must have paid 104 PRSI insurable employment contributions at class A, H or P or paid 156 class S contributions if they are self-employed. The second contribution condition requires that a person must also have 39 reckonable contributions paid or credited in the Governing Contribution Year (GCY). The GCY for 2021 is 2019.  At least 13 of these contributions must be paid. Where a person does not have 13 paid contributions in the GCY they can be from 2 years before the GCY, the last complete tax year or the current tax year.  Alternatively, a person could qualify if they have at least 26 reckonable contributions paid in both the GCY and the year immediately preceding the GCY.

The requirement to have paid contributions during this period is to demonstrate a recent attachment to the workforce.

The social insurance contribution requirements are not as high as for receipt of the State Pension, and people retiring at age 65, given they have a recent attachment to the workforce, should, in most cases meet the required PRSI conditionality.

Where a person does not qualify for the Benefit Payment for 65 Year Olds they may be eligible for support under the means tested Jobseeker's Allowance scheme subject to satisfying the qualifying conditions of that scheme.

While the person concerned satisfies the first contribution condition, he does not satisfy the second contribution condition and therefore does not qualify for receipt of the Benefit Payment for 65 year olds.

There are no plans to amend the conditions of the scheme.

I trust that this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

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