Dáil Éireann - Volume 250 - 03 December, 1970
Ceisteanna-Questions. Oral Answers. - Social Welfare Benefit Application.
Mr. Tully Mr. Tully
10. Mr. Tully asked the Minister for Social Welfare the date on which a person (name supplied) applied for social welfare benefit; why the matter has not been fully investigated before now; and why the person has not received her benefit.
Mr. Childers (for the Minister for Social Welfare) Mr. Childers (for the Minister for Social Welfare)
Mr. Childers (for the Minister for Social Welfare): It is a statutory contribution condition for entitlement to disability benefit that an insured person must have not less than 26 employment contributions paid or credited in the contribution year governing the claim. Statutory regulations also provide that where for any two complete consecutive contribution years there are no employment contributions paid or credited in respect of an insured person  then an employment contribution shall not be credited to such person until 26 employment contributions have been paid in respect of him.
The insured person referred to in the question, who had not been insurably employed in this country between 1954 and 1967, surrendered her 1967-68 and 1968-69 insurance cards each bearing 13 stamps. On 20th March, 1969, she claimed disability benefit and submitted medical evidence of incapacity covering the period 10th October, 1968, to 17th March, 1969. She was not entitled to disability benefit in respect of this claim as she had not 26 employment contributions paid or credited in the governing contribution years.
The insured person made a second claim for disability benefit in December, 1969. Following investigation it was found that one of the stamps on her 1968-69 insurance card had not been paid in respect of insurable employment. She had therefore only 12 employment contributions paid in respect of the 1968-69 contribution year and as the total number of contributions paid in 1967-68 and 1968-69, following the gap in her insurance record from 1954 to 1967, was only 25, credited employment contributions could not be granted to her in respect of the period October, 1968, to March, 1969. She was not therefore entitled to disability benefit as she had not 26 employment contributions paid or credited in the governing contribution year 1968-69.
Inquiry was made of the British Department of Health and Social Security to see whether contributions had been paid in Britain which would help her to qualify for benefit but without success. Investigations were also initiated into the insured person's employment in 1968-69 and there has been delay in completing them due, partly, to difficulty experienced in contacting the person having charge of the employment records and partly to the fact that it was learned during the course of the inquiry that the insured person was, in fact, working during part of the period for which she had submitted medical certificates of incapacity  for work and claimed disability benefit. The inquiries will be concluded as quickly as possible and the claim will then be reviewed.
A new benefit year for women commences on 7th December, 1970, and if the insured person continues to be incapable of work after that date she will be entitled to disability benefit by virtue of employment contributions paid and credited in the 1969-70 contribution year.
Mr. Tully Mr. Tully
Mr. Tully: I am grateful to the Minister for the detail with which he answered the question, but does he consider it reasonable that somebody who has sent in 40 certificates should, at the end of that period, have got only acknowledgments and that after a question has been asked by me in this House it is now indicated to the woman concerned that there is a doubt about one of her stamps? Does the Minister know that the reason why there is some difficulty in checking on the employment record of this woman is that the person who had the record of the cards has been dead for five or six months? I do not know if they are going to wait for the last day until she rises again before they get the records. It seems to be the only way in which this could be done.
Does the Minister not agree that it is extremely unfair to an insured person, particularly a widow with a number of children, that she should have to wait almost a year for benefit and depend on home assistance while the Department are spending money finding out whether some of the stamps she put on were put on incorrectly? This is one of the greatest cods we have in the Department, that while they are supposed to be terribly busy and unable to deal with normal cases, they are spending time checking on unfortunate women like this.
Dáil Éireann 250 Ceisteanna-Questions. Oral Answers. Social Welfare Benefit Application.