Dáil Éireann - Volume 490 - 29 April, 1998
Written Answers. - Social Insurance.
Mr. Howlin Mr. Howlin
18. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if he will review the social insurance scheme for the self-employed to allow contributions to be taken into account from the estate of a deceased person where fewer than ten contributions are required to qualify for a minimum widow's pension or widower's pension; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10105/98]
Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern) Dermot Ahern
Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): The self employed were brought into Social Insurance from April 1988.
To qualify for a widow's or widower's (contributory) pension a person's full insurance record or the record over the previous three or five years is used to satisfy the yearly average condition. Also a widow or widower can qualify on his or her own or late spouse's record. The specific conditions are as follows: (a) There must be at least 156 weeks PRSI paid and if at pension age or date of death of spouse (whichever is the earlier) four years or longer have elapsed since entry into insurance, either (b) (i) an average of 39 weeks PRSI paid or credited over the three to five tax years before reaching pension age or before the spouse died, if earlier; or (ii) for a minimum pension, a yearly average of at least 24 weeks' PRSI paid or credited since starting work, up to the end of the tax year before reaching pension age or before the spouse died. If condition (b) (ii) is used to qualify for benefit, a person would need a yearly average of 48 weeks PRSI, since first starting work, to receive the maximum rate of pension.
These qualification conditions are less onerous than those pertaining to other pensions reflecting the different nature of the payment. Only contributions due up to the date of death can be taken into account in establishing pension entitlement.
All widowed persons not entitled to a contributory pension can apply for a non-contributory pension which of course is subject to a means test.
If the Deputy has a particular case in mind, I will have this investigated if he sends me the details.
Dáil Éireann 490 Written Answers. Social Insurance.