Dáil Éireann - Volume 530 - 08 February, 2001
Written Answers. - Pension Provisions.
Mr. N. Ahern Mr. N. Ahern
75. Mr. N. Ahern asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Question No. 207 of 8 November 2000, if the £280 per week threshold will be raised in the Finance Bill or Social Welfare Bill; if the threshold was raised in the budget; if all persons on medical cards are exempt from the 2% health levy; if this exemption will continue when medical cards are available to all over 70 years of age; and the way in which this exemption is processed by a former employer or a pension fund. [3404/01]
Mr. McCreevy Mr. McCreevy
Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): The low income threshold for the health contribution, below which the levy is not payable, is currently £14,560 per annum or £280 per week, as amended by the Social Welfare Act, 2000. The weekly income threshold will remain unchanged at £280. Arising from the change in the tax year to a calendar year basis, the annual threshold will be £10,775 for the 2001 short tax year, that is 74% of the current threshold of £14,560. There are no proposals at present to increase the weekly threshold. I announced in my budget 2001 speech that all those aged 70 years and over will be entitled to a medical card. Under the current rules, medical card holders are not liable for the health levy contribution and there are no plans to change this position.
I understand from my colleague the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs that it is the responsibility of the employer or pension company to establish whether employees or pensioners are medical card holders or recipients of a social welfare widow/er's pension, one parent family payment, deserted wife's benefit, or a widow/er's pension acquired under the social security legislation of a country covered by EC regulations. Such persons are exempt from payment of the health contribution regardless of the level of weekly or annual income.
Where a health contribution is being deducted from a medical card holder or a recipient of one of the relevant payments listed above, that person should produce documentary evidence of the relevant entitlement to their employer or pension company. Deductions of the health contribution will cease and any amounts deducted in the current tax year will be refunded directly by the employer/pension company to the employee or pensioner. Where deductions of the health contribution have been made incorrectly in respect of earlier tax years, a refund of such contributions may be claimed from the Collector General's office, PRG section, Floor 5, Sarsfield House, Francis Street, Limerick. A refund application should be accompanied by copies of P60s for the years in question along with documentary proof that a medical card is held or that payment of  relevant pension was made for the period in respect of which the refund is being claimed.
Dáil Éireann 530 Written Answers. Pension Provisions.