457. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person (details supplied) can buy voluntary contributions to make it up to 520 contributions for a State pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20105/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - State Pensions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The legislation governing voluntary contributions is contained in the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 and Statutory Instrument 312/1996.
The acceptance criteria for the voluntary contributions scheme currently requires applicants 
- To submit an application within 60 months (5 years) of the end of the year in which they last paid, or were credited with a social insurance contribution
- To have a minimum of 520 c...

571. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason agencies which refuse to accept the public services card as personal identification will accept a passport which cannot be obtained without the applicant producing a card (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17632/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): SAFE Level 2 (SAFE2) registration allows a person to verify their identity once not just for access to services provided by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection but also for an increasing number of public services provided by other State agencies – for example the Passport office. Once a person is registered to SAFE2 they can be issued with a Public Services Card (PSC). 
While it is a matter for...

44. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the uptake to date of treatment benefits which were recently extended to the self-employed; her plans to extend additional benefits to the self-employed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8402/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - Social Welfare Code Reform)

Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick: I am delighted to get an opportunity to ask a question of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Deputy Regina Doherty. Can she give me an update on the treatment benefits, which she recently extended to the self-employed? Can she indicate what additional benefits she plans to extend to the self-employed? As a former self-employed person, I believe the self-employed were neglected in recent years and am delighted to see a Minister who will do some...

104. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the schools that will benefit from the budget 2018 measure to increase school meals funding to include newly designated DEIS schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8401/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - School Meals Programme)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Funding towards school meals is being provided in over 1,550 schools and other organisations, supporting up to 247,000 children at a cost of some €54 million in 2018, representing an increase of €6.5 million over the previous year. The Department was a member of the Inter-Departmental Advisory Group for the Review of the DEIS Programme undertaken by the Department of Education and Skills, following which DEIS Plan 201...

544. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a pension application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8331/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The person concerned has been awarded state pension (contributory) with effect from the 14 of May 2014.
The decision has been made based on the current available social insurance record of the person concerned, comprising 1,404 reckonable paid and credited contributions. This results in a reduced rate pension entitlement based on a yearly average of 31 contributions covering the period January 1969 to the end of Dece...

278. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to provide illness benefit to persons who are in full-time employment and in receipt of a contributory widows pension (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6551/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Illness Benefit Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): The person concerned made a claim to Illness Benefit and this claim was registered in my Department on 26 January 2018. 
The person concerned is in full time employment and there is no limit on the amount they are permitted to earn while also receiving a full rate Contributory Widows Pension. 
Both Illness Benefit and Contributory Widows Pension are not payable together. The person concerne...

1582. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a pension appeal by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54549/17 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Appeals)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that in appeals for State Pension (Contributory), where it appears that the reason for the Deciding Officer’s decision may not have been fully understood, the letter of appeal is referred to the State Pension (Contributory) Section requesting that the decision be clarified to the person concerned.
In the case of the person concerned I understand that a letter clarifyin...

1602. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to initiate legislation to regulate tip sharing arrangements in the service industry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 55201/17 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Proposed Legislation)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Employees in Ireland enjoy a robust suite of employment rights including one of the highest national minimum wages in the EU. Employees who believe an unlawful deduction has been made from their wages by their employer may pursue a case under the Payment of Wages Act 1991 to the Workplace Relations Commission. The matter can be dealt with by way of mediation or adjudication leading to a decision enforceable through ...

212. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason the rate of PRSI for the self-employed (details supplied) has changed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39952/17 asked on 21 Sep 2017 - Social Insurance Payments)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Self-employed people who earn €5,000 or more in a contribution year are liable for PRSI at the class S rate of 4%, subject to a minimum annual payment of €500. This provides them with access to a range of social insurance benefits including state pension (contributory) and widow’s, widower’s or surviving civil partner’s pension (contributory), guardian’s payment (contributory), maternity benefit, adoptive benefit an...

1782. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if there will be changes to sick pay in the next budget; if she will examine the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37151/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Illness Benefit Reform)

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): Illness Benefit is a payment for people who cannot work due to illness and who satisfy the pay related social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions. One of the PRSI conditions is that a person must have a minimum of 39 reckonable contributions paid or credited in the governing contribution year. Claims made in 2017 are governed by the 2015 tax year, and only PRSI Classes A, E, H, and P are reckonable for Illnes...