Fine Gael’s PRSI reforms good news for small businesses – Brendan Griffin

Fine Gael’s PRSI reforms good news for small businesses – Brendan Griffin
Fine Gael Kerry TD, Brendan Griffin, has welcomed the new PRSI reforms announced by Minister Leo Varadkar, which he says will benefit small business in Kerry.

“PRSI changes initiated by my Fine Gael colleague, Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, have reformed the system, making it easier to take a break from making PRSI contributions, without losing your State pension entitlements.

“This is further evidence of Fine Gael standing up for the self-employed people here in Kerry, in the wake of the tax equalisation measures we have introduced. If a self-employed person’s business experiences a bad year or a few bad years and they don’t pay PRSI in those years, they can now protect or improve their right to a contributory State pension, and a pension for their spouse or child’s guardian should they die prematurely.

“Fine Gael is supporting growing small businesses and promoting job creation, at a time when we see a 12.63 % decline in the live register figures here in Kerry since this time last year.

“The new PRSI measures also benefit people who take early retirement who might otherwise have their State pensions reduced, people who go overseas for a few years and do not pay into an equivalent system, people who retire early due to ill-health, and also parents who decide to stay at home.”

These changes build on the other social insurance reforms introduced by Fine Gael including:

· The introduction of Paternity Benefit last year as well as a range of important measures he announced on Budget Day. · From next month the self-employed will have access to the treatment benefit scheme which includes free eye and dental examinations, and contributions towards the cost of hearings aids. · Treatment benefit entitlements will also be extended from October 2017 to provide further dental and optical benefits both for employees and the self-employed.· Even more significantly, self-employed contributors will be eligible for the Invalidity Pension from December 2017.
For the first time, this will give the self-employed access to the safety-net of State income supports if they become permanently incapable of work as a result of an illness or disability without having to go through a means test. This is a real advance in the level of cover available to the self-employed.
Fine Gael is committed to creating 200,000 new jobs by 2020. We are also working to providing better supports to the self-employed, who contribute so much to the economy here in Kerry.

ENDS.

For Further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841

Geraldine is a self-employed music teacher and was paying Class S PRSI up to and including 2012. Because of ill health, her annual income has fallen to below €5,000 in recent years.  (Self-employed people with annual income of less than €5,000 do not pay PRSI)   The non-payment of PRSI in those years could adversely affect the rate of Geraldine’s future entitlement to a State Contributory Pension.  She was not aware that it was possible to pay Voluntary contributions for these years and it is not possible, under the existing rules to apply.  Under the change being introduced, Geraldine can now pay voluntary contributions for some or all of the years from 2013 onwards, in order to maintain the continuity of her PRSI record for pension purposes.
 
 John takes a career break from his employment in the Bank, to help his daughter settle her young family in New Zealand.  He will not work in that country.  Although he intends availing of a twelve month career break, he has the option of extending it for an additional 4 years.  John is concerned that availing of a career break period, could adversely affect the amount of his future pension.  The extension of the application timeframe for voluntary contributions, means that John does not have to make a decision in the very short term about whether he should pay voluntary contributions.  He can instead delay that decision until his plans become clearer.  If John decided after 3 years abroad, that he wanted to pay voluntary contributions, he can apply at that point.  Upon his admittance to the scheme, John can decide if he wants to pay voluntary contributions for all 3 years of his absence, or if he wants to pay for a fewer number of years. The new rules give John the option of deciding from when he wants to start paying voluntary contributions. As the contributions are not compulsory, he can either decide to pay them, or not.         
 
Sean, now aged sixty two, took an early retirement package and moved abroad at fifty eight years of age.   When retiring Sean was not aware of the future impact of his retirement, in terms its impact on level of payment of his pension entitlements.  Some 4 years after he last worked, Sean applies for, and is admitted as a voluntary contributor.  Under the former rules for Voluntary Contributions, Sean would not have been afforded that opportunity, because he allowed more than twelve months elapse before he applied to become a voluntary contributor.  However, under the new rules, Sean is well within the new sixty month time limit and he can be admitted to the Scheme.
    
Lucy is 50 and has been diagnosed with a chronic, life limiting illness, which has forced her retirement as a Civil Servant three years ago.  Lucy is married to Paul who is the primary home carer for their three dependent children.  She is concerned that as Paul has not worked for the past 12 years, his rate of State pension will be very low. Lucy can apply for and pay voluntary contributions to maintain the continuity of her PRSI record and thus safeguard entitlement to a Widow’s or Widowers’ Contributory Pension for herself and Paul in the event that either of them die early.  

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