Minister Varadkar avoids a direct answer and instead indicates that over an undefined period only 21 cases can be identified as alleged identity fraud. There is no indication in this answer that anybody whatsoever engaged in dressing up in fake beards to make fraudulent social welfare claims. The Minister engaged in a childish, right wing, stunt to demean and undermine people who claim welfare, in his attempt to appear more right wing than his rival in a FG leadership farce. It is truly pathetic.
To ask the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons reported and charged with making fraudulent claims for social protection payments by disguising their identity with beards or makeup; and the number of these alleged frauds that were reported to An Garda Síochána for each of the years 2014 to 2016.
– Clare Daly
To ask the Minister for Social Protection the consideration he has given to a review of the provisions of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2013, including single insolvencies and their effects on pensioners
– Clare Daly.
* For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 22nd November, 2016.
R E P L Y
In Ireland, occupational pension schemes are generally set up under trust and are maintained by the employer on a voluntary basis. The trust deeds and rules of a scheme differ from scheme to scheme, and as with any contractual situation, reflect the level of obligation of the parties involved. While the Pensions Act provides a framework for the regulation and supervision of occupational pension schemes, it does not impose any requirement on an employer to fund scheme benefits or maintain an existing scheme.
The Social Welfare and Pensions (No.2) Act 2013 provided for a fairer and more equitable distribution of scheme assets in the event of the wind up of an underfunded scheme. It also facilitated a greater sharing of the risk between all the beneficiaries when a scheme is underfunded, while still providing for priority protection of pension benefits. Prior to the introduction of this Act, pensioner benefits were given priority over the benefits of active and deferred scheme members which meant a situation could arise whereby pensioners received all or almost all of the pension fund and members who had contributed but not retired received considerably less than expected.