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David Stanton, Fine Gael TD for Cork East and Minister of State at the Department of Justice & Equality has welcomed the extension of Invalidity Pension to self-employed persons. The extension means that from the 1st December 2017 all self-employed persons can apply under the scheme.

“This is the first time that people who are self-employed, who have paid S class contributions, will be able to apply for Invalidity Pension. Invalidity Pension is a weekly social protection payment to people who are unable to work due to long-term illness or disability. These changes should greatly improve the illness supports available to self-employed persons many of whom run small businesses which create jobs by providing employment to others as well as themselves.

“Improving supports for small businesses and the self-employed has been prioritised by Fine Gael since we entered Government in 2011. It is part of our polity of making work pay and encouraging entrepreneurship which includes expanding entitlements and supports to the self-employed. Extending PRSI benefits such as Invalidity Pension and the optical and dental Treatment Benefit Scheme which was extended to the self-employed earlier this year is one of the ways we are supporting the self-employed.

“Another area which we are looking at is taxation. We are moving towards the equalisation of income tax credits between self-employed people and PAYE workers. The change in the recent budget means that self-employed people will pay €200 less per year in tax from 2018, following our decision to extend the earned-income tax credit to credit €1,150.

“I am pleased that we have extended the availability of Invalidity Pension without increasing the rate of PRSI paid by employees, employers and the self-employed. Qualification for the payment is based on satisfying the medical criteria and a minimum of 260 PRSI contributions with 48 paid or credited in previous tax year. This payment is not means tested so any savings, assets or income from partners do not affect the rate.

“I understand that, as of 1st December, it is also open to any self-employed people who are out of work through illness to apply for Invalidity Pension, however, they will need to satisfy the medical and PRSI conditions. The improvement of benefits and entitlements for the is in recognition of the significant contribution of self-employed and small and family businesses to our society.