Self-employed would pay more to the State in exchange for greater benefits

Leo Varadkar says a study released today will inform future policy decisions...

Three-quarters of self-employed people have said that they would pay a higher rate of social insurance in exchange for more benefits in return - according to a survey commissioned by the Department of Social Protection.

Minister Leo Varadkar has said that these findings will guide future policies and that it will influence measures to be introduced in October's budget.

The research found that 88% of self-employed people would pay a higher headline rate of PRSI in return for a specific extra benefit. The top benefits which they are calling for are, cover for long-term illness, short-term illness, or unemployment.

Minister Varadkar said, "As someone who believes passionately that self-employed people deserve to be supported by Government and treated equally in terms of tax and social insurance, this survey helped me to formulate measures in Budget 2017, and has given me key insights for future measures.

“We are already tackling one of the top demands for illness cover by giving self-employed people access to the Invalidity Pension later this year, without a means test. For the first time they will have access to the safety-net of State income supports if they become permanently unable to work through illness or disability. There will be no increase in PRSI for this."

80% of respondents said that the current benefits which they can claim are insufficient and "not value for money."

Since last month, self-employed people are eligible for the optical and dental Treatment Benefit scheme for the first time.

3,200 responses from self-employed workers informed this research.