The social welfare legislation was consolidated and reformed in 1952. There were incremental developments from then onwards. There was severe immigrant, employment and immigration to the 1950s.
1951 saw the introduction of a contributory old age pension. Children’s allowance was extended to the first child in 1963. The second Program for Economic Expansion 1963 sought to improve social welfare services in line with improvements in the national income and prosperity,
Expenditure on social welfare increased only gradually from 5.9 to 6.2 percent in the decade to 1965. However, this covered years during in which real GDP fell.
The contributory old age pension marked an increase in social insurance expenditure from 28 percent to 46 percent of expenditure. State funding decreased from 76 percent to 68 percent of the cost e in the period with increases in employers’ and employees’ contribution.
The economy improved significant from the early 1960s until the mid-1970s. The third Program of Economic and Social Development promised significant reforms including the introduction to pay related benefits, retirement and invalidity pensions.
Workmen’s compensation was abolished in 1966 and replaced with a social welfare occupational injury scheme.
A retirement pension payable at 65 years was introduced in 1970. Invalidity pension for permanent incapacity or long-term incapacity and a death grant was d was also introduced in 1970. Deserted wife’s benefit was introduced in 1973.
In 1974 social insurance was extended to cover all employees, except part-time employees. The insurable workforce increased from 73 percent to 85 percent.
The age for the availability of the old age pension was reduced from 70 to 66 years between 1973 and 1977.
Pay related benefits were introduced in 1974 by way of additions to unemployment and disability benefit.
The Commission on the Status of Women recommended a number of means tested payments.
Supplementary welfare was established in 1975 and finally removed the last vestiges of the poor law system. It supplemented existing payments. It left decisions at local level and on a largely discretionary basis.
Some self-employed persons were entitled to claim unemployment assistance if their incomes were below certain levels. In rural areas, unemployment assistance was determined by rateable valuation, which was hopelessly anomalous and outdated.
Person who occupied land above a certain eligible valuation were disqualified from unemployment assistance regardless of means from March to October. Men without dependents in rural areas was disqualified from June to October on the assumption that farm work would be available.
The so-called small holder’s assistance was paid to over 30,000 people in the mid-1970.
In 1979, contributions were amended from a flat rate system to pay related social insurance.
By 1980 social welfare expenditure had increased to 10.7 percent of GDP.
Unemployment rose sharply in the 1980s during a prolonged recession. By the mid-1980 social welfare reached 13 percent of GDP declining again to 10 percent by 1996.
By that stage, the state financed 57 percent of the total expenditure, with 30 percent coming from employers, 10 percent from employees and 3 percent from self-employed. The State contribution to the social insurance fund dropped from a third in 1985 to five percent in 1996. By 1996, the expenditure on social insurance and social assistance were virtually identical with the balance referable to child benefit.
Social insurance was extended to self-employed persons from 1988. Pay related benefits were reduced and ultimately abolished in 1994 with a view to making the social insurance from self sustaining.
The Commission on Social Welfare 1986 undertook the first comprehensive review of the Social Welfare code since the 1949 White Paper. It recommended the consolidation and expansion of existing schemes increased rates of benefit improved the child support scheme and increasing the social insurance base. Due to financial constraints amongst other things, the Commission’s recommendations were not implemented.
Social insurance was extended to part-time workers in 1991. A limited range of benefits only were provided to them. It was extended to all workers earning more than £25 per week.
Pre-retirement allowance was introduced. Loan parent’s schemes were expanded to one parent family schemes, replacing deserted wife’s benefit. A Carers Allowance was introduced.
In 1986 supplementary welfare allowance was transferred from part local authority funding to complete central funding.
The special arrangements for unemployment assistance for farmers were abolished in 1983. A significant number of small holders continued to be entitled to unemployment assistance.
Means tested, disabled person’s maintenance allowances were transferred from the Department of Health to the Department of Social Welfare and became disability allowances.
Family income supplemental was introduced in 1984
Child allowances were removed from the tax system. Children’s allowance was renamed child benefit. The idea was that child benefit would be increased and be taxable. However, child benefit was not increased significantly. The 1995 “Rainbow” government increases child benefit significantly.
EU equality requirements had a very significant effect on the social welfare code. Many of the Irish schemes were based on gender discrimination in particular on the assumed non-participation of married women within the workforce. The delay in implementation of a directive during which married women received lower rates of benefit to the male counterparts led to equality litigation and pay-outs of over £60 million in arrears of benefit.
The widower’s pension was extended to widowers in 1994.
Some significant rates increases in social welfare rates were made through the 1990s and 2000s under National Programs. The period from 1995 to 2008 saw significant economic growth and fall in unemployment. Participation in the workforce increased enormously. The workforce increased to over 2 million.
The Employment Action plan 1998 required person who were unemployment for more than a certain period to be referred to the state employment agency for labour market activation.
The Carers Allowance was broadened and after 1997 there was a significant increase in take-up.
The Health Strategy in 2001 proposed a new homecare subvention.