Know Your Rights: European Health Insurance Card

Question

My partner and I are planning a holiday in Spain. How do we access public healthcare services if one of us becomes ill?

Answer (July 2017)

You and your partner each need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This card allows you to access public healthcare services if you become ill or get injured when visiting certain European countries. It doesn’t cover private treatment or the cost of repatriation to Ireland if required.

The countries covered by the card are the 28 member states of the EU, the three other members of the EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and Switzerland. The card is not required for a visit to the UK if you can show that you are ordinarily resident in Ireland. In practice, this means showing a driving licence, passport or similar document.

If you have a smartphone you can download the free EHIC app.This includes emergency phone numbers and information about the treatments and costs that are covered. The app does not replace the card.

If you already have a medical card or Drugs Payment Scheme card, you can apply online for your EHIC at ehic.ie.

Otherwise, you can download an application form from ehic.ie or get one from your Local Health Office. You need to provide your name, address, date of birth and Personal Public Service Number (PPSN). If your EHIC has expired you can renew it online at ehic.ie. If your details have changed (for example, your address) you will need to contact your Local Health Office to renew the card.

If you have concerns about getting a new or renewed card in time, you can get a Temporary Replacement Certificate, either online or from your Local Health Office. You may also wish to consider taking out private travel insurance for expenses that are not covered by the European Health Insurance Card (such as the costs of repatriation or the expenses of relatives who travel to you if you fall ill abroad).

Know your rights: Public petitions // Achainíocha poiblí

Question

There is an important issue that I feel isn’t being considered by the Oireachtas but should be. I’ve heard that it is possible to make a petition directly to a parliamentary petitions committee. How does this work?

Answer (April 2017)

The Joint Committee on Public Petitions considers petitions from members of the public on matters in which the Houses of the Oireachtas have the power to act. Anyone except for members of the Oireachtas can submit a petition.

To make a petition, you fill out a form which is available on the Oireachtas website oireachtas.ie. The form can be submitted by post, by email or online and only one signature is required. The committee secretariat can assist you in completing the form and can also give advice on the type of petitions which can be accepted.

You should be able to show that you have already taken steps to resolve the issue, for example, through raising it with the Ombudsman or directly with the relevant government department.

The Joint Committee will not consider a complaint which has been the subject of a decision by an Ombudsman, a regulatory public body or a body set up for the purpose of redress.

If the petition is accepted, the Committee may respond to it in a number of ways. It may:

  • Refer the petition to another appropriate committee, Ombudsman, regulatory public body or redress body
  • Report to the Dáil and Seanad with recommendations
  • Request the petitioner to attend a meeting and address the committee

The parliamentary petitions system is a way that you can take your concerns directly to Parliament and seek to influence the parliamentary agenda. Further information on the Joint Committee on Public Petitions is available on oireachtas.ie.

Ceist

Tá saincheist thábhachtach ann a sílim nach bhfuiltear á breithniú ag an Oireachtas ach ar cheart di bheith. Chuala mé gur féidir achainí a dhéanamh go díreach le coiste achainíocha parlaiminteacha. Cén chaoi a n-oibríonn sé?

Freagra

Is é an Comhchoiste um Achainíocha Poiblí a bhreithníonn achainíocha ón bpobal i leith cúrsaí ina mbíonn an chumhacht ag Tithe an Oireachtais chun gníomhú. Is féidir le duine ar bith seachas comhaltaí den Oireachtas achainí a thaisceadh.

Comhlánóidh tú foirm chun achainí a dhéanamh, a bhíonn ar fáil ar láithreán gréasáin an Oireachtais oireachtas.ie. Is féidir an fhoirm a thaisceadh trí phost, trí ríomhphost nó ar líne, agus ní theastaíonn ach síniú amháin. Is féidir le rúnaíocht an choiste cúnamh leat chun an fhoirm a chomhlánú, agus is féidir leat comhairle a thabhairt freisin i leith an chineáil achainíocha ar féidir glacadh leo.

Ba cheart duit bheith in ann a thaispeáint gur ghlac tú céimeanna cheana féin chun an tsaincheist a fhuascailt, mar shampla, ach í a thabhairt aníos leis an Ombudsman nó go díreach leis an roinn rialtais ábhartha.

Ní bhreithneoidh an Comhchoiste gearán a tháinig faoi réir cinnidh leis an Ombudsman, comhlacht poiblí rialaitheach bunaithe chun críche an tsásaimh.

Má ghlactar leis an achainí, is féidir leis an gCoiste freagra a thabhairt dó ar roinnt bealaí. Féadfaidh sé:

  • An t-achainí a tharchur chuig coiste iomchuí éigin eile, an tOmbudsman, an comhlacht poiblí rialaitheach agus sásaimh.
  • Tuairisciú chuig an Dáil agus an Seanad le moltaí
  • Iarraidh ar an achainíoch chun freastal ar chruinniú agus aitheasc a thabhairt don choiste

Is bealach é córas na n-achainíocha parlaiminteachta ar féidir leat d’ábhair imní a thabhairt go díreach leis an bParlaimint agus tionchar ar an gclár parlaiminteach a lorg. Tá tuilleadh faisnéise i leith Chomhchoiste na nAchainíocha Poiblí ar fáil ar oireachtas.ie.

Know your rights: Long-term illness and the State Pension // Scéim Tinneas Fadtéarmach

Question

I’ve been on Illness Benefit for over a year. I don’t ever expect to be fit to return to work. As I’m now nearing pension age, will I be entitled to a full State Pension (Contributory)?

Answer (June 2017)

The State Pension (Contributory) is paid to people from the age of 66 who have enough social insurance contributions. To qualify, you will need to have paid at least 520 full-rate contributions, which is equivalent to 10 years. The amount of the pension will depend on your average number of contributions per year. Illness Benefit is paid for a maximum of two years. It will end before that if you turn 66, when you may be eligible for a State Pension. You should apply for the State Pension three months before your 66th birthday.

If your entitlement to Illness Benefit ends before you reach pension age at 66 and you are likely to be permanently incapable of work, you may qualify for Invalidity Pension. To get Invalidity Pension you must have at least 260 (or five years) paid PRSI contributions and 48 contributions paid or credited in the last complete tax year before the date of your claim. The last complete tax year is the year before your claim. For example, if you claim Invalidity Pension in 2017, the last complete tax year is 2016. Note that only PRSI paid in classes A, E and H currently count.

If you get Invalidity Pension, you will automatically transfer to the State Pension (Contributory) at the full rate when you turn 66.

You will be contacted by the Department of Social Protection  before your Illness Benefit is due to stop and you will be given information about your options. If at that stage, you don’t qualify for Invalidity Pension and have a disability that is expected to last for a year or more, you may qualify for a means-tested Disability Allowance.

You can get detailed information about the State Pension and payments for people with long-term illnesses from the website of the Department of Social Protection.

Ceist

Táim ar sochar breoiteachta le breis is bliain. Ní dóigh liom go mbeidh me sláintiúil a dhóthain chun filleadh ar obair. Ós rud é go bhfuilim ag druidim i dtreo aois an phinsin, an mbeidh mé i dteideal  pinsin iomlán (ranníocaíoch)?

Freagra

Tá an Pinsean Stáit (Ranníocach) iníoctha le daoine in Éirinn a bhfuil a ndóthain Ranníocaíochtaí Leasa Shóisialaigh íoctha acu agus a bhfuil 66 bliain slán acu.Chun a bheith incháilithe ní mór duit 520 ranníochaíocht ar an ráta iomlán a bheith íoctha agat, is ionann sin agus 10 mbliana. Braitheann méad an phinsin ar mheánlíon na ranníocaíochtaí in aghaidh na bliana. Íoctar sochar breoiteachta suas go 2 bhliain. Tiocfaidh deireadh leis roimhe sin má  shroicheann tú 66 bliain d’aois nuair a bheidh tú incháilithe do phinsean stáit. Bá chóir duit iarratas a dhéanamh ar phinnsean stáit 3 mhí roimh do 66ú breithlá.

Má thagann deireadh le do shochar breoiteachta roimh a shroicheann tú aois an phinsin  (6) agus más cosúil nach mbeidh tú riamh in ann obair, d’fhéadfadh tú a bheith incháilithe do phinsean easláinte. Chun Pinsean Easláinte a fháil ,caithfear na nithe seo a leanas a bheith agat ar a laghad 260 (5 bliana) ranníocaíocht ÁSPC íoctha agus 48 ranníocaíocht íoctha (nó creidmheas tugtha ina n-aghaidh sa bhliain cánach iomlán is déanaí roimh dháta an éilimh. An bhliain cánach is déanaí is ea an bhliain roimh an éilimh. Mar shampla, má dhéantar éileamh ar Phinsean Easláinte in 2017, an bhliain cánach iomlán is déanaí ná 2016. Nótáil nach n-áirítear ach aicmí ÁSPC A, E agus H.

Má fhaigheann tú an Pinsean Easláinte, aistreofar tú go dtí an Pinsean Stáit (ranníocaíoch) ag an ráta iomlán nuair a shroicheann tú 66.

Rachaidh an Roinn Coimirce Sóisialaí i dteagmháil leat roimh a chuirfear deireadh le do Shochar Breoiteachta agus tabharfar eolas duit maidir leis na roghanna atá agat. Mura mbeidh tú incháilithe ag an bpointe sin don Phinsean Easláinte agus má bhíonn míchumas agat a mhairfidh ar feadh bliana nó níos faide, d’fhéadfadh go mbeifeá incháilithe do Liúntas Míchumais ar bhonn tástála maoine.

Tá mionsonraí eolais faoin bPinsean Stáit agus faoi Íocaíochtaí do dhaoine a bhfuil tinneas fadtéarmach orthu ar fáil ar láithreán gréasáin na Roinne Coimirce Sóisialaí.