Health insurance abroad

The European Health Insurance Card lets you access public healthcare services when travelling in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
You can apply online if you are currently resident in Ireland and already have either a medical card or a Drugs Payment Scheme card. Otherwise, you can download an application form (pdf) and return the completed form to your Local Health Office at least 1 month before you travel.
European Health Insurance Cards are not renewed automatically when they expire. You can apply to renew your Card online.
There is more information about the Card on hse.ie and in our document.

Know Your Rights: Back to Work Family Dividend

Question

I am getting Jobseeker’s Allowance and have just been offered a job. My husband looks after our two children at home. Can I get any social welfare assistance if I stop signing on and go back to work?

Answer (March 2018)

There is a scheme for people with children who stop claiming a jobseeker’s payment, or a one-parent family payment, because they are in – or are taking up – work or self-employment. The scheme is called the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD).

The BTWFD is a weekly payment for up to two years after you start work. For the first year in employment, you are paid the equivalent of any Increase for a Qualified Child that you were getting on your jobseeker’s payment or one-parent family payment (up to a maximum of four children). You get half of that amount weekly for the second year.

To qualify, you must have at least one qualified child and have been getting one of the following payments: Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit (for at least 12 months), One-Parent Family Payment, or Jobseeker’s Transitional payment. You and all members of your family (including your adult dependant) must sign off all primary social welfare payments.

The BTWFD can be paid with other social welfare payments including Working Family Payment (formerly called Family Income Supplement), Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, Child Benefit, Domiciliary Care Allowance and Rent Supplement.

You can get BTWFD for up to two years if you stay in employment. If you or your husband claim a primary social welfare payment within two years of you starting work, the BTWFD payment will stop. If you lose your job and claim a social welfare payment, the BTWFD stops. However, it may restart if you get a new job. You can get a maximum of two restarts per claim.

Registering to vote

Eligible voters can still apply to be registered in time for the referendum on 25 May 2018.
Applications for inclusion in the supplement to the Register of Electors must reach your local authority by Tuesday 8 May 2018.
To avail of certain facilities for voters with disabilities, such as voting by post or from a hospital or nursing home, eligible voters must apply for inclusion in the supplement to the Special Voters List or the supplement to the Postal Voters List. These applications must reach your local authority by Saturday 28 April 2018.
Application forms are available on checktheregister.ie.

Applying for school transport

The Department of Education and Skills provides subsidised school transport for primary and post-primary pupils. Bus Éireann runs the school bus service and the Department of Education and Skills decides the annual fares.

Bus Éireann’s online application system for school transport is now open for the 2018/2019 school year.

The closing date for applications is Friday 27 April 2018. Please note that only new pupils need apply, for example, pupils who are starting primary school or moving to post-primary school in Autumn 2018.

There are separate schemes for primary and post-primary children.

Tidy Towns competition

The 2018 SuperValu Tidy Towns competition is now open for entries. The competition is for local communities who are interested in improving the quality of their surroundings and, in the process, developing community spirit.

The competition is administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

It has been running since 1958 and each year attracts more than 700 communities across Ireland to compete for a cash award and the title of Ireland’s Tidiest Town.

Entry is voluntary and the competition is open to every village, town and city area in the State. The closing date for receipt of entries for this year’s competition is Wednesday 23 May 2018.

Judging takes place in June, July and August each year and the results are announced at the National Awards Ceremony in September.

Read more about the Tidy Towns competition.

Improved access to online content services

Since 1 April 2018, new portability rules mean that you can access online content services when travelling within the EU.
The rules cover online content services that you have already paid for at home, whether by subscription or through an individual purchase.
These frequently asked questions and this factsheet (pdf) provide more information about the new rules.
You can read about this and other consumer rights changes on eccireland.ie.