Cross-Border Healthcare Directive

If you are entitled to public health services in Ireland, you can access those health services in another European Union country and be repaid the cost if you meet certain requirements.

The amount that can be refunded is the cost of the public healthcare in Ireland, or the cost of your treatment abroad, if that is less. It does not include other costs such as travel.

Read more about the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive.

 

Know Your Rights: Benefits for carers

Question

I will need to take time out from work to provide full-time care for my father. What is available for people in my situation?

Answer (September 2017)

There are several entitlements available to you. In order for you to qualify, the person you are caring for (your father) must be in need of full-time care and attention.

If you are working at present and will be taking time off to care, you may be eligible for carer’s leave of up to 2 years. You must have worked for your employer for a continuous period of 12 months to qualify for this leave.

While you are on carer’s leave, you are entitled to get credited social insurance contributions to maintain your PRSI record.

You are entitled to annual leave and public holidays in respect of the first 13 weeks of carer’s leave. Your employer cannot dismiss you or victimise you for exercising your right to carer’s leave.

You may also be entitled to Carer’s Benefit from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, if you have enough PRSI contributions to qualify.

If you do not qualify for Carer’s Benefit, you may qualify for a means-tested Carer’s Allowance. If you get Carer’s Allowance, you may be entitled to a Free Travel Pass. If you live with the person you are caring for, you may also qualify for the Household Benefits Package.

There is also an annual Carer’s Support Grant of €1,700, formerly known as the Respite Care Grant, which is paid to full-time carers in June each year. Even if you are not getting any other social welfare payment, you can qualify for this grant if you fulfil the conditions.

Know Your Rights: Flu vaccination

Question

I have been recommended to get a flu vaccination. Can I get it for free?

Answer (September 2017)

Influenza, usually known as the flu, is highly infectious and anyone can get it. However some groups are at greater risk of complications if they get the flu. This includes people over the age of 65, pregnant women and people who have a chronic medical condition.

The flu vaccine can help protect you from getting the flu. The flu virus changes every year and this is why there is a new vaccine each year. Vaccination is strongly recommended if you:

  • Are aged 65 and over
  • Have a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, heart, kidney, liver, lung or neurological disease
  • Have an impaired immune system due to disease or treatment
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) over 40
  • Are pregnant
  • Live in a nursing home or other long-stay institution
  • Are a carer or a healthcare worker
  • Have regular contact with poultry, water fowl or pigs

You can get the vaccine from your GP (family doctor) or pharmacist. Children can get the vaccine from a GP.

The vaccine itself is free of charge if you are in one of the recommended groups.

However, doctors and pharmacists may charge a consultation fee when they give you the vaccine.

If you have a medical card or GP visit card, you can get the vaccine without being charged a consultation fee.

Refunds of water charges

The Water Services Bill 2017 has been published. It provides for the refund of payments made for domestic water charges.

Refund cheques will issue to around 990,000 customers after the legislation is passed.

Customers who have moved house should contact Irish Water at 1850 448 448 to update their details so that the cheque will go to their new address. This line is open Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5:30 pm.

Read more on water.ie.

Know Your Rights: Student grant appeals

Question

I’ve applied for a student grant to start a college course this year but I didn’t get the grant I was expecting. What can I do?

Answer

Applications for the Student Grant Scheme are processed by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). If you are not happy with the outcome of your application, you can ask SUSI to review the decision if there has been a change in your circumstances or if you think your household income wasn’t assessed correctly. You can also request a review if you think you should get a special rate of grant or if you think there was an error in assessing the distance between your home and college (which affects whether you get an adjacent or non-adjacent rate).

You can request a review by using the online form on the website susi.ie.

You can also make an appeal to SUSI if you are not happy with your final grant decision or if you request a review and are not satisfied with the outcome. You must make the appeal within 30 days of the original grant decision. This deadline may be extended by a further 30 days if the Appeals Officer accepts that you have reasonable cause.

To appeal, you complete the form, available at susi.ie, explaining why you think SUSI applied the rules incorrectly. The Appeals Officer will notify you of the outcome within 30 days.

If your appeal is turned down you can submit a further appeal to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board, outlining why you believe the scheme has not been interpreted correctly in your case. When you get the written decision of the SUSI Appeals Officer it will include information on how to submit an appeal to the Student Grants Appeals Board.

The Board has 60 days to decide on your appeal and will write to you to let you know its decision. An appeal of this decision on a specific point of law is possible and can be made to the High Court.