Refunds of domestic water charges

The Water Services Bill 2017 is currently going through the Oireachtas. It provides for the refund of payments made for domestic water charges. Irish Water plans to issue refund cheques to around 990,000 customers after the legislation has been passed.

Customers can log into their My Water account on water.ie, where they can find their WPRN and Account Number, view their previous bills and payments, and check that Irish Water has their correct contact details for refunds.

Customers who have moved house should contact Irish Water at 1850 448 448 or +353 1 707 2824 to update their details, so that the refund cheque will go to their new address. These lines are open Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5:30 pm.

Read more on water.ie.

Know Your Rights: Better Energy Homes Scheme // Scéim um Thithe Fuinnimh níos Fearr

Question

Our heating bills are quite high because our house is difficult to heat. Is there a grant available to improve the insulation?

Answer (October 2017)

The Better Energy Homes Scheme provides grants to homeowners to improve energy efficiency in their homes. It is also available to landlords and owners of more than one property. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) administers the scheme.

You can use the Home Energy Self Survey on the SEAI website to identify areas in your home that could be improved to increase energy efficiency. You can also get a Building Energy Rating (BER) done if you are uncertain about your energy-saving options or what work to get done first.

Grants are available for roof insulation, wall insulation, upgrade of heating controls, high-efficiency boiler installation and solar heating. You can also get a grant to have a BER done after the energy-saving work is carried out.

To qualify for a grant, you must: own a dwelling built before 2006; use a contractor from SEAI’s registered list; use newly fitted materials and products; have work done that complies with the required standards; have a BER carried out after the works are done and use a BER assessor from SEAI’s National Register. You must have grant approval before you buy materials or start work.

Grants for qualifying measures range from a maximum of €300 for attic or cavity wall insulation to a maximum of €4,500 for external wall insulation on a detached house. Grants are paid after the work is completed and you have paid your contractor.

If you get three qualifying measures done, a bonus of €300 is payable on top of the grants. (A BER doesn’t count as a measure for this bonus.) A further €100 is payable on completion of a fourth measure. See seai.ie for full details of grants and bonuses.

If you are also claiming a tax credit under the Home Renovation Incentive, the amount of expenditure that qualifies for the credit will be reduced. You can contact SEAI at 1850 927 000 or info@betterenergyhomes.ie.

Ceist

Tá ár billí teasa sách ard go leor toisc go bhfuil sé deacair ár dteach a théamh. An bhfuil deontas ar fáil chun an insliú a fheabhsú? is difficult to heat. Is there a grant available to improve the insulation?

Freagra

Soláthraíonn an Scéim um Thithe Fuinnimh níos Fearr deontais d’úinéirí tí chun éifeachtacht fuinnimh a fheabhsú ina gcuid tithe. Is féidir le tiarnaí talún agus le h-úinéirí a bhfuil níos mó ná teach amháin acu iarratas a dhéanamh ar dheontas faoin scéim freisin. Is é Údarás Fuinneamh Inmharthana Éireann (ÚFIÉ) a riarann an scéim.

Is féidir leat Féinsuirbhé Baile a dhéanamh chun réimsí a aithint i do theach a bhféadfaí feabhas a chur orthu chun éifeachtacht fuinnimh a fheabhsú.Is féidir leat Rátáil Fuinnimh an Fhoirgnimh (BER) a dhéanamh ar do theach má bhíonn tú eiginnte maidir le do roghanna sábhála fuinnimh nó maidir le cen obair a bhéidh le déanamh ar dtús.

Is féidir deontas a fháil d’insliú don díon, insliú balla, uasghrádú ar rialtáin teasa, athsholáthar ar choire ardéifeachtachta agus griantéamh. Is féidir deontas a fháil freisin chun Rátáil Fuinnimh an Fhoirgnimh (BER) a dhéanamh tar éis a ndéantar an obair choigilte fuinnimh

Chun bheith cáilithe don deontas, ní mór duit; d’áitreabh féin bheith agat ó 2006 i leith, conraitheoirí ó liosta cláraithe SEAI a úsáid, ábhair agus táirgí nuachóirithe a úsáid, obair bheith déanta a thagann leis an gcaighdeán cuí, Rátáil Fuinnimh an Fhoirgnimh bheith déanta tar éis an obair a chríochnú agus measúnóir RFF ó Chlár Náisiúnta Údarás Fuinnimh Inmharthana na hÉireann (SEAI) a úsáid chuige. Ní mór an deontas bheith ceadaithe roimh duit ábhair a cheannach ná aon obair a thosú.

Bíonn na deontais a bhronntar le haghaidh bearta cáilitheacha ar fáil idir uasmhéid €300 ar insliú cuasbhalla is áiléir agus uasmhéid €4,500 ar insliú balla seachtrach tí scoite. Bronntar deontais tar éis an obair a theacht chun críche agus tar éis do chonraitheoir féin a íoc.

Tá bónas €300 iníoctha nuair atá 3 bheart incháilithe curtha i gcrích ar theach, agus tá €100 breise iníoctha nuair a chuirtear an 4ú beart i gcrích.If you get three qualifying measures done, a bonus of €300 is payable on top of the grants. (Ní chuirtear BER san áireamh mar bheart le haghaidh an bhónais á ríomh.) A further Tá €100 eile iníoctha nuair a chuirfear an ceathrú beart i gcrích. Féach seai.ie chun na sonraí go léir maidir le deontais agus bónais a fháil.

Má tá creidmheas cánach á éileamh agat faoin Dreasacht Athchóirithe Tí, déanfar an méid caiteachais atá incháilithe le haghaidh creidmheas a laghdú. Is feidir leat teagmháil a dhéanamh ar SEAI at 1850 927 000 or info@betterenergyhomes.ie.

Deadlines for self-assessed tax returns

Self-assessed taxpayers should make their “pay and file” tax return by 31 October 2017, if they are making a paper return. People using the Revenue Online System (ROS) now have until Thursday 16 November 2017 to make their return.

You should pay and file on time to avoid surcharges, interest and penalties, and reduce your risk of a tax audit. Under the pay and file system, you must do the following :

  • Make your tax return for the 2016 tax year, including a self-assessment of your tax due for that year
  • Pay the balance of any tax due for 2016
  • Pay Preliminary Tax for the current tax year – 2017.

Visit revenue.ie for more information, including a guide on completing your tax return (pdf).

Read more about the extended deadline and opening hours for ROS.

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 // Sochair do chúramóirí

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.

Ceist

Caithfidh mé am a ghlacadh as an obair chun cúram lánaimseartha a sholáthar do m’athair. Cad atá ar fáil do dhaoine ar nó mise?

Freagra

Tá roinnt teidlíochtaí ar fáil duit. Chun bheith incháilithe, caithfidh cúram agus aire lánaimseartha a bheith de dhíth ar an duine a bhfuil tú ag tabhairt aire dó (d’athair).

Má tá tú ag obair i láthair na huaire agus beidh tú ag glach adh ama ón obair chun cúram a thabhairt, féadfaidh tú bheith incháilithe le haghaidh saoire chúramóra ar feadh suas go 2 bhliain. Ní mór duit  a bheith ag obair dod’ fhostóir ar feadh tréimhse leanúnach de 12 mhí chun bheith incáilithe don tsaoire seo.

Nuair atá tú ar shaoire cúramóra, tá tú i dteideal ranníocaíochtaí árachais shóisialaigh creidiúnaithe chun do thaifead ÁSPC a choimeád.

Tá tú i dteideal saoire bhliantúla agus laethanta saoire poiblí i leith na chéad 13 seachtaine de shaoire cúramóra. Ní féidir le d’fhostóir tú a fhoirceannadh ​​nó a íospartú as ucht do cheart saoire cúramóra a ghlacadh.

B’fhéidir go mbeadh tú i dteideal Sochar Cúramóra ón Roinn Gnóthaí Fostaíochta agus Coimirce Sóisialaí, má tá go leor ranníocaíochtaí ÁSPC agat chun cáiliú.

Mura bhfuil tú incháilithe do Shochar Cúramóra, d’fhéadfá bheith incháilithe le haghaidh Liúntas Cúramóra faoi thástáil mhaoine. Má fhaigheann tú Liúntas Cúramóra, b’fhéidir go mbeadh tú i dteideal Pas Saorthaistil. Má tá cónaí ort leis an duine a bhfuil tú ag tabhairt aire dó, d’fhéadfá cáiliú freisin don Phacáiste Sochair Teaghlaigh.

Tá Deontas Tacaíochta do Chúramóirí bliantúil ann de €1,700, ar a dtugadh an Deontas Cúraim Faoisimh roimhe seo), a íoctar le cúramóirí lánaimseartha i mí an Mheithimh gach bliain. Fiú mura bhfuil aon íocaíocht leasa shóisialaigh eile á fáil agat, is féidir leat cáiliú don deontas seo má chomhlíonann tú na coinníollacha.