The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the strains of flu virus most likely to circulate every year. As flu season is generally from September to April, you should get the vaccine now to be covered for the full season.
The HSE recommends that people in at-risk groups in particular should get the flu vaccine. You are considered at risk if you:
- Are aged 65 or over
- Are pregnant
- Have a long-term health condition
- Work in healthcare
- Are a carer
- Live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
- Are in regular contact with pigs, poultry or water fowl
The flu vaccine is free from your GP, pharmacist or Occupational Health Department if you are in an at-risk group. However, you may be charged a consultation fee, unless you have a medical card or GP visit card.
Find out more about the vaccine on hse.ie.
To mark International Literacy Day 2018, the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) is launching a campaign for people who have difficulty with reading, writing, maths or technology.
To get the help you need, call Freephone 1800 20 20 65 or text LEARN to 50050.
Find out more on takethefirststep.ie.
The Brexit Loan Scheme offers access to finance for businesses that will be affected by Brexit. The scheme is delivered by participating commercial lenders on behalf of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI).
Under the Brexit Loan Scheme, eligible businesses can apply for finance on favourable terms. Each business can avail of a single loan ranging from €25,000 to €1.5m.
You can read more about the scheme on the SCBI website or in this detailed information pack (pdf) published by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
Read about other Brexit-related supports on prepareforbrexit.com.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has temporarily closed the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BSCFA) phone line. The staff who usually answer the phones have been reassigned to help clear the backlog of BSCFA applications.
Find out more on welfare.ie.
Since 1 September 2018, all carers getting full or half-rate Carer’s Benefit or Carer’s Allowance can get a GP visit card. The card lets you visit your GP for free.
You can register for a card online or download an application form (pdf) from hse.ie. Forms are also available from your local Citizens Information Centre or you can phone LoCall 1890 252 919 to order one in the post.
Find out more about GP visit cards.
If you are searching for private rented accommodation, you should be careful of rental scams. While these scams occur all year round, they are particularly likely now as students look for accommodation for the college year.
There are three mains types of rental scam:
- The scammer claims they are out of the country and cannot show you the property, but asks you to pay a deposit to secure your tenancy regardless
- The scammer is living at the property and shows a number of people around it, gets a deposit from several people and disappears with the money
- The scammer tells you that you have secured a property, only for you to find that the keys don’t work and the landlord has disappeared
To avoid these rental scams, you should:
- Never agree to rent a property you have not seen in person
- Never pay with cash or by Electronic Fund Transfer services
- Use an escrow account to pay if possible
If you think you may be a victim of a rental scam, report it at your local Garda station.
Threshold, Ireland’s national housing charity, has more information about rental scams on its website.
You can also read more on garda.ie.
Today is International Overdose Awareness Day. This annual event aims to raise awareness about overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths.
Find out more on overdoseday.com.
Friday 26 October 2018 has been set as polling day for the upcoming presidential election.
You must be on the Register of Electors for 2018-2019 to vote in the election. You can check to see if you are registered.
If you are eligible to vote but are not on the Register of Electors, you can apply to be included in the supplement to it.
You can apply at any time. However, you can only be included in the supplement used at the election on 26 October if your local authority receives your application by Tuesday 9 October 2018.
If you wish to be included in the supplement to the Postal Voters List or the Special Voters List in time to vote in the election, the local authority must receive your application by Monday 1 October 2018.
All application forms are available on checktheregister.ie and from your local authority.
Read more about registering to vote.
The Personal Microcredit Scheme provides small credit union loans at low interest rates. These loans are available to people getting a social welfare payment who may have difficulty getting credit from other sources.
The scheme aims to reduce dependence on moneylenders with very high interest rates. The loans are called It Makes Sense loans.
You can get a list of participating credit unions on itmakessenseloan.ie .
Find out more about the Personal Microcredit Scheme on citizensinformation.ie.
We have become aware of fraudulent emails purporting to come from citizensinformation.ie looking for personal information from taxpayers in connection with a Revenue tax refund or seeking credit/debit card details.
These emails and text messages did not issue from citizensinformation.ie or from Revenue.
The Revenue Commissioners never send emails or text messages requiring customers to send personal information via email, text or pop-up windows.
Anyone who receives an email or text message purporting to be from Revenue and suspects it to be fraudulent or a scam should simply delete it. Anyone who is actually awaiting a tax refund should contact their local Revenue Office to check its status.
Anyone who provided personal information in response to these fraudulent emails or text messages should contact their bank or credit card company immediately.
Please see Revenue’s data and security page for further information.