Know your rights: Treatment Benefit Scheme

A work colleague told me that there is a payment to help with the cost of my hearing aids. How do I get this?

You can get help with the cost of your hearing aids under the Treatment Benefit Scheme run by the Department of Social Protection.

From 27 March 2021, you can get the full cost of a hearing aid up to a maximum of €500 or €1000 for a pair. Before this date, you had to pay at least half the cost of a hearing aid and repairs.

For example, if a hearing aid costs €600, you now only pay €100 for one aid or €200 for a pair. The scheme also covers the full cost of repairs to aids, up to a maximum of €100.

The Treatment Benefit Scheme is available to workers (both employees and self-employed) and retired people who have enough social insurance (PRSI) contributions.  The amount of PRSI contributions that you need depends on your age. You can find out more about the PRSI contributions you need on citizensinformation.ie.

If you do not have enough PRSI contributions of your own, you may be able to qualify using your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant’s PRSI record. In this case, you must have been dependent on them before you started work or your gross income must be €100 or less per week. You are not classified as a dependent if you are getting certain social welfare payments.

You should check your eligibility for the Treatment Benefit Scheme before buying your hearing aids.  Your audiologist or hearing aid provider can do this for you.

To find out if you qualify for the Scheme, your hearing aid provider or audiologist will need some information about you, such as your date of birth and your PPS number. Before your treatment, you will need to sign a consent form agreeing to them having your information and giving it to the Department of Social Protection.

If you are claiming as a dependant on the PRSI record of your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant both you and your spouse or partner will need to sign the consent form.

There are also dental benefits and optical benefits available under the Treatment Benefit Scheme.

You can read more about the Treatment Benefit Scheme on citizensinformation.ie


During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo.

You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: Partial Capacity Benefit

I am getting Invalidity Pension and I’d like to go back to work. I can’t work full-time because of my disability and this will affect my earnings. Is there any support available?

The Partial Capacity Benefit (PCB) scheme allows you to return to work or self-employment and continue to get a social welfare payment. There is no restriction on what you can earn or the number of hours you can work.

You must get written approval from the Department of Social Protection before you start work.  You should also get approval from your doctor.

To qualify for Partial Capacity Benefit:

  • You must have been getting Illness Benefit (for at least 6 months) or Invalidity Pension.
  • The restriction on your capacity for work must be assessed as moderate, severe, or profound by the Department of Social Protection. If it is assessed as mild, you do not qualify.

When you apply, the Department of Social Protection assesses your medical condition and its restriction on your capacity for work. You get a percentage of your personal rate of Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension payment depending on your capacity for work.

If your capacity is assessed as:

  • Profound –  you get 100% of the payment
  • Severe – you get 75% of the payment
  • Moderate – you get 50% of the payment

If you are coming from Invalidity Pension, your Partial Capacity Benefit will continue for a maximum of 3 years (156 weeks). However, you can apply for PCB again. You will be reassessed by the Department to determine if you qualify for the scheme.

If you are coming from Illness Benefit, your Partial Capacity Benefit payment will last as long as you have an underlying entitlement to Illness Benefit.

If you get Partial Capacity Benefit it may affect other secondary benefits you are getting from the Department of Social Protection.

You can find out more about Partial Capacity Benefit on citizensinformation.ie.


During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig shona daoibh

Guímid gach rath oraibh ar Lá Fhéile Pádraig.

Seachtain na Gaeilge ag teacht chun deiridh inniu agus tá súil againn gur bhaint sibh taitneamh as roinnt de na himeachtaí. Is féile idirnáisiúnta is mó so domhain í, atá ag ceiliúradh dár dteanga agus dár gcultúr dúchais.

Is deis iontach é freisin, Ghaeilge a úsáid. Tá súil againn go raibh seans agaibh Gaeilge a labhairt le do chomhghleacaithe agus le do chairde.

Ná déan dearmad, cuirimid faisnéis ar fáil, i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge, ar citizensinformation.ie.

Bíodh lá aoibhinn agaibh.

Happy St Patrick’s Day

Everyone at Citizens Information Board wishes you all the best on St. Patrick’s Day.

Seachtain na Gaeilge comes to an end today and we hope you enjoyed the various activities. It is the largest international festival in the world to celebrate our national language and culture. It is also a great opportunity to use Irish. We hope you had the chance to speak Irish with your colleagues and friends. Don’t forget, we provide information in English and Irish on citizensinformation.ie.

Enjoy the day.

Know your rights: Bullying at work

I think I’m being bullied by my boss at work. What exactly is bullying and what protections do I have?

Bullying is defined as repeated inappropriate behaviour direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment, which could be reasonably regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity at work.

Bullying can take many different forms such as:

  • Social exclusion and isolation
  • Verbal abuse and insults
  • Being treated less favourably than colleagues in similar roles
  • Belittling a person’s opinion
  • Spreading malicious rumours, gossip or innuendo
  • Intrusion – pestering, spying or stalking
  • Intimidation and aggressive interactions
  • Excessive monitoring of work
  • Withholding information needed for the person to perform their job properly
  • Repeatedly manipulating a person’s job contents and targets
  • Blaming a person for things beyond their control
  • Use of aggressive or obscene language
  • Other menacing behaviour

Your employer has a duty of care for all their employees to prevent bullying. They also have responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2005 (as amended) for the welfare of employees.

A new Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Prevention and Resolution of Bullying at Work came into effect on 23 December 2020. Under the Code your employer must:

  • Take reasonable steps to prevent bullying in the workplace
  • Have an anti-bullying policy for dealing with complaints of bullying
  • Develop the anti-bullying policy in consultation with employees
  • Prepare a Safety Statement based on an assessment of the risk of bullying

A summary of your employer’s anti-bullying policy should be displayed within your workplace.

The new code sets out a detailed procedure for dealing with informal and formal complaints. You can read more about how to make a complaint on citizensinformation.ie


During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: Benefits for carers

I need to take time out from work to care for my father. What supports are available for people in my situation?

There are several supports available to you. To qualify for these supports, the person you are caring for (your father) must need full-time care and attention.

If you are working at present and want to take time off to care for your father, 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.

Your employer does not pay you while you are on carer’s leave but you can get credited social insurance contributions to maintain your PRSI record.

You are entitled to annual leave and public holidays for 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 able to get Carer’s Benefit from the Department of 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 which is paid to full-time carers in June each year. From June 2021, the grant will increase from €1700 to €1850. Even if you are not getting any other social welfare payment, you can qualify for this grant if you meet the conditions.

You can find more information about support for carers on citizensinformation.ie.


During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.