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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.

Know your rights: Disabled Person’s Parking Permit

Can my daughter use my  Disabled Person’s Parking Permit if she is going to the shops for me?

A Disabled Person’s Parking Permit (also called EU Parking Card) is only issued to a person with a disability. The permit shows the name and photograph of the person it has been issued to. Your daughter cannot use your Disabled Person’s Parking Permit unless you are with her.

Only you can use it. However, you can use your permit for any vehicle you are travelling in, either as a driver or as a passenger. This means that if you are being driven at different times by different people you can bring the parking permit and display it in whichever vehicle you are using. So, if your daughter is driving you, she can use it to park her car in a disabled person’s parking space.

The permit allows you to use the public parking spaces assigned for vehicles being used by a person with a disability. These spaces or parking bays have the wheelchair symbol painted on the ground or have a sign with the wheelchair symbol displayed. Most accessible parking bays are located near amenities such as shops, post offices and schools.

Car parking spaces with the wheelchair symbol are usually wider than most other car parking spaces to allow drivers or passengers with a disability to get from their car seat to their wheelchair. If you travel to any EU country with your parking permit you can park in a disabled person’s parking space or bay.

The Disabled Person’s Parking Permit is administered by the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI) and the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA). Both organisations provide detailed information on how to use and apply for the Disabled Person’s Parking Permit. In Ireland, an EU parking permit is issued for two years. 


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: Eviction during COVID-19 Level 5 restrictions

My landlord has asked me to leave my rented accommodation. Can I be evicted during COVID-19?

Under COVID-19 restrictions, an eviction ban automatically kicks in any time people’s movement is restricted to 5 kilometres from their home. This means that you cannot be evicted at the moment while Ireland is at Level 5, and for a ten-day grace period after this.

Your landlord can give you an eviction notice during this time. However, the notice is paused while these restrictions are in place and for 10 days after restrictions are lifted. This means the date you are due to be evicted is extended by 10 days, plus the amount of time Ireland is at Level 5.

These protections do not apply if your landlord is asking you to leave for one of the following reasons:

  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Acting in a way that would invalidate a house insurance policy
  • Acting in a way that would cause substantial damage to the accommodation
  • Using the accommodation for commercial or other non-residential purposes

If the eviction notice is for one of these reasons, the eviction can go ahead once the appropriate notice period expires.

For more information on the eviction ban, see the Residential Tenancies Board’s guidance document and FAQs. If you are threatened with eviction, you should call Threshold for advice.

You can find more information about Renting and COVID-19 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: Retiring at 65 and social welfare payments

I have to retire at 65, and can’t claim my State pension until I’m 66. What can I do?

Many people, under their contract of employment, must retire at 65. However, State pensions are not paid until you are 66.

If you retire at 65, you may be able to get a new social welfare benefit. This is paid until you reach 66 and can claim a State pension. It is similar to Jobseeker’s Benefit, but you don’t need to be looking for work or sign on at your local Intreo centre. It is only available to people aged 65.

To qualify for this benefit, you must have stopped work, be living in Ireland and meet the social insurance (PRSI) conditions.

If you were an employee, you must have paid at least 39 PRSI contributions at Class A, H or P or have credited contributions in the governing contribution year – this is the second last complete tax year before the year you claim.  You must also have paid at least 104 PRSI contributions at Class A, H or P (or at least 156 PRSI contributions at Class S).

If you were self-employed, you must have paid 52 PRSI self-employment contributions at Class S in the governing contribution year and have paid at least 156 PRSI contributions at Class S (or at least 104 PRSI contributions at Class A or H).

You can take up a course provided you inform the Department of Social Protection. You can also continue in subsidiary employment.

You can claim for an adult dependant and any dependent children.

You will continue to get credited contributions while you are on the payment – these can count towards your State pension.

The quickest way to apply for the scheme is through MyWelfare.ie. You can also email forms@welfare.ie to get a paper application posted to you. 

You can read more about this new payment for people who retire at 65 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: Help when bereaved

I’m looking for some simple information on first steps after a bereavement for my sister who has been widowed. Can you recommend an appropriate resource?

Bereavement can be overwhelming and your sister may be going through many different emotions. The Citizens Information Board (CIB) has published a booklet that may be of help to your sister at this difficult time.

Bereavement – A practical guide (pdf) answers questions she may have about accessing money, getting help with funeral expenses, dealing with her loved one’s estate, and other practical issues she may be worried about. It has information on dealing with the loss of a loved one during COVID-19, as well as contact details for a range of support services available to those who have been bereaved.

You can get the guide online at citizensinformationboard.ie. You can also get a printed copy from your local Citizens Information Centre

You can get more information about any of the topics covered in the booklet on citizensinformation.ie. The website has detailed information on practical arrangements after a death, and all of the latest information on death and bereavement during COVID-19.


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: CAO late application

The closing date for applying to college was 1 February. Can I still apply?

You apply for almost all full-time undergraduate courses through the Central Applications Office (CAO). This includes, for example, university and institutes of technology undergraduate courses such as Higher Certificates at Level 6 and degrees at Levels 7 and 8.

The closing date for 2021 CAO applications was 1 February 2021. However, late applications are allowed up to 5.15pm on 1 May 2021.

There is a fee to apply for courses through the CAO and late applications pay an increased fee. Late online applications cost €60.

Regardless of when you applied, you can access your application to change the courses you picked or the order of courses. This Change of Mind facility is free. It opens on 5 May and closes on 1 July 2021 at 5:15pm.

If you want to be assessed as a mature applicant, or if you want to be considered for the HEAR and/or DARE schemes, most colleges require you to have applied to the CAO by 1 February 2021. You must submit your completed application for DARE and/or HEAR by 1 March 2021 and submit all your supporting documents by 15 March 2021.

There are also some restricted courses which you cannot apply for after 1 February 2021. 

The CAO’s handbook lists all the courses on offer and gives information on how to apply.

Decisions on offers of places are normally made in August and September, after the results of the Leaving Certificate have come out. A detailed schedule of the offer rounds is in the CAO handbook.

It is important to note that there is no central applications body for Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses. Students must apply directly to the individual colleges. You should check the closing date for PLC courses with the college where the PLC course is taking place.


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.