Know Your Rights February 2018

citizens information

Know Your Rights

A: Treatment Abroad Scheme

February 2018

Question

I know that medical treatments available in Ireland can be accessed in other EU countries instead. What if I need a treatment that is not available in Ireland?

Answer

If you are entitled to public health services that are available in Ireland, you can access these services in the European Economic Area (EEA) and be repaid the cost under the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive.

If you are a public patient and need treatment that is not available to you in Ireland, you may be able to use the Treatment Abroad Scheme to get the treatment in another country in the EEA, or in Switzerland. The Scheme may provide help with your travel fare and, in some cases, the fare for a travelling companion.

You must be referred for treatment abroad by an Irish-based consultant who is treating you as a public patient. You cannot refer yourself or be referred by a GP.

You and the consultant complete an application form and include a copy of your referral letter. Your application must be approved by the Health Service Executive (HSE) before you travel or start treatment abroad. You usually get a decision on your application within 15 to 20 working days.

If your application is approved, the HSE will issue a form called E112. This authorises treatment abroad so that you do not have to make any payment to the healthcare provider. The treatment you have abroad must be in public healthcare under a registered medical practitioner. It must be in a recognised hospital or other institution that accepts the form E112. If you don’t have the form when you attend at your appointment, you may be charged and not be refunded. Any treatments or consultations that are not pre-approved will not be covered.

The Ombudsman has produced a report that suggests improvements to the application and appeals process. It recommends that, by the end of February 2018,  the HSE produce a plan and schedule for making the suggested changes.

To apply for the scheme, contact the Treatment Abroad Scheme Office for an application form. You can get the contact details for your area by calling the HSE Infoline on the Callsave number 1850 24 1850 or online at hse.ie/treatmentabroad. Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service below.
 

 

Know Your Rights

B:  Online dispute resolution

February 2018

Question

What can I do if I have a problem with an item I’ve bought online?

Answer

If you are not happy with an item you have bought online, you should always contact the trader first to make a complaint. If you are not satisfied with their response, you may be able to get help.

If your complaint is against a trader here in Ireland, you can contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission for advice.

If the trader is in another EU member state, you can contact the European Consumer Centre Ireland (ECC Ireland). ECC Ireland may contact the trader and try to resolve your dispute. If this is not successful, ECC Ireland can advise you on other options.

You can also use the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform. The ODR platform is operated by the European Commission for use by consumers living in the EU. It aims to help consumers and traders settle online disputes without the need to go to court. You use the platform to find a neutral third party (called a dispute resolution body) to handle your dispute.

You don’t have to pay when you submit a complaint using the ODR platform. However, a dispute resolution body may ask you to pay a fee if it agrees to handle your case. When a dispute resolution body agrees to handle your case it will tell you what the rules are, including how much you have to pay.

The outcome can depend on the type of dispute resolution body and their rules and procedures. Some decisions may not be binding on the trader. If you disagree with the outcome you might be able to appeal the outcome or take your case to court.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service below.

 

 

 

 


 

Know Your Rights

C:  Maternity leave

February 2018

Question

I recently started working in a new job on a part-time basis. I have just learned that I am pregnant – will I be entitled to maternity leave?

Answer

If you are pregnant while in employment, you are entitled to take maternity leave. The entitlement to a basic period of maternity leave from employment applies to all female employees (including casual workers), regardless of how long you have been working for the organisation or the number of hours you work per week. You are also entitled to additional unpaid maternity leave. The Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004 provide your statutory minimum entitlements in relation to maternity at work, including maternity leave.

You are entitled to 26 weeks’ maternity leave together with 16 weeks additional unpaid maternity leave, which begins immediately after the end of maternity leave.

Your entitlement to pay and superannuation (pension payments) during maternity leave depends on the terms of your contract of employment. Employers are not obliged to pay women who are on maternity leave. You may qualify for Maternity Benefit from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) if you have enough PRSI contributions. However an employee’s contract could provide for additional rights to payment during the leave period, so that, for example, the employee could receive full pay less the amount of Maternity Benefit payable.

If you have a dispute with your employer about maternity leave or if you have been dismissed due to a matter connected with your pregnancy or for claiming your rights under maternity leave legislation, you may make a complaint within six months of the dispute or complaint occurring. You must use the online complaint form available on workplacerelations.ie. The time limit may be extended for up to a further six months, but only where there is a reasonable cause which prevented the complaint being brought within the normal time limit.

You should apply for Maternity Benefit at least six weeks before your baby’s due date. Apply to the Maternity Benefit Section of the DEASP.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service below.

 

 

 

Know Your Rights

D: Cohabiting and social welfare payments

February 2018

Question

I applied for a means-tested Jobseeker’s Allowance, but I was told that I’m not eligible because of my partner’s earnings. Why is this? We live together but we are not married and we split our expenses equally.

Answer

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) treats married and unmarried couples in the same way when assessing entitlement to a means-tested social welfare payment. It assesses the total income of the household, rather than the circumstances of the individual claimant.

If you are married or are cohabiting, the means of your spouse or partner are also taken into account. This is the case even if only one of you is actually claiming a payment. The DEASP uses detailed definitions and criteria to assess whether a couple are cohabiting and you can read these online at welfare.ie.

The way the means of a couple is assessed can differ slightly, depending on the payment being applied for. For Blind Pension, State Pension (Non-Contributory) and Carer’s Allowance, the DEASP adds all of your means together and then halves the total to get the assessable means for each of you. For Jobseeker’s Allowance, Disability Allowance, and Farm Assist, the DEASP adds all your combined means together and then assesses the total against the maximum household payment for your circumstances.

If your partner is getting a social welfare payment in their own right, then your means are taken to be half of the total means of yourself and your partner.

Sometimes a certain amount of income, or income from particular sources, is not taken into account. This is called an income disregard. For example, a certain amount of income from employment can be disregarded.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Co Wicklow Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public. See www.citizensinformation.ie for details of your local centre or phone our main office in Bray on 0761 07 6780

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.

 

 

 

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