Know Your Rights A:
Treatment Abroad Scheme
I know that medical treatments available in Ireland can be accessed in other EU countries instead. What if I need a treatment that isn’t available in Ireland?
If you are entitled to public health services that are available in Ireland, it is possible to 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 healthcare 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 Switzerland. The Scheme may provide help with travel costs for the patient and a travelling companion, where appropriate.
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 your referring consultant, must 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 will get a decision on your application by letter, usually within 15 to 20 working days. If your application is not approved, you will be told the reasons and given information on how to appeal the decision.
If your application is approved, the HSE will issue a form called S2 (also known as 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 in a recognised hospital or other institution that accepts the form S2. If you don’t have the S2 at your appointment, you may be charged and not be refunded. Any treatments or consultations that are not pre-approved will not be covered.
For an application form, contact the Treatment Abroad Scheme Office. You can get the contact details for your area by calling the HSE Infoline on Callsave 1850 24 1850 or online at hse.ie/treatment abroad.
Know Your Rights B:
Home Renovation Incentive
We plan to extend our home and hope to claim the Home Renovation Incentive. How does this scheme work?
The Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) scheme enables homeowners to claim tax relief on repairs, renovations or improvement work carried out on their homes. Landlords can also avail of the scheme. It is paid in the form of a tax credit at 13.5% of qualifying expenditure, which can be set against your income tax over 2 years. You must be paying income tax to avail of the HRI. You must also be up to date with your Local Property Tax (LPT) obligations.
Your contractor must be registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) in Ireland and be tax compliant. They also have to register the work on the HRI online administration system. If you use several contractors, such as a builder, a plumber and an electrician, you can combine the cost of the works to make up the minimum qualifying expenditure of €5,000 excluding VAT at 13.5%.
Repair, renovation or improvement work subject to VAT at 13.5% all qualify for the HRI, including extensions and attic conversions; supply and fitting of kitchens, bathrooms and built-in wardrobes; fitting of windows; plumbing, tiling, rewiring and plastering. Work subject to VAT at 23% is not covered. Neither are items such as furniture, white goods or carpets.
The work must be carried out and paid for by 31 December 2016. In general, the tax credit is paid over the 2 years following the year in which the work is carried out and paid for. If you are a PAYE taxpayer, the credit will be included in your annual Tax Credit Certificates. If you are a self-assessment taxpayer, it will be incorporated into your tax assessment.
After work starts you should log in to HRI online to check that your contractor(s) have entered details of the work. You will not be able to claim the HRI tax credit if the details have not been entered onto HRI online. Once the work has been completed you can claim the HRI credit. You access the HRI online system through Revenue’s myAccount service or through the Revenue Online Service (ROS) if you are registered for ROS.
There is detailed information for homeowners and landlords on revenue.ie.
Know Your RightsC:
Can you explain how the census works? Do I have to complete the form?
The Census of Population counts every person who is in the State on a particular date. It establishes the size of the population in the State and it also helps to provide an accurate measure of population changes due to inward and outward migration.
The census takes place every 5 years and is carried out by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The next census will be on Sunday 24 April 2016.
The census counts everyone who is present in the State on the designated night, including visitors who usually live abroad. Under the Statistics Act 1993, you are legally obliged to complete and return the census form. If you refuse to provide this information, or if you deliberately provide false information, you may be fined.
Teams of enumerators deliver census forms to every household and to every other type of place where people may be present on census night (such as hotels, guesthouses, hospitals, ships). Everyone who is actually on the premises on census night, including visitors, should be counted. Census enumerators call to all households to deliver forms before census night and then call back to collect completed forms. Enumerators all carry ID and can help if you have difficulty completing the form.
The form includes a wide range of questions, including age, marital status, sex, place of birth, level of education, type of employment and housing characteristics. All the information that you give on the census form is confidential. The CSO only uses it for statistical purposes and no other organisation (including government departments or agencies) can access information from the census that would identify you in any way.
When you have completed the form on census night, sign the declaration at the end of it and keep it safe until your enumerator calls back to collect it.
Know Your Rights D:
Discrimination when renting residential property
Are advertisements saying that landlords won’t accept tenants getting Rent Supplement allowed?
Equality legislation applies to lettings and accommodation. The Equal Status Acts 2000-2015 ban certain kinds of discrimination. Broadly speaking, discrimination means that you receive less favourable treatment than other people in a comparable situation on grounds of gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race or membership of the Traveller community. Landlords cannot discriminate against potential tenants on these grounds.
Since 1 January 2016, following an amendment to the Equal Status Acts, landlords cannot discriminate against tenants because they are getting Rent Supplement or any other social welfare payment, or a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).
This means that landlords can no longer state when advertising accommodation that Rent Supplement (or HAP) is not accepted and they cannot refuse to rent you accommodation because you are getting Rent Supplement, HAP or a social welfare payment.
However if you are sharing with the home owner (under the Rent a Room Scheme, for example), a license agreement exists and the Acts do not apply. There are some other exemptions.
If you feel you have been discriminated against by a landlord or their agent, you can contact the Workplace Relations Commission to find out more about making a complaint under the Equal Status Acts. Visit workplacerelations.ie for contact details.
For more information about your rights you can contact the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.
Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.
Co Wicklow Citizens Information Service
Bray Citizens Information Centre Tel: 0761 07 6780
Arklow Citizens Information Centre Tel: 0761 07 6750
Wicklow Town Citizens Information Centre Tel: 0761 07 6840
Baltinglass Citizens Information Centre Tel: 086 048 1880
Blessington Citizens Information Centre Tel: 086 048 1881
Glendalough Citizens Information Centre Tel: 0404 45611
Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.