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Know your rights March 24th

Know your rights: Treatment Benefit Scheme                                                                    March 24, 2021

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

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.

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During the COVID-19 pandemic you can contact your local Citizens Information Centre:

•             Bray CIC on 0761 07 6780 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

•             Email Bray CIC at bray@citinfo.ie – anytime

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

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