Farm­ers may now be el­i­gi­ble for health ben­e­fits

New leg­is­la­tion could save farm­ers – and their part­ners – money in eye­sight, hear­ing and den­tal treat­ment, writes Martin O’Sul­li­van

Irish Independent - Farming - - FINANCE FARMING -

MOST peo­ple will be aware that PRSI con­tri­bu­tions (class S) made by the self-em­ployed will en­ti­tle them to a con­trib­u­tory old age pen­sion, widow’s pen­sion or ma­ter­nity ben­e­fit.

How­ever, from March 27, 2017 the Treat­ment Ben­e­fit Scheme was ex­tended to also cover self-em­ployed peo­ple who pay Class S PRSI, which in­cludes most if not all farm­ers.

The Treat­ment Ben­e­fit Scheme is a scheme run by the Depart­ment of So­cial Pro­tec­tion that pro­vides den­tal, op­ti­cal and au­ral (hear­ing aids) ser­vices to qual­i­fied peo­ple.

The scheme is avail­able to peo­ple who have the re­quired num­ber of PRSI con­tri­bu­tions.

Med­i­cal card hold­ers are legally en­ti­tled to more ex­ten­sive den­tal, oph­thalmic and au­ral ser­vices from the HSE but, in prac­tice, the avail­abil­ity of these ser­vices varies from area to area.


In­di­vid­u­als must have paid Class A, E, P, H or S so­cial in­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions to be el­i­gi­ble.

The amount of so­cial in­sur­ance you need de­pends on the per­son’s age. Any farmer who has been pay­ing PRSI for five years or more will be el­i­gi­ble.

Farm­ers’ sons or daugh­ters who have been in em­ploy­ment pay­ing Class A PRSI may also be el­i­gi­ble, as will those sons or daugh­ters who are in farm part­ner­ships and who have made the nec­es­sary con­tri­bu­tions.

Be­low is a ta­ble of the re­quired num­ber of con­tri­bu­tions for peo­ple in dif­fer­ent age cat­e­gories:


A spouse, civil part­ner or cohabitant may qual­ify in their own right if they have enough so­cial in­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions.

How­ever, if they do not have enough so­cial in­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions he/she may still qual­ify for Treat­ment Ben­e­fit on their spouse’s/part­ner’s so­cial in­sur­ance record.

To qual­ify, the spouse, civil part­ner or cohabitant must be de­pen­dent on their spouse/ part­ner and be earn­ing less than €100 per week.


If you were en­ti­tled to Treat­ment Ben­e­fit on your spouse’s, civil part­ner’s or cohabitant’s in­sur­ance record at the time of their death, you will con­tinue to be en­ti­tled for as long as you re­main wid­owed.

If you are work­ing, you may qual­ify for Treat­ment Ben­e­fit on your own PRSI con­tri­bu­tion record, pro­vided you sat­isfy the PRSI qual­i­fy­ing con­di­tions


Un­der this scheme, the Depart­ment pays the full cost of an oral ex­am­i­na­tion once in a cal­en­dar year.

The ex­am­i­na­tion is pro­vided by pri­vate den­tists who are on the Depart­ment of So­cial Pro­tec­tion’s panel, which in­cludes most den­tists.

In the case of a de­pen­dent spouse or civil part­ner, they should ap­ply un­der the PPS num­ber of the in­sured per­son.


The Treat­ment Ben­e­fit Scheme en­ti­tles el­i­gi­ble ap­pli­cants to a free eye­sight test. How­ever, sight tests for com­put­ers, driver’s li­cences etc are not cov­ered un­der the scheme.

The ex­am­i­na­tion is pro­vided by op­ti­cians who have a con­tract with the Depart­ment of So­cial Pro­tec­tion.

Where con­tact lenses are re­quired on med­i­cal grounds on a doc­tor’s rec­om­men­da­tion, the Depart­ment will pay half the cost, up to a max­i­mum of €500.

This ap­plies to a small num- ber of eye con­di­tions that make wear­ing glasses im­pos­si­ble. Dis­pos­able lenses are not cov­ered un­der the scheme. Con­tact lenses are not avail­able on purely op­ti­cal or cos­metic grounds.


The Depart­ment will pay up to half the cost of a hear­ing aid or re­pairs to a hear­ing aid, sub­ject to a fixed max­i­mum con­tri­bu­tion of €500 for one aid and €1,000 if you need two aids.

Be­fore you buy your hear­ing aid, you should make sure that you know the amount that you will need to pay on top of your grant. A list of hear­ing ser­vices com­pa­nies can be found on www.wel­

The value of the hear­ing aid grant can be used if you qual­ify when buy­ing hear­ing aids from the ap­proved sup­plier.


Ap­pli­ca­tions for den­tal ser­vices are made by com­plet­ing a form D1 (form D2 for a de­pen­dent spouse, civil part­ner or cohabitant). Forms are avail­able from the den­tist.

Ap­pli­ca­tions for op­ti­cal ser­vices are made by com­plet­ing a form O1 (form O2 for a de­pend- ent spouse, civil part­ner or cohabitant). Forms are avail­able from the op­ti­cian.

Ap­pli­ca­tions for au­ral ser­vices are made by com­plet­ing a form MA (form MA2 for a de­pen­dent spouse, civil part­ner or cohabitant). Forms are avail­able from the sup­pli­ers.

Ap­pli­ca­tions are made to the Treat­ment Ben­e­fit Sec­tion, Depart­ment of Em­ploy­ment Af­fairs and So­cial Pro­tec­tion, St Oliver Plun­kett Road, Let­terkenny, Co Done­gal.

The Depart­ment of So­cial Pro­tec­tion will pay up to half the cost of a hear­ing aid

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