Financial Assistance

The Department of Social and Family Affairs operates the Treatment Benefit Scheme, under which grants for hearing aids are obtainable. Qualifying patients and their dependant spouses who have full PRSI cover may obtain a grant towards the cost of a hearing aid. This would include full contributory pensioners, invalidity pensioners, those on disability benefit and their dependant spouses. (Conditions apply.)

In the case of one hearing aid being required the grant is 50% of the purchase price of a hearing aid up to a maximum of €500, or 50% of the repair cost of a hearing aid. If two hearing aids are required the maximum grant is 50% of the cost up to a maximum of €1000.

The grant for the purchase of hearing aids will be available once every 4 years.

As a registered panel member of the Department’s Treatment Benefit Scheme, we can complete all the necessary application forms and process this grant on your behalf, which normally takes around 2 weeks.

Medical Card Holders can benefit from superior quality hearing aids by dealing with a private hearing aid dispenser such Hearing Solutions as long as they are also on the PRSI scheme. The Social Welfare hearing aid grant is available to both qualifying non-medical card and medical card holders when obtaining a hearing aid privately. Please contact our office for further details.

Rules

Contribution conditions

You must have paid Class A, E, P, H or S social insurance contributions.

The amount of social insurance you need depends on your age.

(1) Aged under 21

If you are aged under 21, you may qualify if you have paid at least 39 contributions at any time.

(2) Aged 21-24

Between these ages you may qualify if you have paid at least 39 contributions and

At least 39 paid or credited in the governing contribution year (2016 is the governing contribution year for claims made in 2018) or

26 paid contributions in each of the second and third last contribution years. For claims made in 2018, the second last contribution year is 2016 and the third last contribution year is 2015.

(3) Aged 25-65

From the age of 25 onwards, you must have at least 260 paid contributions and

At least 39 paid or credited contributions in the governing contribution year (2016 is the governing contribution year for claims made in 2018) or

26 paid contributions in each of the second and third last contribution years. For claims made in 2018, the second last contribution year is 2016 and the third last contribution year is 2015.

(4) Aged 66 and over

There are special rules for people aged 66 and over. To qualify, you must have 260 contributions paid at any time, and you must have either 39 paid or credited in any of the two contribution years before reaching age 66, or 26 contributions paid in both the relevant contribution year and the year immediately before it.

There are, however, a number of exceptions to this:

If you reached age 66 before 1 October 1987, you need 156 paid contributions instead of 260; if you reached 66 between 1 October 1987 and 6 July 1992, you need 208 paid contributions.

If you are getting a State pension the PRSI contribution requirements vary according to age as follows:

If you were:

You must have at least:

Aged 66 before 1 October 1987

156 weeks PRSI paid since first starting work and 26 paid or credited in either of the last 2 complete tax years before you reached age 66.

Aged 66 between 1 October 1987 and 6 July 1992

208 weeks PRSI paid since first starting work and either 39 weeks paid or credited in either of the last 2 complete tax years before you reached age 66, or 26 contributions paid in both the relevant tax year and the year immediately before it.

Aged 66 on or after 6 July 1992

260 weeks PRSI paid since first starting work and either 39 weeks paid or credited in either of the last 2 complete tax years before you reached age 66, or 26 contributions paid in both the relevant contribution year and the year immediately before it.

If you satisfy these conditions when you reach pension age, you will remain qualified for life.

Qualified at 60 and over

If you qualify for benefit at age 60–65, you retain that entitlement for life. If you have retired on grounds of ill health or you are considered to be unemployed, you can apply for Illness Benefit or Jobseeker's Benefit, subject to satisfying the statutory conditions. Your entitlement to these benefits may also lead to your being awarded credited contributions, which can be taken into account to extend coverage for treatment benefits for further periods.

Spouse, civil partner or cohabitant

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

If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant does not have enough social insurance contributions he/she may still qualify for Treatment Benefit on your social insurance record. To do this, you must qualify for Treatment Benefit and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant must be dependent on you.

A dependent spouse, civil partner or cohabitant must:

Have a gross income of €100 or less per week. If earning more than €100 per week, he/she must have been dependent on you before entering or resuming insurable employment (at Class A, E, H, P or S).

Not be getting a social welfare payment (except Disablement Pension, Supplementary Welfare Allowance, Carer's Benefit or Child Benefit). If getting Carer's Allowance or State Pension (Non-Contributory), he/she can qualify if he/she was dependent on you immediately before getting the Allowance or Pension.

If an insured person dies and the dependent spouse or civil partner was entitled to benefit at the time of the death, they retain entitlement for as long as they remain widowed or a surviving civil partner.

Hearing aids

Hearing aids may be provided by suppliers who have a contract with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. The Department pays half the cost of a hearing aid subject to a fixed maximum of €500 for each hearing aid once every fourth calendar year. It also pays half the cost of repairs to aids, up to a maximum of €100, once every fourth calendar year.

How to apply

Claims are made through your provider (dentist, dispensing optician/optometrist/ophthalmogolist or audiologist), who can check your entitlement in advance of treatment and claim payment afterwards.

Your provider will require some information to identify you, such as your date of birth and PPS number. Prior to treatment, you will need to sign a Consent Form agreeing to your provider having this information and giving your consent to have this information supplied to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, to enable payment of your claim.

If you are claiming as a dependant under the PRSI record of your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant, both you and your spouse or partner will need to sign the Consent Form.

For treatment received in other EU member states, you contact the Treatment Benefit Section at the address below to confirm your eligibility. If eligible, you send your receipts to the Treatment Benefit Section along with a letter containing your contact information and details of your bank account (account name, number and sort code) into which payment will be made.

Where to apply

Treatment Benefit Section

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
St. Oliver Plunkett Road
Letterkenny
Donegal
Ireland

Tel: (074) 916 4480 (If calling from outside the Republic of Ireland please call +353 74 916 4480)
Locall: 1890 400 400 (Note: the rates charged for using 1890 (Lo-call) numbers may vary)
Homepage: http://www.welfare.ie