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Hearing Aid Grants Ireland Treatment Benefit Scheme

Posted by Paul Harrison on 6th February 2019 in Articles
Hearing Aid Grants In Ireland

Under the Treatment Benefit Scheme eligible citizens from Ireland (please note that this scheme is not available to those in Northern Ireland) can claim up to 50% off the cost of their hearing aids, up to a maximum of €500 for one aid or €1000 for two aids.

What Is The Treatment Benefit Scheme?

The Treatment Benefit Scheme is run by the Department of Social Protection and provides aural (along with dental and optical) services to qualifying people in Ireland. To qualify you must have paid the required number of PRSI contributions or be the dependent spouse of someone who has – see the ‘Am I Eligible For A Hearing Aid Grant?’ section below for more information.

If you qualify for the Treatment Benefit Scheme the Department of Social Protection will pay up to 50% of the cost of one hearing aid, up to a maximum of €500, or if you require 2 hearing aids the department will pay up to 50% of the total cost, up to a maximum of €1000.

We have hearing aid audiologists covering the whole of the UK including Republic and Northern Ireland, for more information about hearing aid grants in the Republic of Ireland you can call Hearing Aid UK on 0800 567 7621 (8am to 8pm 7 days a week)

You must ensure that you get your hearing aids from a supplier who has an agreed contract with the Department of Social Protection to supply these as part of the Treatment Benefit Scheme, otherwise you will not be eligible for the grant. All of the qualified independent audiologists who work with Your Hearing in Ireland have this contract and so not only will you be benefiting from the personal services of an independent audiologist and getting your hearing aids at significantly less than the high street price as standard, but you will also be able to benefit from this extra cost saving.

The aim of the Treatment Benefit Scheme is to allow eligible citizens to their own choice of the perfect hearing aid from them, but also to ensure that it is affordable.

Am I Eligible For A Hearing Aid Grant?

At first glance the rules around eligibility to the Treatment Benefit Scheme might seem a bit complicated, but essentially as long as you have always paid your full PRSI contributions then it is very likely that you will be eligible.

PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance) contributions are deducted by your employer and collected through the PAYE (Pay As You Earn) scheme. The aim of these contributions is to fund social insurance payments.  The class and rate of the contributions that you pay is determined by the nature of your work. However as long as you have made the required number of PRSI payments of the correct classes then you will be eligible for the same standard payment towards the cost of your hearing aid.

To be eligible for the Treatment Benefit Scheme you must have made the below PRSI payments in the following classes; A, E, H and P. You also qualify if you are self-employed and have paid class S PRSI contributions.

If you are aged under 21

You must have paid at least 39 PRSI contributions since first starting work.

If you are aged 21 to 24

You must have paid at least 39 PRSI contributions since first starting work AND either:

39 PRSI contributions in the tax year on which your claim is based

OR

26 PRSI contributions in both the tax year on which your claim is based and the tax year immediately before that year.

If you are aged 25 to 65

You must have paid at least 260 PRSI contributions since first starting work AND either:

39 PRSI contributions in the tax year on which your claim is based

OR

26 PRSI contributions in both the tax year on which your claim is based and the tax year immediately before that year.

If you are over 66

The rules get a little more complicated if you are over 66 as you are no longer liable to pay regular PRSI contributions. Essentially you must have paid at least 260 PRSI contributions during your working life, including 39 PRSI contributions in any of the two contribution years before reaching the age of 66, and you must have paid at least 13 PRSI contributions in a recent contribution year. However there are a number of exceptions or amendments to these rules depending on if you meet certain other criteria. Please contact us at Hearing Aid UK and we can put you in touch with one of our scheme registered local audiologists who will be advise you further. You can also contact your local Social Welfare Office or the Treatment Benefits Section of the Department of Social Protection directly – see contact details at the end of this article.

If you are self employed

As of 31 March 2017 the Treatment Benefits Scheme is also open to those who are self-employed and paying class S PRSI contributions. The eligibility criteria are roughly the same, however we recommend that you contact your local Social Welfare Office or the Treatment Benefits Section of the Department of Social Protection directly to confirm your eligibility before proceeding with your application – see contact details at the end of this article.

Is My Dependent Spouse, Civil Partner or Cohabitant Eligible For A Hearing Aid Grant?

If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant pays their own PRSI contributions then they may be eligible for the Treatment Benefits Scheme under their own right, however if they have not made enough contributions then they may still be able to access the scheme under your social insurance record. To do this firstly you must qualify for the scheme and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant must be classed as your dependent.

To be eligible as a dependent your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant must:

  • Have a gross income of €100 or less per week.
  • Earn more than €100 per week but have been dependent on you before entering/resuming employment (where they pay PRSI contributions at Class A, E, H, P or S).
  • Not get a social welfare payment (although there are some exceptions to this).
  • Receive Carer’s Allowance or a State Pension and have been dependent on your immediately before receiving this.
  • It is also worth noting that if a dependent spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is eligible at the time of their partner’s death for the Treatment’s Benefit Scheme, the dependent partner will continue to be eligible for as long as they remain widowed or a surviving civil partner.

I Have A Medical Card, Am I Eligible For A Hearing Aid Grant?

Yes, if you qualify for a medical card then you will also be eligible for a hearing aid grant through the Treatment Benefits Scheme. Medical cards are issued by the Health Services Executive in Ireland and mean that holders receive certain health services free of charge. To qualify for a medical card your weekly income must be below a certain figure for your family size and the medical card benefits tend to apply to your entire family including your dependents.

To find out if you could be eligible for a medical card, contact your Local Health Office or you can apply online at medicalcard.ie.

How Do I Apply For A Hearing Aid Grant Through The Treatment Benefits Scheme?

If you are a resident of Ireland and believe that you may be eligible for a hearing aid grant through the Treatment Benefits Scheme, please contact us at Hearing Aid UK or 0800 567 7621 (8am to 8pm 7 days a week) and we can put you in touch with one of our scheme registered local audiologists who will be advise you further. You can also contact your local Social Welfare Office or the Treatment Benefits Section of the Department of Social Protection directly using the details below. You will need to fill out form MA2 (different forms are required if you are applying for grants towards dental or optical services).

Treatment Benefit Section
Department of Social Protection
St. Oliver Plunkett Road
Letterkenny
Donegal
Ireland

Tel: (074) 916 4480
Local: 1890 400 400
Homepage: http://www.welfare.ie

You can also email the Treatment Benefit section using their secure enquiry form.

To find out more about our great range of hearing aids, dispensed and fitted by a qualified local audiologist, that are already at better than high street prices AND for which you could receive a hearing aid grant, contact the team at Hearing Aid UK today.

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Paul Harrison
Hearing Aid Advisor
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