Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Treatment Abroad Scheme

Know Your Rights: 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

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Update 16th June - Know Your Rights: Cohabiting and social welfare payments

Know Your Rights: Cohabiting and social welfare payments

I have applied for a means-tested Jobseeker’s Allowance but I was told that I’m not eligible because of my live-in partner’s earnings. We live together but we are not married and we split our expenses equally. Why is this?

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) treats married and unmarried couples in the same way when assessing entitlement to a means-tested social welfare payment. It assesses the total income of the household, rather than the circumstances of the individual claimant.

This means that if you are married, or are living with another person in an intimate and committed relationship, the means of your spouse or partner are also taken into account. This is the case even if only one of you is actually claiming a payment. The DSP uses detailed definitions and criteria to assess whether a couple are cohabiting and you can read these online at

How the means of a couple are assessed differs slightly depending on the payment being applied for. 

For Blind Pension, State Pension (Non-Contributory) and Carer's Allowance, the DSP adds all of your means together and then halves them to get the assessable means for each one of you. For Jobseeker's Allowance, Disability Allowance, and Farm Assist, the DSP adds all your combined means together and then assesses them against the maximum household payment for your circumstances. If your spouse or partner is getting a social welfare payment in their own right, your means are taken to be half of the total means of yourself and your spouse or partner.

Sometimes a certain amount of income, or income from particular sources, is not taken into account. This is called an income disregard. For example, a certain amount of income from employment can be disregarded. 

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Update 8th June - Tax Appeals Commission

What is the new Tax Appeals Commission?

The Finance (Tax Appeals) Act 2015  came into operation on 21 March 2016. This Act gives effect to a revised tax appeals process and established a new independent statutory Tax Appeals Commission (TAC), which replaces the former Office of the Appeal Commissioners. 

The TAC adjudicates, hears and determines appeals against Revenue decisions concerning taxes and duties under the Finance (Tax Appeals) Act 2015, the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 as amended and other related legislation. There are currently two Appeal Commissioners, appointed by the Minister for Finance for a period of seven years.

The main change to the tax appeals process is the requirement that all appeals (other than customs duties and Registration Tax "first-stage" appeals) are now made directly to the TAC and not to Revenue in the first instance. 
The Appeal Commissioners have sole responsibility for accepting or refusing appeals, although Revenue can raise objections to appeals. If both parties agree, the Appeal Commissioners can make determinations based on written submissions (rather than a full hearing). However, you can insist on a hearing if you wish.

By default, all hearings are held in public. However, you can request that a hearing (or part of a hearing) be held in private. To improve the transparency of the appeals process, the Appeal Commissioners are required to publish anonymised versions of all of their determinations. Another significant change is that appeals can no longer be re-heard before a Circuit Court Judge. You can appeal to the High Court on a point of law, but not in relation to the facts.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Expecting a baby in six months

I do night work regularly but I am expecting a baby in six months. Can I stop working at night while I am pregnant?

Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, every employer is required to carry out a risk assessment for the workplace. This assessment should identify hazards in the workplace, assess the risks from such hazards and identify the steps to be taken to deal with any risks. Now that you are pregnant, your employer should carry out a separate risk assessment for you. If there are particular risks to you during your pregnancy, these should be either removed or you should be moved away from them.

If neither of these options is possible, you should be given health and safety leave from work, which may continue up the beginning of your maternity leave (under the Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004). If a doctor certifies that night work is unsuitable for you during your pregnancy, you must be given alternative work or health and safety leave.

Time spent on health and safety leave is treated as though you have been in employment, and this time can be used to accumulate annual leave entitlement. You are not entitled to leave for any public holidays that occur during health and safety leave. During health and safety leave, your employer must pay you your normal wages for the first 21 days (3 weeks), after which you may qualify for Health and Safety Benefit from the Department of Social Protection.

When you return to work after maternity leave, if there is any risk to you because you have recently given birth or are breastfeeding, that risk should be removed. If this is not possible, you should be moved to alternative work. If it is not possible for you to be assigned alternative work, you should be given health and safety leave. If night work is certified by a doctor as being unsuitable after the birth, alternative work should be provided. If alternative work cannot be provided, you should be given health and safety leave.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Information is also available online at and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000