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Older Persons Entitlements

The Department of Social and Family Affairs (DSFA) administers a range of allowances and pensions. Persons may qualify for Pre-retirement allowance at 55, Retirement pension at 65, and Old-Age pension at 66. Other allowances that the DSFA administers include benefits for those entitled to carers and disability allowances.

The DSFA also administers a group of allowances that many people over 66 years are entitled to, known collectively as the Household Benefits Package or the free schemes.

The Department of Health administers the medical card scheme.
Here is a summary of the Household Benefits Package and the other main entitlements for older people:

Free Electricity
Free Natural Gas
Free Bottled Gas
Free Television License
Free Telephone Rental
National Fuel Scheme
Medical Card
Free Travel
Carers Allowance and Carers Benefit
Treatment Benefit
Living Alone Allowance
Supplementary Welfare Allowance

1-FREE ELECTRICITY

Who qualifies?

 All persons over 70, regardless of means or of whom they live with. Also those  over 66 receiving most social welfare pensions or meeting a means test
.http://www.welfare.ie/EN/Publications/SW4/Pages/s10.aspx#10.7

Covering what?

Depends on whether you are paying for natural gas at the Standard Tariff or at the Reducing Rate Tariff but generally covers normal standing charges and an allowance of up to 400 units of electricity per bi-monthly billing period.

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2-FREE NATURAL GAS

Who qualifies?

Offered as an alternative to free electricity, for those who have a gas supply in their homes. Qualifying conditions are similar to those for the free electricity except that you must be a registered consumer of natural gas on the Bord Gáis domestic supply.

Covering what?

Depends on whether you are paying for natural gas at the Standard Tariff or at the Reducing Rate Tariff but generally covers normal standing charges and an allowance for a certain amount of gas per billing period.

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3-FREE BOTTLED GAS

Who qualifies?

Offered to those not connected to natural gas or electricity.
Qualifying conditions are similar to those for the free electricity.

Covering what?

15 vouchers for a free gas cylinder between September and April and 4 vouchers from April to September.

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4-FREE TELEVISION LICENCE

Who qualifies?

Those who qualify for free electricity, gas or bottled gas.

Covering what?

Free television licence annually.

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5-FREE TELEPHONE RENTAL

Who qualifies?

All people over 70, regardless of means; those over 66 receiving most social welfare pensions or allowances such as disability allowance; those over 66 not receiving benefit but satisfying a means test. Some other conditions apply. - check the DSFA web site for details.

Covering what?

Free telephone rental plus € 20.42 +VAT towards calls in each two month call period. Also covers price of second telephone socket and a special phone if a person is hearing or visually impaired.

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6-NATIONAL FUEL SCHEME

Who qualifies?

People dependent on long term social welfare payments.
http://www.welfare.ie/EN/Publications/SW4/Pages/s10.aspx#10.4

Covering what?

Fuel allowance of €20 per week for 29 weeks during winter. Also a €23.90 a week smokeless fuel allowance for people living in certain urban areas for 32 weeks.

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7-MEDICAL CARD

Who qualifies?

All people over 70, regardless of means. Others considered on the basis of income but those receiving most social welfare pensions generally qualify, also those receiving some other allowances such as disability allowance.

Covering what?

A medical card entitles the holder to most medical services free of charge. Check the DSFA web site for more details.

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8-FREE TRAVEL

Who qualifies?

Irish residents, aged 66 or over, automatically qualify for a free travel pass

Covering what?

Free travel for you and a partner who lives with you on the road and rail services of Bus Atha Cliath (Dublin Bus), (excluding the Nitelink service), Iarnrod Eireann (Irish Rail), Bus Eireann, and some other private bus and ferry services. Also includes cross-border trips to and from the North of Ireland.

Certain incapacitated people who are medically unfit to travel alone may be eligible for a Companion Free Travel Pass. This allows the holder to have any one person age 16 or over accompany him/her free of charge when traveling.

Check the DSFA web site for details on arrangements for those living on Aran and Tory Islands, and about spouses and travelling companions.

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9-CARER'S ALLOWANCE and CARER'S BENEFIT

Who qualifies?

If you are receiving full-time care and attention, the person caring for you may qualify for a Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit. Carer's Allowance is a means-tested payment, whereas Carer's Benefit is based on PRSI contributions.

Carer’s Allowance: http://www.welfare.ie/EN/Publications/SW4/Pages/s7.aspx#7.6
Carer’s Benefits: http://www.welfare.ie/EN/Publications/SW4/Pages/s7.aspx#7.5

Covering what?

People getting Carer's Allowance are entitled to an electricity or gas allowance & a TV licence, telephone allowance and a free Travel Pass in their own right.

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10-TREATMENT BENEFIT

Who qualifies?

Entitlement to any of these benefits is based on your PRSI contribution record. If you qualify for these benefits from the Department at age 60, you will remain qualified for life. Your spouse may also qualify for these benefits based on your PRSI contribution record if certain conditions apply.

Covering what?

Treatment Benefit covers Dental Benefit, Optical Benefit, contact lenses, and hearing aids. Standard treatment costs are covered as for workers paying PRSI. For more details, contact the DSFA, Letterkenny office, Lo Call: 1890 400400

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11-LIVING ALONE ALLOWANCE

Who qualifies?

Social welfare pensioners who live alone and are aged 66 or over. It is also available to people under age 66 who are receiving allowances such as disability allowance and who live alone.

Covering what?

An extra weekly allowance.

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12-SUPPLEMENTARY WELFARE ALLOWANCE

Who qualifies?

Persons receiving a social welfare or similar type payment may qualify in an emergency situation or in special circumstances.

Covering what?

A basic weekly allowance to eligible people who have little or no income and are in financial difficulties. Persons receiving a Supplementary Welfare Allowance may also be eligible for a Rent/Mortgage Supplement, Exceptional Needs Payments, Supplements for special heating or dietary needs, a Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, and Payments to meet urgent needs

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