Treatment Benefits Scheme for dental work, hearing aids and glasses extended to 80,000 people

SOCIAL PROTECTION MINISTER Heather Humphreys announced this morning that the Treatment Benefits Scheme will be revamped to include an additional 80,000 people aged 25-28.

The scheme allows people who have made 260 PRSI contributions (five years of employment) to receive state support for dental treatment, hearing aids and glasses or contact lenses.

However, as of today this threshold is reduced to nine months of work for the age group from 25 to 28 years, going from 260 PRSI contributions to 39.

Currently, approximately 2.25 million people qualify for treatment benefits.

Announcing the move this morning, Humphreys said:

“The Treatment Benefits scheme is the Department’s largest single scheme in terms of claims with over 1.4 million processed and paid in 2021.

“I am delighted to be extending the scheme to benefit more workers, particularly our youngest cohort, and urge all who are eligible to ensure they get the full benefit of their PRSI contributions.”

“Previously, a young worker in this cohort would have to register PRSI contributions for a period of five years, which is now reduced to nine months, and demonstrates our desire to support our young professionals when it comes to dental, optical or hearing treatment. ”.

People who have made the required number of PRSI contributions can benefit from an annual oral exam and a payment of €42 for a scaling or polishing or, if clinically necessary, periodontal treatment.

They are also entitled to a free eye exam every 2 years and a grant for glasses or contact lenses and a maximum grant of €1,000 for a pair of hearing aids every four years and a grant for repairs.

The scheme is also available to the spouse, common-law partner or dependent partner of those who qualify.

The Department also recently announced a €500 grant to cover the cost of a hairpiece, wig or hair replacement as part of the scheme.

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The grant is expected to support approximately 2,000 women or men in the first year of its introduction and covers hair loss that has occurred as a result of cancer or alopecia.

Humphreys said on Wednesday that: “This new grant is presented in recognition of both the physical and psychological impact that sudden hair loss can have on a person’s life.

Today’s announcement comes after Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told the Dáil last week that a new, sustainable, long-term plan is needed “to ensure that everyone, whether they have a medical card or not , can have access to affordable and high-quality services. oral care when they need it.

“Unfortunately, right now, that’s just not the case for a lot of people,” he acknowledged.

The Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was also told that there is a severe shortage of dentists, with the percentage of members of the public not receiving an appointment being above 50%.

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