The Treatment Benefit Scheme provides dental, optical and aural services to insured workers, the self-employed and retired people who have the required number of social insurance (PRSI) contributions. Under the scheme, you may qualify for:
You should contact your treatment provider to check if you qualify before getting any treatment. Before 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 government. This is needed to pay your claim.
If you decide to have treatment in another EU member state, an amount will be paid that is equivalent to the rate paid for similar treatment in Ireland, or the amount actually paid for the treatment – whichever sum is lower. You must still have the qualifying social insurance (PRSI) contributions.
Contact the Treatment Benefit Section before you travel to get an application form and details of the amounts the department will pay.
To qualify, you must have paid class A, E, P, H or S social insurance (PRSI) contributions.
The amount of social insurance you need depends on your age. There are four age ranges listed below. Find your age range and read the relevant information.
Under 21 years
If you are under 21, you may qualify if you have paid at least 39 contributions at any time.
Between these ages you may qualify if you have paid at least 39 contributions and have:
From the age of 25 onwards, you must have:
Aged 66 and over
There are special rules and exceptions for people aged 66 and over. You must also be in one of the following situations:
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 keep 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 if you satisfy certain conditions. If you qualify for these benefits, you may also be awarded credited contributions, which can be taken into account to extend coverage for Treatment Benefits.
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, they may still qualify for Treatment Benefits on your social insurance record. To do this, you must qualify for Treatment Benefits and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant must be dependent on you.
A dependant spouse, civil partner or cohabitant must:
If an insured person dies and the dependant spouse or civil partner was entitled to benefit at the time of the death, they keep their entitlement for as long as they remain widowed or a surviving civil partner.
Under this scheme, the department pays the full cost of an oral examination once a calendar year. Since October 2017, a payment of €42 is provided towards either:
If the cost of either cleaning or periodontal treatment is more than €42, you must pay the rest. This is capped at €15 for a scale and polish. There is no cap on the balance charged for periodontal treatment.
You can get these treatments from private dentists who are on the department’s panel. Most dentists are on the panel, so you should find it easy to find a dentist. The dentist will check to see if you qualify for treatment. They will need details from you like your:
A dependant spouse or civil partner will qualify if thy satisfy the conditions under the dependant spouse scheme. They should give the PPS Number of the insured person they are dependent on. They will also have to sign the claim form.
The Treatment Benefit Scheme entitles you to a free eyesight test once every second calendar year. But, sight tests for visual display units like computer screens, driving licences and so on are not covered.
Once every second calendar year, you can get a payment towards one pair of:
Basic frames are free. If you choose more expensive frames, the department will pay €42 towards the overall cost and you pay the balance. Only opticians, optometrists or ophthalmologists who have a contract with the department can provide the treatment. Please check with your provider.
If you need contact lenses for medical reasons, the department will pay half the cost up to maximum of €500, provided you have a doctor’s recommendation. Under the Treatment Benefit Scheme, you can’t get contact lenses for purely cosmetic reasons. You can get contact lenses for optical (seeing) purposes through the Optical Benefit scheme.
Suppliers may provide hearing aids if they have a contract with the department. In this case, the department pays half the cost:
You may get tax relief on certain non-routine dental treatments like crowns or tip replacing.
Don’t qualify for Treatment Benefit on your Irish social insurance (PRSI) record and you were previously insurably employed in a country covered by EU Regulations? You might be able to use your social insurance record in the other EU country to help you qualify, but you must have paid at least one reckonable social insurance (PRSI) contribution (classes A, E, H, P and S) since your return to Ireland.
You can make a claim through your provider (dentist, dispensing optician, optometrist, ophthalmologist or audiologist). They will check if you qualify before you get a treatment and they can claim payment afterwards. Your provider will require some information to identify you, such as your:
Before 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 government to enable payment of your claim.
If you are claiming as a dependant under the social insurance (PRSI) record of your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant, both you and your spouse or partner will need to complete a dependant spouse application form and send to Treatment Benefits section for approval.
For treatment received in other EU member states, you need to contact the Treatment Benefit Section at the address below to confirm that you qualify. If you do, you will send your receipts to the Treatment Benefit Section along with a letter with your contact information and details of your bank account (account name, number and sort code) into which payment will be made.