The Treatment Benefit Scheme is a grant scheme run by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) that provides dental, optical and aural services to qualified people. The scheme is available to insured workers, retired people, and their dependent spouses who have the required number of PRSI Contributions.
Under the Treatment Benefit Scheme, Hearing aids may be provided by suppliers who have a contract with the Department of Social Protection.
In 2017 Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadker extended the Treatment Benefit scheme to some 450,000 self-employed people and their dependent spouses for the first time. This includes small business owners, farmers, tradespeople, freelancers, contractors and professionals. It means that people who work for themselves and pay PRSI at class S can now get the same regular dental and optical examinations, free of charge, that until now were only available to employees. In April 2021 the Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys announced changes to grants available to eligible persons towards the purchase of hearing aids.
As part of measures announced in Budget 2021, a flat rate of up to 500 euro is now available towards the cost of a hearing aid, while a flat rate grant of up to 1000 euro is available for a pair (bilateral supply). The Department of Social Protection will also provide a grant of up to 100 euro towards the cost of hearing aid repairs. Prior to the introduction of these changes the Department paid half the cost of a hearing aid up to a maximum grant of 500 euro per aid. The patient also had to pay at least half the cost of the aid. The introduction of the Budget measure now provides that the patient will pay the balance of the cost of their hearing aid in EXCESS of 500 euro per device (1000 euro for a pair). There is no longer a need for an equal co-payment from the patient.
Grants are available at intervals of 4 years.
Some 14,000 people availed of financial support towards the cost of hearing aids in 2020. Based on a person’s PRSI contribution record, employees, self-employed and their dependent spouse or partner may qualify.
Full details of the scheme are available on the Dept of Social Protections website – here
Medical Card Holders
Medical Card Holders are legally entitled to free hearing aid services from the Health Service Executive ( HSE) but, in practice, the availability of these services varies from area to area. If you wish to obtain a hearing aid on your medical card you must first consult with your G.P.
Visit www.hse.ie for further information
Private Health Insurance cover
Hearing aid prescriptions are not covered by private health insurance companies in Ireland. However, depending on your level of cover the cost of a hearing test may be reimbursable. Contact your Health Insurance company for further information.
You may claim tax relief in respect of the cost of certain medical expenses paid by you. This includes the cost of hearing aids. Contact the Revenue Commissioners or see www.revenue.ie for further details of the MED1 Tax Relief Scheme.