Benefits & Entitlements



Carers Allowances:

A Carers Allowances is paid if you are caring for someone on a full time basis of 12 months or more. It is means tested and you must satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition.  Half –rate Carers Allowance is paid if you already receive another Social Welfare Benefit except Jobseekers payments.

If you are living with the person, you or the person being cared for may be eligible for the Household Benefits Package. The Household Benefits Package consists of free Electricity or Natural Gas Allowance. You may be entitled to a fuel allowance.

If you are sharing care with another carer or care provider you can apply for Carers Allowance under Care sharing. Each carer must provide care for a full week to be eligible. Application Form CR1
Further information

Carers Benefit

When a person is in employment for one year they can avail have a 2 year unpaid break to provide full time care. Carers Benefit is a payment made for up to 24 months for someone in this position. If you are looking after two people additional payment will be made. If you do not qualify for Carers Benefit you should apply for Carers Allowance.

Respite Care Grant

A Respite Care Grant is payable annually to a carer who provides full time care for 6 months or more per year and must include the first Thursday in June. You will get it automatically if you are on the Carers Allowance/Carers Benefit. You must not be working more than 15 hours/week or claiming Jobseekers payments.

 Disability Allowance

A Disability Allowance is paid to a person with a disability between ages 16 – 66. It is means tested and a medical report must be filled out by your doctor as part of the application form. After age 66 you are assessed for a state pension.

To qualify:

  • You must have an injury, disease or physical or mental disability that has continued or may be expected to continue for at least one year.
  • You must be substantially restricted in undertaking work that would otherwise be suitable for a person of your age, experience and qualifications.
  • Satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition

Habitual Residence Condition

This means you are living in Ireland and have a proven close link to the state. If you lived in Ireland all your life and have been out of the country for holidays, travelling or studying you will qualify.

Free Travel

Everyone over 66 living permanently in the state are entitled to Free Travel Pass. If you are not eligible you may qualify for a Companion Pass where the person you care for cannot travel alone. Free travel covers public bus, rail and Luas services and some private bus services.  You can avail of free cross border travel to Northern Ireland by applying for a Senior Smartpass Card. See

Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme

The Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme is administered by the Department of Social Protection at your local health centre. It includes a basic payment and other payments for certain expenses that you may not be able to meet. An event such as an emergency is also included. Some other examples:-

  • Rent Supplement for privately rented accommodation.
  • Diet Supplement – payment to cover cost of special diet prescribed by a doctor or hospital consultant
  • Heating Supplement – to assist people that are ill or have a disability who have extra heating needs in the home.

Exceptional Needs Payment

A single once off payment to meet essential exceptional expenditure where a person is unable to meet the cost from weekly income e.g. special clothing for a serious illness, or costs in relation to funerals. For further information contact

Medical Cards

If you have a medical card you will be entitled to a wide range of free services from the health board e.g. hospital care, hospital visits, medications, treatments, G.P services, aids and appliances and some dental, optical and aural treatments. If you do not qualify for a Medical Card you may qualify for one or more of those listed below.

 GP Visit Card

The GP Visit Card allows you to visit your family doctor for free. It is means tested. You will find the assessment guidelines on . As it only covers the visits to the doctor you should also apply for the Drugs Payment scheme.

The application form for the Medical Card and the GP Visit card are the same and the HSE will check your eligibility for both when you apply. If you have been refused a card in the past you should re-apply as your changing circumstance are likely to influence the outcome of the decision.

Drugs Payment Scheme

Under this scheme there is a limit to what you or your family should have to pay in a month for prescribed drugs, medications and certain appliances. At present this is €144/month. If you do not have a medical card you should apply for the Drugs Payment Card. It is not means tested but you must be resident in Ireland and have a PPNS number. Apply through your Local Health Office.

Medical Card for the over 70’s

Everybody over 70 is entitled to a Medical Card. However this is means tested. You can get the application form from your Local Health Office or download it from .

 Long Term Illness Scheme

If you are not entitled to any of the above you can apply for a Long Term Illness Card.  This card is available to people with listed illnesses. It is not means tested. It covers, drugs, medicines, medical and surgical appliances. Apply to your Local Health Office.  You will find a list of addresses:

For advice on the cards listed contact the Client Registration Service, Finglas. Dublin 11.  Callsave: 1890 252 919 or