Monday, March 27, 2017

Know Your Rights: CAO late application



Question
The closing date for applying to college was 1 February. Can I still apply?
Answer
You apply for almost all full-time undergraduate courses through the Central Applications Office (CAO). This includes, for example, university and institute of technology undergraduate courses such as Higher Certificates at Level 6 and degrees at Levels 7 and 8. The closing date for 2017 CAO applications was 1 February 2017. However, late applications are allowed up to 5.15pm on 1 May 2017.

There is a fee to apply for courses through the CAO and late applications are subject to an increased fee. Late online applications cost €50. You may change the courses you picked or the order of courses on your application. This Change of Mind facility is free. It opens on 5 May and closes on 1 July 2017 at 5:15pm.

If you are a mature applicant who wants to be assessed on mature grounds, or if you want to be considered for the HEAR and/or DARE schemes, most colleges will require you to have applied to the CAO by 1 February 2017. There are also some restricted courses which cannot be applied for after 1 February 2017.  

The CAO provides a handbook that lists all the courses on offer and gives information on how to apply.

Decisions on offers of places are normally made in August and September, after the results of the Leaving Certificate have come out. A detailed schedule of the offer rounds is in the CAO handbook.
It is important to note that there is no central applications body for Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses. Students must apply directly to the individual colleges. You should check the closing date for PLC courses with the college where the PLC course is taking place.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.
Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000

Monday, March 20, 2017

Know Your Rights - Preparing for retirement



Question
I will be retiring from work in 2017 when I reach 65. What do I need to know about pensions and other benefits in retirement?

Answer
When you retire at age 65 you can claim Jobseeker’s Benefit, which is based on your Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions. If you do not qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit, you can claim Jobseeker’s Allowance, which is means-tested. At age 66, you may be entitled to the State Pension (Contributory). If you do not have enough PRSI contributions, you can apply for a State Pension (Non-Contributory), which is means-tested. You should apply for a State Pension at least three months in advance.

You may have contributed to an occupational pension scheme during your working life or you may have a personal pension arrangement. You need to contact the pension provider to find out exactly what benefits your pension gives you.

If you move from employment to retirement in the course of the year, you should get a PAYE Balancing Statement (P21) from your local tax office at the end of the year. This will trigger a refund if you have paid too much tax.  Your Jobseeker’s Benefit or State Pension and any occupational pension are taxable. However, the tax exemption limits are higher for people aged 65 or over and there are some extra tax credits.  At age 66, you will be exempt from paying PRSI. At age 70, you will pay a reduced Universal Social Charge if your annual income is €60,000 or less.

At age 66, you will also be eligible for a Free Travel Pass and may be eligible for the Household Benefits Package, which consists of a free TV licence and an electricity or gas allowance. For medical cards and GP visit cards, which are means tested, the income thresholds are higher for people aged 66 and over. If you are over 70 there is a different means test for the medical card and you can get a GP visit card without an income test.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.
Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000

Monday, March 13, 2017

Know Your Rights: Jury service


Question
I have been called for jury service but I’m not sure if I can take the time off work. What are my employment rights if I attend for jury service?

Answer
If you are in employment, there is a duty on your employer to allow you to attend for jury service. Time spent on jury service must be treated as if you were actually employed. In other words, you are entitled to be paid while you are away from work. Anyone with a contract of employment (including temporary or contract workers) is entitled to be paid by the employer while on jury service.

There should be no loss of any other employment rights while you serve on a jury. The Jury Office of the court will provide a certificate of attendance on request.

If you are self-employed and work alone and your attendance at jury service may mean that you can’t earn a living, you may qualify to be excused from jury service. Contact the Jury Office for more information. The County Registrar or the trial judge may also excuse you if satisfied that there is good reason for doing so.
Some people have a right to be excused from jury service, including:
·         Full-time students
·         People who are 65 years of age or older
·         Those who provide an important community service, such as practising doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, vets, chemists, etc.
·         People in certain official positions (for example, members of the Oireachtas)
·         Some public officials whose work can’t be postponed or done by others
·         Those who have served on a jury within the last three years, or who remain excused by a judge following previous service

If you serve on a jury and feel your employment rights have been infringed or you have lost employment rights as a result, you can make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission using the online complaint form available on workplacerelations.ie. Read more about enforcing your employment rights on citizensinformation.ie.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.
Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000

Monday, March 6, 2017

Know Your Rights: Part-time work and PRSI


Question
I work part-time in a local restaurant from Thursday to Saturday. The number of shifts I work can vary depending on the time of year. How does this part-time arrangement affect my social insurance (PRSI) contributions?

Answer
The number of social insurance contributions you make can affect your eligibility for the range of social insurance benefits that are available. It is called Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) because the amount of social insurance you pay depends on your earnings and the type of work you do.

In general, you pay a PRSI contribution in respect of each PRSI contribution week in which you work. The PRSI contribution week starts on the first day of January every year. Because this may fall on any day of the week, the PRSI contribution week may differ from the working week. You must be working on at least one day in each PRSI contribution week in order to pay a contribution.

In 2017, the first of January fell on a Sunday. This means that each PRSI contribution week this year runs from Sunday to Saturday.

As your part-time work arrangement requires that you work part of every week between Sunday and Saturday, you will have your full 52 PRSI contributions for 2017. Even if, due to the seasonal nature of your work, your working days were reduced to one or two of those days per week, you would still have your full contributions.

However, if your work pattern was to change to the same days for one week on, one week off, you would only get 26 weeks of contributions in 2017.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.
Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Know Your Rights: Domestic Violence

Question
My partner has been violent towards me and my children. What can I do to stop this and protect my family?


Answer
If you are concerned about violence in your home, you can contact the GardaĆ­, who are specially trained to deal with these situations and can offer advice and information. Under the Domestic Violence Act 1996, where there is an order in place, GardaĆ­ have the power to arrest and prosecute a violent family member. There are two main kinds of protection available – a safety order and a barring order.

A safety order is an order of the court which prohibits the violent person with whom you are living from further violence or threats of violence. It does not oblige the person to leave the family home. You can also get a safety order against a person with whom you have had a child, even if you are no longer living with or have never lived with the person. It prohibits them from watching or being near your home.  A safety order can last up to 5 years.

A barring order is an order which requires the person to leave the family home. If you are not married or in a civil partnership, you can get a barring order against a violent partner if you have been living together in an intimate and committed relationship for 6 out of the previous 9 months and if your partner does not own most or all of the house you are living in. A barring order can last up to 3 years.

Both types of order can be renewed by applying for a further order before the previous one has expired. Others living together can also apply for protection.  For example, a parent can apply for protection against domestic violence by their own child, if the child is over 18.

To get a barring order or a safety order, you must apply to the District Court. While you are waiting for the court to hear your application, the court can give you an immediate order, called a protection order. The protection order has the same effect as a safety order. In exceptional circumstances the court can grant an interim barring order. This is an immediate order, requiring the violent person to leave the family home.

Further information, including information on support groups, is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.


Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000

Monday, February 20, 2017

Know Your Rights: Importing a car into Ireland



Question

What are the rules about buying a car in the UK and bringing it back to Ireland?

Answer

In general, all vehicles brought into Ireland are subject to Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) and must be registered. If you have imported a vehicle, you must pay VRT and receive the vehicle's registration certificate showing that you have paid VRT.

If you live abroad and are moving to live in Ireland, you may be eligible for a VRT exemption. Even if you are not required to pay VRT, you must still register your vehicle when you move to Ireland. In certain cases, foreign-registered vehicles may be imported into Ireland temporarily by a non-resident without the requirement to pay VRT or register the vehicle.

You register the car and pay the VRT at a National Car Testing Service (NCTS) centre. You can get an estimate of the VRT due from the Revenue Vehicle Registration Online Enquiry System.

When you register and pay the VRT, a registration number will be assigned to your car. You can obtain vehicle registration plates from the NCTS centre or from any motor factor.

If you are importing a new car from another EU state, you have to pay VAT (Value Added Tax), usually when registering the car. If you are importing a new or second- hand car from outside the EU, VAT (and customs duty) is payable.

If your vehicle is 4 years old or more, it will have to go through the National Car Test (NCT) immediately.

Further information is available in the Revenue guide to VRT and on revenue.ie.


Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Know Your Rights: Family Income Supplement and student grants


Question
My wife and I are applying for the Family Income Supplement (FIS) for our family of two children.  We are unsure about what income is included in the means test for this payment. For example, will my wife’s student grant be included?

Answer
Family Income Supplement (FIS) is a weekly tax-free payment for families, including one-parent families, at work on low pay.  The combined income of a couple (married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting) is taken into account when your means are assessed for FIS. Income from any source, including a student grant, is assessed in the means test. However, the following payments are not counted as family income:
Capital is not assessed. This includes property you own, bank accounts and cars. However, bank accounts may be checked for other income sources and income derived from the use of a car that you own may be assessed (for example as a taxi).
The main items counted as income are a couple’s  assessable earnings, any extra earned in employment (such as pay for overtime, bonuses, allowances or commission), income from self-employment, occupational pensions, social welfare payments (apart from those listed above), income from carer’s payments or rental income from the letting of property or land.
Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000