Friday, August 18, 2017

Know Your Rights: Public healthcare services abroad

Question  
My partner and I are planning a holiday in Spain. How do we access public healthcare services if one of us becomes ill? 

Answer  
You and your partner each need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This card allows you to access public healthcare services if you become ill or get injured when visiting certain European countries. It doesn’t cover private treatment or the cost of repatriation to Ireland if required. 

The countries covered by the card are the 28 member states of the EU, the three other members of the EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and Switzerland. The card is not required for a visit to the UK if you can show that you are ordinarily resident in Ireland. In practice, this means showing a driving licence, passport or similar document.  If you have a smartphone you can download the free EHIC app.This includes emergency phone numbers and information about the treatments and costs that are covered. The app does not replace the card. If you already have a medical card or Drugs Payment Scheme card, you can apply online for your EHIC at ehic.ie.
  
Otherwise, you can download an application form from ehic.ie or get one from your Local Health Office. You need to provide your name, address, date of birth and Personal Public Service Number (PPSN). If your EHIC has expired you can renew it online at ehic.ie. If your details have changed (for example, your address) you will need to contact your Local Health Office to renew the card.  If you have concerns about getting a new or renewed card in time, you can get a Temporary Replacement Certificate, either online or from your Local Health Office. You may also wish to consider taking out private travel insurance for expenses that are not covered by the European Health Insurance Card (such as the costs of repatriation or the expenses of relatives who travel to you if you fall ill abroad). 
Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service 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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Know Your Rights: Appealing your Leaving Certificate results


August 2017
Question
Can I have the marking of my Leaving Certificate exam papers rechecked?
Answer 
Yes, if you are not satisfied with the marks in one or more of your Leaving Certificate exams, you can appeal them to the State Examinations Commission (SEC). Before you make the decision to appeal a result, you can view your exam paper.
 
The SEC will send your school personalised application forms for you to view your exam papers and to appeal your results. (If you were an external candidate, not attending a school, these forms are enclosed with your examination results.) To view your papers, you must return the completed form to the school where you sat the examination by 22 August 2017. The Organising Superintendent will assign you to one of the viewing sessions, which will take place on Friday 1 September and Saturday 2 September 2017. There is no charge for viewing your papers.

To appeal your results, complete the application form, indicating the subjects you wish to appeal. The fee per subject is €40 for the Leaving Certificate Established and €15.50 for the Leaving Certificate Applied. Appeal fees must be paid in advance and will be refunded to you if your result is upgraded.  The closing date for the SEC to receive applications to appeal is 6 September 2017.

Your paper will be re-marked by an appeal examiner, who will be different from the examiner who originally marked your work. The same marking scheme is used for re-marking. Your result may be upgraded, left the same or downgraded as a result of an appeal.  There is further information about the appeal process on the website of the State Examinations Commission, examinations.ie. If you are not happy with the outcome of your appeal, you may request a review by the Independent Appeals Scrutineers. Application forms for an appeal review are provided with your appeal results.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service 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, July 10, 2017

Know Your Rights: Passport renewal


Question
I have booked a family holiday and checked my passport to make sure it’s still valid. It is, but it’s due to expire a couple of weeks before I travel. How can I make sure that I can get a new one in time?

Answer
You don’t have to wait until the expiry of your passport to renew it. If you apply for a new passport before your current one has expired, the period that your new passport is valid for begins from when you apply, rather than from when your previous passport expires.

The website of the Passport Service, passport.ie, lists the current average processing times for different types of passport applications. The quickest way to renew your passport is by using the online application service, which was introduced earlier this year. You can use the online service if your passport expires any time in the next 12 months.

You must submit a digital photo with your application. You can get a friend to take your photo with a digital camera or smartphone or you can go to a photo provider, for example a pharmacy or a photographer, who will give you a copy of your digital photo to upload. Alternatively, you can go to one of the photo booth services listed on passport.ie, which will take your photo and provide you with a code. If you enter this code when you apply, you don’t need to upload the photo yourself.

Online renewal isn’t available for children’s passports, so if you wanted to renew your family’s passports together, you would have to use Passport Express, the postal application service. Alternatively, you could renew your own passport online and use Passport Express for renewing any passports for children.

When you get your new passport you can set a renewal reminder. The passport.ie website offers a passport reminder service, which will send you an email three months before the passport expires.
Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service 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

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Know Your Rights: Help with paying the rent


Question
We are on the local authority’s housing list, but for now we need to find private rented accommodation and get help with the rent. Should we apply for Rent Supplement or the new Housing Assistance Payment?

Answer
People on the local authority’s housing list should no longer apply for Rent Supplement. You can apply for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) instead.

HAP is a form of social housing support for people with a long-term housing need. Since 1 March 2017, it has been available nationwide.

The HAP scheme aims to allow all social housing supports to be accessed through one body – the local authority – and to enable people to take up full-time employment and keep their housing support.

Under HAP, you find your own private rented accommodation. The rental agreement will be between yourself and the landlord. This means that you will have certain rights and obligations, as will your landlord.

The rent must be within the HAP rent limits, which are based on your household size and the rental market in your area. Flexibility is provided for people who cannot find suitable accommodation within these rent limits. The Homeless HAP Pilot in Dublin offers further flexibility for homeless people.

You won’t pay the rent to the landlord yourself. You will pay a rent contribution to the local authority through the HAP Shared Services Centre, which manages HAP payments on behalf of all local authorities and will pay the rent directly to your landlord. The rent contribution you pay will be based on your income and your ability to pay – like with a local authority differential rent.

If you are getting a social welfare payment at a post office, you must pay your rent contribution through the Household Budget Scheme.

If you take up a job or increase your working hours, you will still be eligible for HAP, provided that you meet the other conditions of the scheme.

Further information is available on hap.ie and from the Citizens Information Service 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

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Know Your Rights: Help with school costs



Question
I am the parent of a four-year-old daughter who will start Primary School in September. My only income is from my One-Parent Family Payment and €90 I get each week from a part-time job. I don’t get maintenance and I’m worried about the extra costs involved in sending my daughter to school. Is there State help available?
Answer
As you are getting a social welfare payment, you may be entitled to the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BSCFA) to help meet the cost of your daughter’s school uniform and footwear, as long as your weekly income is below a certain level.

You are currently receiving a One-Parent Family Payment of €222.80 (including a child payment) and earning €90, so your weekly income is €312.80, which is below the income limit of €418.10 for a lone parent with one child and will entitle you to BSCFA. The BSCFA payment this year is €125 for a qualified child aged 4–11 years.

The Department of Social Protection pays BSCFA automatically in many cases. If you haven’t already received a letter from them, you will need to apply by 30 September 2017. Application forms are available on the Department’s website, welfare.ie, or from your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office. A form can also be requested by SMS (text message) by texting ‘Form BTSCFA’ followed by your name and address to 51909 or by emailing the Department at BSCFA@welfare.ie.

The Department of Education and Skills also runs a School Books Grant Scheme which is available to State-funded schools to help with the cost of school books. Some schools will help with the cost of buying textbooks or run a Textbook Rental Scheme. You should contact your daughter’s school principal to find out if this option is available at her new school.


Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service 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, June 18, 2017

Know Your Rights: Medical card and Domiciliary Care Allowance


Question
I’m getting Domiciliary Care Allowance for my daughter so I was happy to hear that medical card cover was being extended to children who qualify for the payment. The medical card application form seems to require a lot of information that doesn’t appear relevant in this situation. Is there another way to apply?
Answer
You don’t need to complete the medical card application form to get the medical card for your daughter. The medical card for children who qualify for Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) isn’t subject to a means test so information about your income is not required.

Instead, you can register your child online by going to the website medicalcard.ie  and clicking on ‘Medical Cards (DCA)’. The site also has a form you can download if you prefer to apply by post. 
You will need to provide the following information:

Your Personal Public Service (PPS) Number and contact details
Your child’s PPS Number and date of birth
The name and address of your child’s GP

The website includes a list of GPs who are participating in the scheme. If your GP of choice is accepting applications electronically, your child’s details will be sent to them. If not, you will be emailed a copy of the relevant details, which you can print out and bring to the GP. 

Once the GP accepts your child to their GMS patient list, the registration will be finalised by the National Medical Card Unit and a medical card in your child’s name will be sent to you. 

If you have questions about the medical card, you can call the information line on Lo-call 1890 252 919.

Further information is also available from the Citizens Information Service 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, June 11, 2017

Know Your Rights: Retirement age


Question
My employer says that I have to retire when I reach the age of 65. Can an employer make you retire at a certain age?

Answer
There is no single fixed retirement age for employees. If you are employed, your retirement age should be set out in your contract of employment. The usual retirement age in contracts of employment is 65.

Many contracts have provisions for early retirement from age 60 (or in some cases from age 55) and most have provision for early retirement on health grounds. Some occupations – for example, firefighters, An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces – have provisions for earlier retirement.

While employment equality legislation prohibits discrimination on the grounds of age, employers are still allowed to set retirement ages in employment contracts. Since 1 January 2016, under the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 an employer may set a compulsory retirement age if the employer can objectively justify the retirement age of an employee. This could be for health and safety reasons, for example, the physical demands and requirements of the job.

If an employee has reached the employer’s mandatory age of retirement, this legislation provides that they may still be legitimately offered fixed-term contracts, provided that it is objectively justified. The provisions of the Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003 would still apply.

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) provides information on your rights and entitlements under employment legislation. For further information about your contract of employment and retirement age you can contact the WRC’s Information and Customer Service at Lo-call 1890 80 80 90 or through the website, workplacerelations.ie.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service 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