Pension payable in Australia due to Irish records
You don’t say how many children you are gifting the property to but it is unlikely that, in itself, it will take them above the threshold.
Eligibility for medical card
I am looking at my eligibility for over-seventies medical card and refer to your article of last March. If I understand it correctly a married couple with say €122,000 savings would be assessed on €50,000 of this at varying and increasing rates resulting in a total interest of €572.
However, an example given the the Citizens Information website calculates the interest on the excess €50,000 all at a notional 3 per cent giving a total figure of €1,500. Which is correct?
Mr P D, email
Having checked back, we’re both correct. The confusion lies in the fact that the regime is slightly different for people under the age of 70 and for those over that age.
The common feature in both is that the first €36,000 of savings is disregarded for an individual and €72,000 for a couple.
It is only to savings above these levels that interest income – actual or notional – is assessed in a means test.
Below 70, there is a stepped system for assessing the income accruing from savings. Under this notional rate regime, the first € 10,000 over the exemption threshold is deemed to deliver €1 in weekly income. The next €10,000 attracts a notional weekly income of €2 with a rate of €4 a week applying to everything over this amount – ie, in excess of €56,000 for an individual or €92,000 for a couple.
Of course, if your savings are in an investment where they receive actual interest, that actual figure can be used instead of the notional formula. For people over the age of 70, the system is more straightforward. Over the savings threshold, and if actual interest is not there to be assessed, the notional regime applies.
In this case, a single notional rate will be used. Citizens’ Information notes that this rate will be set quarterly by the Health Service Executive on the basis of the average current deposit rates across a number of Irish banks and building societies on January 1st, April 1st, July 1st and October 1st.
The 3 per cent rate you refer to is used in illustrative examples but I have not been able to find any mention anywhere on the internet what the current rate is.
Apparently, it is set by something called the Central Application Unit. But certainly the HSE has not made it easy for compliant consumers to inform themselves of the current applicable rate.
This column is a reader service and is not intended to replace professional advice. Please send your questions to Q&A, c/o Dominic Coyle, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2, or to email@example.com. No personal correspondence will be entered into.