Free glasses and teeth-cleaning part of PRSI benefits scheme
PRSI payers including self-employed to be covered at extra annual cost of €70m
The patient will have to pay some of the cleaning fee if the dentist charges more than the €42 payable by the department. Photograph: John Giles/PA Wire
Free glasses and subsidised teeth-cleaning treatments are among the benefits that have been added to the State’s treatment benefit scheme.
The services are now available to qualified PRSI contributors including the self-employed, and their dependent spouses or partners. The cost of extending the benefits is expected to be more than €70 million in a full year.
The optical scheme covers the provision of glasses for free (or subsidised if an “upgraded design” is chosen) or a contribution towards contact lenses. Repairs to glasses are also covered under the scheme.
The dental scheme includes a contribution to cleanings, either an annual scale and polish or more extensive periodontal treatment if clinically required.
The patient will have to pay some of the fee if the dentist charges more than the €42 payable by the department. The excess will be capped at €15 for “the simpler scale-and-polish treatment”.
Announcing the benefits, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said that currently more than 2.5 million qualified contributors, including 450,000 self-employed, could be entitled to claim treatment benefits based on their PRSI contributions.
“Treatment benefits are an important support for those who contribute each week to the social insurance fund and our commitment to these extended benefits demonstrates a government committed to supporting people at work, be they employed or self-employed,” the Minister said.
Details of the scheme and how to apply can be found at welfare.ie.