MSA Trust

03. Benefits if you live in the Republic of Ireland

Medical Card/GP Visit Card

Unless you have a medical card or GP visit card, visits to GP’s are not free. If you have a medical card you don’t have to pay to see your doctor or for the medicines they prescribe. A medical card also covers public outpatient and inpatient services, eye and ear tests and dental checks. Anyone can apply. A small group qualify automatically. It is means-tested. When applying you will need to include details of income (from all sources) and expenses. Cards can be applied for online by visiting

If you are aged 70 or over you qualify for a medical card if your gross weekly income is not more than €500 for a single person or €900 for a couple.

If you are aged 70 or over you also qualify for a GP visit card, which covers GP visits and blood tests to diagnose or monitor a condition. To apply go to

Long Term Illness Card

If you have certain medical conditions (including ‘Parkinsonism’ and MSA comes under this category) you can apply to join the Long-Term Illness Scheme. This scheme is not means-tested. It allows people to obtain medicines and surgical appliances that are related to their condition free of charge. Please visit for more information and to apply. Forms are also available from local health offices. Your local Pharmacist may also be able to help you.

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

This is a means-tested benefit for people who do not have enough income to meet the needs of themselves and their family. It is not a taxable benefit. It may be paid to people out of work or whose earnings need topping up because they are below the Supplementary Welfare Allowance rate. It can be paid whilst waiting for other benefits but monies paid in these circumstances will be recovered. To apply, contact your Department of Social Protection’s Community Welfare Service at your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Office.

Disability Allowance

To be eligible for Disability Allowance, you must be substantially restricted in undertaking work as a result of your disability. This is a means-tested benefit, and it takes into account income for both you and your partner, but not the value of your home. If you are not eligible for disability allowance, you may still be eligible for Invalidity Pension (see below).

Illness Benefit

This is a taxable benefit that is paid to people who are ill and who satisfy the social insurance requirements. It is not linked to benefits paid by an employer. It is paid for up to one to two years depending on a person’s contribution record. You cannot work and get Illness Benefit. The amount paid is linked to your average weekly earnings. To claim, contact your GP and complete the form MC1 (not available online or from Social Welfare Offices). Form MC2 – the medical certificate – will be required on a weekly basis. Before returning to work the GP will need to provide a final certificate.

Invalidity Pension

This is a taxable benefit paid to people who are unable to work because of a long-term illness or disability. It is only payable to people who have sufficient social insurance contributions. The current rate is €203 a week. To apply for Invalidity Pension, fill in an Invalidity Pension application form (INV1). You can get a form from your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office. You can apply for Supplementary Welfare Allowance while you are waiting for your Invalidity Pension claim to be processed.

Partial Capacity Benefit

This is a benefit which permits someone to work part time and still receive some support. Individuals are assessed as having a mild, moderate, severe or profound level of restricted capacity for work and the level of support reflects this assessment. A Medical Assessor will examine your claim and determine your entitlement based on the qualifying conditions outlined. You may be required to attend a medical assessment. To apply, you will need to complete a Partial Capacity Benefit application form. Contact the Partial Capacity Benefit Section by calling 0818 927770 or emailing . They will post you an application form.

Living Alone Increase

This is an extra payment (€9 a week) for people in receipt of social welfare payments who live alone. It is payable to people aged 66 years and over who have a state pension (contributory or non-contributory) and/or certain other benefits. It can be paid to people who live independently in a ‘granny’ annexe (with its own dining and sleeping facilities) and in sheltered accommodation. It can also be paid to elderly or frail people who have a friend or relative to stay at night or who go to a friend or relatives house at night. To apply you will need to complete a Living Alone Increase application form, which you can find here: Send the completed form to the section of the Department of Social Protection that pays your main pension or benefit.

Household Benefits Package

Everyone aged over 70 years is entitled to help with gas and electricity and to a free TV licence. Some people aged under 70 are entitled to the Household Benefits Package including those in receipt of disability and means tested benefits.

See for details on how to apply.

Mobility Aids Grants Scheme

In the Republic of Ireland, housing adaptations grants are administered by Local Authorities. They are means-tested and the maximum grant is €30,000. Further information can be found here:

The Mobility Aids Grant Scheme is also available in the Republic of Ireland for older or disabled people with a household income of less than €30,000 a year. It can help with the cost and installation of items like grab rails, level access showers or ramps. The maximum grant is €6,000 and this can be for up to 100% of the cost of the work. The grant does not cover VAT on the work. However, you can apply for a VAT refund for any appliances that you need and the cost of installing them. The scheme is administered by your Local Authority.


For more information on benefits available in the Republic of Ireland, visit your Local Intreo Centres or check online at or

Click here to return the Financial Support and Welfare Benefits page.