Thursday, 2 May 2013

Questions (228)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

228. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the way in which current medical card criteria discriminates against persons who hold an occupational pension instead of a State pension whereby a person whose only income is an occupational pension but at the same value as the State contributory pension will not automatically qualify for a medical card whereas a person whose only income is the State pension will; and the action he will take to improve the position of occupational pension holders in this regard so that such discrimination is ended. [20898/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Medical Card/GP Visit Card National Assessment Guidelines provide for consideration of income that is derived solely from allowances/benefits paid by the Department of Social Protection or the HSE that which are in excess of the Income Guidelines.

In 2009, a new scheme was introduced for people aged 70 years and over. This new scheme set a significantly higher gross income limit for a single person, currently €600 per week and €1,200 per week for a couple. This compares with a weekly income limit of €184 for a person aged up to 65 and €266.50 for a couple and compares with a weekly income limit of €201.50 for a single person aged between 65 and 70 and €298 for a couple within that same age bracket.