The Department's treatment benefit scheme, of which the hearing aid grant is an element, is based on PRSI contributions paid. Only PRSI paid at classes A, E, H, or P count towards qualification for the benefit. There are two rules that must be met in order for a person to qualify, for claims made in 2013, the person claiming must have:
1. At least 260 qualifying contributions paid since first starting work, and
2. At least 39 qualifying contributions paid or credited in 2011 (or, for anyone aged over 60, in the Governing Contribution Year at the time they turned 60 – in this case, 2006).
While the person referred to, satisfies condition 1, the contributions paid in the relevant tax years 2006 and 2011 are recorded as Class S contributions. Class S contributions are self-employed contributions, which are paid at a reduced rate and do not count for qualification towards treatment benefit. As a result the person concerned is not currently eligible for treatment benefit.
The person referred should contact his local HSE office, as the HSE also operate an audiological scheme and they will be able to advise him of any entitlement he may have under that scheme.
Question No. 132 withdrawn.