Thursday, 22 November 2018

Questions (144)

John Curran


144. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health if he will review upwards the income thresholds for the medical card, general practitioner card, over 70s medical card and the over 70s general practitioner card in view of increases in wages and the minimum wage in particular and increases in the rate of social welfare payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48747/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Budget 2019 provided for increases in a number of social welfare payments which are intended to come into effect in March 2019. It would be the Government's intention that people's ability to qualify for a medical card would not be adversely affected by this increase. I have asked the HSE to monitor the situation and to advise me if it considers that changes in the rates of social welfare payments may affect people's ability to qualify for a medical card.

Although increases in income may have an impact on a person's eligibility for a medical card it should be noted that the medical card assessment process does take into account certain allowable expenses such as mortgage costs, travel-to-work costs and childcare costs, which may also vary over time. Furthermore, if a person's sole income is derived from a social welfare payment, even where this is more than the current means threshold, he/she will be awarded a medical card.