Thursday, 22 February 2018

Ceisteanna (42)

Brendan Smith


42. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Finance his plans to improve the criteria for persons wishing to avail of the primary medical certificate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9204/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme provides relief from VAT and VRT on the purchase of an adapted car for transport of a person with specific severe and permanent physical disabilities, payment of a fuel grant, and an exemption from Motor Tax.

To qualify for the Scheme an applicant must be in possession of a Primary Medical Certificate. To qualify for a Primary Medical Certificate, an applicant must satisfy one of the following conditions:

- be wholly or almost wholly without the use of both legs;

- be wholly without the use of one leg and almost wholly without the use of the other leg such that the applicant is severely restricted as to movement of the lower limbs;

- be without both hands or without both arms;

- be without one or both legs;

- be wholly or almost wholly without the use of both hands or arms and wholly or almost wholly without the use of one leg; or

- have the medical condition of dwarfism and have serious difficulties of movement of the lower limbs.

The Scheme represents a significant tax expenditure costing €65 million in each of 2016 and 2017 (excluding motor tax foregone). From time to time I receive representations on behalf of individuals who believe they would benefit from the scheme but do not qualify under the criteria. While I have sympathy for such cases, given the scale and scope of the scheme, there are no plans to review the medical criteria eligibility at this time.

Finally, I would like to point out that the Government's legislative programme for 2018 includes the Health (Transport Support) Bill which provides for a scheme to make individual payments as a contribution towards transport costs to persons with severe disabilities on a low income who cannot access public transport. The legislation is being brought forward by my colleague the Minister for Health. Persons who do not meet the medical criteria for the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme may qualify for the proposed Transport Support Scheme.