MS and Finances Resource

Managing your finances is a mainstay of modern life. The need to budget, shop around and ‘spring clean’ your finances is common to all. Irish research has shown that those with disabilities incur greater living costs, and this can lead to extra pressure on the bank balance.


However, there is much advice and information available to help you organise your finances and secure your lifestyle for the future. This resource aims to provide practical information regarding finances. 

Eligibility criteria may apply. It is advisable to explore the criteria prior to application. If you require any assistance please contact our network of Community Workers or the Citizens Information Service

Some of the supports mentioned below may be subject to a means test. A means test is a way of examining your financial resources to determine what supports, if any you qualify for and the amount of support that may be provided. 

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This information resource is supported by the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Fund. 

The State and many of its agencies assist with the financial cost of living with MS, both for the person with MS and the carer. The following list is a brief overview of some of the entitlements and benefits a person with MS/carer may be entitled to. Some of the below are means tested supports. 

Medical Card - This is means tested

The Medical Card provides access to certain health services free of charge. Those who are 'ordinarily resident' in Ireland can apply for this support. The medical card can support with a range of services including: 

  • GP services including out-of-hours services
  • Prescribed medications - though some charges may apply
  • Public Hospital Services
  • Dental services
  • Optical Services
  • Maternity services
  • Some personal and social care services
  • Short-term counselling for mild to moderate psychological difficulties though Primary Care counselling

Additional Information on this scheme, eligibility and the application process can be found here.

GP Visit Card - This is means tested

Those who are not eligible for medical card may be able to access a GP visit card which allows you to visit a participating GP free of charge, including out of hours services. It also covers blood tests used to diagnose or monitor a condition. Additional information on this scheme and the application process can be found here.

Discretionary Medical Card - You may not qualify for a medical card based on the means test. But if you have medical expenses, you may qualify for a discretionary medical card.

Discretionary medical cards are issued for a specific time frame. The time frame will depend on your circumstances.

A discretionary medical card gives you the same services as a means-tested medical card.

Long Term Illness Scheme - This is not means tested

The Long Term Illness Scheme covers a range of medical conditions, including MS. Certain medications and medical appliances for the treatment and management of MS are covered by this scheme. Additional information on this scheme and the application process can be found here.

Information on the approved medications and appliances that are covered under the Long Term Illness Scheme can be found here.

Drugs Payment Scheme - This is not means tested

Under the Drugs Payment Scheme a family will only have to pay a maximum of €80 per month for prescribed drugs, medicines and certain appliances.  

Additional information on this scheme and the application process can be found here. 

Treatment Benefit Scheme - This is subject to PRSI contributions

The Treatment Benefit Scheme provides insured workers, the self-employed and retired people with the required number of PRSI contributions to limited financial contribution towards certain dental, optical and aural services. 

It covers the cost of planned treatment in another country in the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), United Kingdom or Switzerland.

The treatment must be within Irish law and either:

  • not available in Ireland, or
  • not available in the time normally necessary to get it in Ireland - taking into account your health and the likely course of your condition or disease

Click here for more information on this scheme. 

Who can use public hospitals in Ireland?

If you live in Ireland and you are ordinarily resident you can access in-patient and out-patient services in public hospitals. Public hospitals include HSE hospitals and voluntary hospitals. Public in-patient and day service fees were abolished on 17 April 2023. This means that the daily charge for staying in a public hospital no longer applies from this date.

If you attend an emergency department without being referred there by a GP, there is a charge of €100.

There is no charge if you are referred by a GP (bring your referral letter with you).

Emergency department charges do not apply to:

  1. Medical card holders
  2. People who are admitted to hospital as an in-patient as a result of attending the casualty department (you may be subject to in-patient charges)
  3. People getting treatment for prescribed infectious diseases, including COVID-19
  4. Children up to 6 weeks of age
  5. Children with illnesses and disabilities as set out in Regulations: “mental handicap, mental illness, phenylketonuria, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida, hydrocephalus, haemophilia and cerebral palsy”
  6. Children referred for treatment from child health clinics and school health examinations
  7. People who are entitled to hospital services because of EU Regulations
  8. Women getting maternity services
  9. People with Hepatitis C who have a Health Amendment Act Card
  10. Participants in the Redress Scheme for Women Resident in Certain Institutions

For information on entitlement to health services in Ireland click here

For information on accessing health services as a visitor to Ireland click here

If you would like any additional support you, MS Ireland's Regional Community Workers may be able to assist. Contact information for the MS Ireland Regional Community Worker in your area can be found here

Disability Allowance - This is means tested

This support is a weekly payment for people with a disability, including MS who meet certain criteria. A medical assessment is required as part of the application process. The criteria for this payment states that you must;

  • Have an injury, disease or physical or mental disability that has continued for at least one year or is expected to continue for at least one year 
  • Be substantially restricted because of your disability from doing work that would be suitable for a person of your age, experience and qualifications
  • Be aged between 16 and 66
  • Pass a means test
  • Live in Ireland and meet the habitual residence condition

Additional information on this payment, eligibility criteria, weekly rates and application process is available here.

Partial Capacity Benefit - tHIS IS NOT MEANS TESTED

Partial Capacity Benefit may be available to those in receipt of Illness Benefit for a minimum of 6 months or Invalidity Pension and wish to return to work. Applicants may qualify for this payment if your medical condition.has reduced your capacity for work. An assessment to establish whether the reduction in capacity is classified as mild, moderate, severe or profound. If your capacity restriction is mile, you will not qualify for this payment. 

You will qualify for Partial Capacity Benefit if your restriction on capacity for work is assessed as moderate, severe, or profound. If it is assessed as mild you will not qualify.

Additional information on this support is available here.

Illness Benefit - This is not means tested

lllness Benefit is a weekly payment that may be accessed by those who cannot work due to sickness or illness. You must be under 66 years of age, medically certified as unfit to work and satisfy Social insurance (PRSI) conditions.

To find out more about this benefit, eligibility, conditions and the application process, click here



This is a weekly payment for people who are covered by social insurance (PRSI) and cannot work due to a long-term illness or disability. To meet Invalidity Pension conditions you must;

  • Have been incapable of work for at least 12 months and likely to be incapable of work for at least another 12 months
  • Be permanently incapable of work

To find out more about this support, eligibility and the application process, click here

Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme (SWA) Types of SWA payments:

  • Rent supplement
  • Exceptional Needs Payment
  • Urgent Needs Payment
  • SWA supplements

How to apply for the SWA scheme

Qualifying criteria will be different depending on the payment

Application forms for all payments under the SWA scheme can be found online at or from your local Community Welfare Office

Finish with: Tips for managing your finances:

  • Do a full benefit check for the household
  • Look into any social welfare payments that you may be entitled to but are not currently claiming
  • Look into any allowances you may be entitled to such as fuel allowance, free travel etc.
  • If you have children in college they may qualify for grants if there has been a loss in income in the household
  • If you are unsure as to what you may be entitled to your local Citizens Information and/or your MS Ireland Regional Community Worker maybe able to offer advice.
  • Contact Revenue as tax credits may be moved from one spouse to the other
  • Only applicable if married and jointly accessed for tax
  • Engage with your lender if payment breaks might be needed on mortgages, loans, PCP etc.
  • If you think you may not be able to make loan repayments due to being out of work, receiving treatment etc. it is extremely important that you engage with your lender early
  • The lender may offer you alternative arrangements depending on your circumstances

To find our more about Supplementary Welfare Allowance click here

For more information on disability payments and work, click here. 


Having MS is not a sole reason why someone might not be able to secure a mortgage. Many people living with MS have been successful in securing mortgages. Ability to demonstrate repayment capacity is what is most important. A financial underwriter is responsible for determining if you have capacity to meet repayments. The variables in question will be:

  • Amount borrowed
  • Interest Rate 
  • Term of the mortgage 

Life assurance is compulsory when taking out a mortgage. This protects against the financial impact of untimely death. Life assurance involves undergoing medical underwriting. The insurer will use this to assess the risk they are taking on. They will consider things including:

  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) - you would need to be in the obese category for this to become an issue
  • Medical conditions (which includes MS)

There are four potential outcomes as a result of medical underwriting. These include;

  • Ordinary rates
  • Cover at an additional cost
  • Postponement 
  • Decline

For those living with MS, it is unlikely they will get offered life assurance at ordinary rates and may be offered cover at an additional cost. This may take the form of an initial loading where people living with MS pay an increased premium for an amount of time before the payments reduce. This can vary from person to person. 

First degree relatives of those living with MS may also find that there is a loading placed on life insurance for mortgages. 

The risk classification which is likely to be considered in relation to MS includes;

  • Type of MS (relapsing remitting, primary progressive etc)
  • Symptoms (when they first and last occurred, whether the person is symptom free, experiencing intermittent, continuous or worsening symptoms)
  • Mobility (fully ambulatory, use mobility aids)
  • Work (ability to work full or part time, any absences from work may be considered)
  • Complications (difficulty with breathing, eating, swallowing)

Doctors reports are often requested as part of the assessment process and this would be expected for those living with MS.

Note: While mortgage protection is always a condition of sanction, it can be waived by the lender if the borrower has been declined cover by 3 different insurance companies. A letter of decline should be received.

It can also offer comfort to a lender if the borrower is covered by a death in service policy by their employer, especially if they are not in a position to be able to take out a  mortgage protection policy.

Tip from a financial advisor:


There are lots of offers and incentives from the different lenders, e.g. cashback. Ultimately the most important consideration should be the cost of credit.

The amount borrowed multiplied by the interest rate over the term of the mortgage will determine the cost of the credit.

There are no penalties for switching mortgage so that should be viewed as an option for borrowers to ensure best offers and interest rates are achieved. NOTE – if you are tied into a fixed interest rate there could be an early redemption fee if you switch mortgage so this needs to be considered first.

For more information on Mortgages, Pensions and Life Assurance, watch our webinar here

If you have been refused a mortgage

If you have been turned down for a mortgage, you may be eligible for a Local Authority Mortgage. You can find out more here.

Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability - this is subject to an income assessment

A Housing Adaptation Grant is a grant which may be available where changes need to be made to a home to make it suitable for a person with a disability to live in. The grant can help you to make adaptations to your home, for example, making it wheelchair-accessible, create more space, adding a ground floor bathroom or toilet and stair-lift.  In some cases, the provision of heating can be included but only under certain conditions. The grant can be paid to people in: 

  • Owner occupied housing. 

  • Houses being purchased from a local authority under the Tenant Purchase Scheme. 

  • Private rented accommodation (the duration of your tenancy can affect grant approval). 

  • Accommodation provided under the voluntary housing Capital Assistance and Rental Subsidy schemes. 

  • Accommodation occupied by persons living in communal residences. 

The grant can be used to make your home more accessible by;

  • Adding ramps or other ways to access your home
  • Extending your home to create more space, for example
  • Adding accessible bathroom facilities, such as an accessible shower or a ground-floor bathroom or toilet
  • Installing a stair lift
  • Installing grab rails

To find out more about this grant, eligibility and the application process, visit here.

Mobility Aids Grant Scheme  - tHIS IS MEANS TESTED

The Mobility Aids Grant Scheme is a means-tested scheme providing grants for minor works designed to address mobility problems in the home, for example, the grant can be used for the purchase and installation of grab-rails, a level access shower, access ramps or a stair-lift.  

The grant can be paid to people in: 

  • Owner occupied housing. 

  • Houses being purchased from a local authority under the tenant purchase scheme. 

  • Private rented accommodation (the duration of your tenancy can affect grant approval). 

  • Accommodation provided under the voluntary housing Capital Assistance and Rental Subsidy schemes. 

  • Accommodation occupied by persons living in communal residences. 

The grant may cover most of the cost of the work depending on the total cost. 

Information on this grant, eligibility criteria and the application process visit here.

Housing Aid for Older People tHIS IS MEANS TESTED

The Housing Aid for Older People Scheme is used to improve the condition of an older person’s home. In general, this scheme is aimed at people 66 years of age and above, however, if there is a case of genuine hardship the local authority may give assistance to people under 60 years. The type of work which may be grant aided includes structural repairs or improvements, re-wiring, repair or replacement of windows and doors, the provision of heating, water and sanitary services, cleaning, painting, re-wiring and any other repair or improvement work considered necessary. 

The grant can be paid to people in: 

  • Owner occupied housing. 

  • Houses being purchased from a local authority under the tenant purchase scheme. 

The maximum grant may cover 95% of the approved cost of works. 

To find out more about this grant, eligibility criteria and how to apply, click here

Other finance schemes 

There are various other finance schemes available from your local authority to help you buy, improve or extend your home. These include: 

Heating your home 

Heating your home can be expense. However there may be some benefits or allowances available towards heating costs. It may be worth applying for these even if you are unsure of your eligibility. 

Fuel Allowance - This is subject to qualifying social welfare payments

You may be entitled to this if you are receiving a long-term Social Welfare or Health Service Executive (HSE) payment and you are unable to pay for your heating needs. This is a means-tested payment, paid weekly over a 30 week period from September to April. If you qualify and you live in a listed smokeless area, you may also receive an additional amount. If you do receive the Fuel Allowance you are also eligible for the Warmer Homes Scheme (see Sustainable Energy Ireland Schemes below). 

For more information on this allowance, eligibility criteria and the application process, click here.

Heating Supplement - This is means tested

This is an additional weekly payment to help people with extra heating needs (for example, people who are ill or have a disability or who live alone). 

You may qualify for a heating supplement, if you: 

  • Can show you have extra heating needs because of your age, medical condition or disability 
  • Are living alone or only with a dependent adult or dependent children
  • Satisfy a means test

To find out more about this, click here.

Household Benefits Package - This is subject to certain social protection payments

The three allowances that make up the Household Benefits Package are: 

  • Electricity Allowance or Natural Gas Allowance  

  • Telephone Allowance - a payment towards your telephone bill. 

  • Free Television Licence. 

You may qualify if you are aged 70 or over, if you are getting a Carer's Allowance, if you are caring for a person who gets Prescribed Relative's Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance. People under the age of 70 may qualify if in receipt of a qualifying payment (Invalidity Pension, Blind Pension, Unemployability Supplement, Disability Allowance) and live alone or only with certain excepted people, or aged between 66 and 69, satisfy a means test and live alone or only with certain excepted people. 

For more information on this package, click here.

Fuel supplier payment plans 

If you are experiencing difficulties paying your fuel bills, contact your natural gas or electricity supplier straight away. All suppliers offer different payment arrangements and you should be able to put in place a payment plan that you and your supplier can accept. Sometimes a pre-payment meter may be fitted at your home to allow you to remain on gas or electricity while repaying a debt and prevent you building up any further debt. 

Electricity and gas suppliers will not disconnect your supply for non-payment of bills from November to March if you are on the Industry Special Services Register and you are aged 66 or over, are living alone or with another elderly person or are living with a minor. To be placed on this register, contact your supplier directly. 

Household Budget Scheme This is subject to certain social protection payments. 

The Household Budget scheme allows people who receive certain Social Services payments to pay a regular amount towards various household bills by direct deduction from their payments.  The service is operated for the Department of Social & Family Affairs by An Post.  It is intended to help people getting certain social welfare payments to manage their household finances.  You can choose to pay the following bills by Household Budget: Local Authority Rents and Mortgages, ESB, Bord Gais, Eir, Post mobile, Airtricity, Personal Microcredit Pilot Scheme.  For more information contact An Post: 

To find out more about this scheme, click here

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland Scheme - 

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) administers financial assistance schemes to homeowners with the aim of reducing energy use, costs and greenhouse gas emissions: General Consumer  

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has a large, comprehensive list of grants available to support making your home warmer.  

An example is ‘The Warmth and Wellbeing Scheme’ which aims to improve living conditions for people living with chronic respiratory conditions. An assessment will be carried out by an SEAI surveyor who will advise on the necessary energy efficient upgrades that are available through the scheme. A referral needs to be made on your behalf by the HSE to SEAI. It is advisable to check out the current grants, application process, installation work, etc.

For information on the available grants, eligibility criteria and application process, click here


State Pension (Contributory) is a payment which you may qualify for at 66 if you have enough social insurance contributions. This pension is based on your social insurance (PRSI) contributions. 

The State Pension (Non-contributory) is a means-tested payment if you don't qualify for a contributory pension on your PRSI contributions or if you only qualify for a reduced rate of State Pension. 

Occupational Pensions

An occupational pension is one provided by your employer. They provide regular income after retirement. In some cases, a lump sum may also be provided upon retirement. Occupational pensions can be: 

  • Contributory (where you and your employer both pay into the account) or non-contributory (where only your employer pays into the account)
  • Funded or unfunded
  • Defined benefit, defined contribution or a hybrid of both

Depending on the pension contract, employees may be able to take early retirement due to ill health at any stage. The employee must be permanently incapable to carry on their occupation.

Personal Retirement Savings Account

A Personal Retirement Savings Account is a long-term and flexible personal pension plan. You can change employment and continue to use the same personal retirement savings account or you can switch between them.

Private Pensions

If you are self-employed or you have an employer who does not have an occupational pension scheme, you may need to arrange your own pension, called a personal pension or private pension. Personal pensions are managed by a life assurance or investment company. The PRSA is now the pension of choice for Company owner / Directors for wealth extraction purposes due to the amount of the contributions that can be made by an employer.

The purpose of insurance is to protect us from the financial consequences of the unpredictable. Whether it’s a car accident, a holiday cancellation, home contents destroyed by a fire or the early death of a loved one – most people would expect to have no trouble getting insurance to fully cover such eventualities. For people with MS, however, that security is often unavailable, prohibitively expensive or inadequate for their needs.

It is recommended that you advise relevant insurance companies that you have MS as it may affect your policy if you do not disclose applicable information.  

Insurance policies are generally renewed once a year. Coming up to renewal date shop around to get the best value for money. Make sure you know what the insurance covers when you buy it.  

Standard home and motor insurance policies are likely to bump up premiums if you want to add anything outside their ordinary terms – to insure a wheelchair for example. Those seeking travel insurance are likely to find that medical and cancellation cover for MS-related illnesses are commonly excluded.

Because MS affects people in different ways, some may be asked to pay more, while others may have problems finding cover or not find cover at all. But with shopping around and careful consideration of any special cover necessary, it is possible for many people with MS to find a suitable insurance policy at a reasonable price. Using a broker maybe a time efficient way to explore the insurance market as they will have access to multiple insurance companies as know which company would be best suited to your particular application.

Health Insurance

Private health insurance may be used to pay for private health services including care in hospital or from certain health care professionals in hospitals or in their own practices. Cover varies from policy to policy and from one insurer to another. Some insurance companies will cover the cost of approved devices, including wheelchairs, on a case-by-case basis.

Waiting periods may apply and in some cases, pre-existing conditions may not be covered for a period of time. For policies taken out after 1st May 2015, the maximum period of time for pre-existing conditions is 5 years. 

Additional information is available from the Health Insurance Authority and Citizens Information

European Health Insurance Card

As members of the European Union travelling or staying temporarily in another state of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you are entitled to receive medical care if you become ill or have an accident. Click here to find out more. 

Mortgage Protection Insurance

Mortgage protection insurance is compulsory in Ireland when taking out a mortgage. This is taken out to ensure that the mortgage loan is paid in the event of the applicants death before the terms of the mortgage has ended. People living with MS may be able to obtain mortgage protection insurance subject to an initial loading. This means that they will likely pay an extra amount for a number of years at the beginning of their mortgage protection policy. 

First degree relatives of those living with MS may also find that there is a loading placed on life insurance for mortgages. 

Life Assurance

It is possible for people living with MS to obtain life assurance policies. 

Income Protection Insurance

Unfortunately, it is not possible for people with a diagnosis of MS to obtain income protection insurance.

Serious Illness Cover

Unfortunately, it is not possible for people with a diagnosis of MS to obtain serious illness cover, though they may be able to access 'Cancer only' cover. 

Motor Insurance

It is possible to obtain motor insurance with MS. You may be asked if you are living with a condition including MS as part of the application process. 

What to do if you have been declined Insurance:

Ensure there were no mistakes in your application

For example if you had a heart attack 4 years ago but have since improved your health but the medical questionnaire completed by your GP does not reflect this then you may be declined as the risk of having another heart-attack has not decreased.

Postponement vs. decline

Sometimes an insurer will not approve cover until the outcome of a procedure, until you finish being treated for an illness or until you have been clear of an illness for a certain time period.

This is not a decline but rather a postponement. In these cases the insurer is not declining to provide you cover at all but rather postponing the application until the risk can be better assessed at a later time.

How to make a complaint:

If you are dissatisfied with a service you must first engage with the provider, i.e. the bank/broker or insurance company from whom the service was provided, and follow their complaints process. This can be done in person, by telephone or in writing. All regulated financial services firms must have a complaints handling system in place under the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code which you can find here

The regulated financial service must:

  • Acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing within 5 business days and provide you with contact details of the complaints handler
  • Provide a progress update within 20 business days
  • Make a decision on your complaint in 40 business days and let you know of your right to refer the complaint to the FSPO.
  • Referring your complaint to the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO)
  • If the firm responds to your complaint and you are not happy with the outcome, or if the firm does not respond to your complaint or has delayed responding to you, you still have the option of taking your complaint to the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman.

Nursing Home Support Scheme / Fair Deal  

People may apply for financial support to help pay for the cost of care in a nursing home through the Nursing Homes Support Scheme. This is also known as the 'Fair Deal’ scheme. The Fair Deal scheme is managed by the HSE. As part of this scheme, people pay a certain amount towards the cost of care and the HSE pays the rest. The Fair Deal scheme covers approved public, voluntary and private/for profit nursing homes. People need to be approved for Fair Deal before they can receive funding for a nursing home.  This involves a ‘care needs’ assessment by the HSE and a financial assessment. Assets, savings and property are taken into account when assessing financial situation. People can choose to defer paying for their care until after their death, using their assets to secure a loan.  

It is advisable to consult with your GP or PHN in relation to nursing homes in your area. Do your research and check if the Nursing homes have a place available and can meet your care needs.  Consider your preferences and personal values before choosing one. 

The scheme covers: 

  • Accommodation and food
  • Nursing and personal care you may need
  • Laundry service
  • Basic aids and appliances necessary to support you with everyday living

The scheme does not cover: 

  • Short-term care such as respite, convalescent or day-care
  • Extra fees charged by the nursing home for services like hairdressing, therapies or activities

There are numerous steps involved in the application process which include an assessment of need and a financial assessment. 

The financial assessment is conducted to determine how much you can pay towards the nursing home care.

The Financial Assessment

This assessment examines your income and assets. If you are part of a couple (either married or life partners of the same or opposite sex who are co-habiting for 3 years or more), the assessment will be based on half of the combined income and assets.

The income and assets that would be taken into account include

  • Earnings
  • Pension
  • Social welfare benefits or allowances
  • Any income from holding an office or directorship
  • Any income from fees, commissions, dividends or interest
  • Transferred income (any income you transferred to someone else within 5 years of your first application)
  • Rental income from any properties which are not your main home
  • Rental income from your main home (this is calculated at a different rate to other incomes)
  • Any material property or wealth, including property or wealth outside Ireland.
  • Savings and deposits
  • Stocks, shares, securities and other financial instruments
  • Approved retirement funds (value of fund at date of application)
  • Money loaned by you to another person
  • Cash assets transferred to another person in the last 5 years
  • Your home (if you own or part-own it)
  • Any property or land you own
  • Businesses
  • Overseas land and property

In the case of assets, the net value minus any borrowings for the purchase or improvement of the asset is assessed.


The following deductions can be subtracted from your financial assessment:

  • Income tax, PAYE, Universal Social Charge and PRSI
  • Levies which you must pay by law (property tax)
  • Interest on loans for the purchase, repair or improvement of your home if you are a homeowner
  • If you are renting, your rental payments can be deducted if your partner, your child, or your partners child (aged under 21) live in the residence
  • Health expenses including GP visits, prescriptions, medicines and medical expenses after tax refund, (not including contributions paid under Fair Deal)
  • Maintenance payments for a child, spouse or former spouse made under a separation agreement or a court order
  • A dependent child in full-time education.
  • Any redress you received under a qualifying redress scheme

How much you pay towards your care

You pay 80% of your income (less deductions above) except rental income on your main home which you will pay 40% as well as 7.5% of the value of your assets annually.

For a single applicant, the first €36,000 of your assets will not be counted in the financial assessment. For those who are part of a couple, the first €72,000 of your assets will not be counted in the financial assessment.

If you are part of a couple, you will contribute half of the amounts above, that is, 40% of your income and 3.75% of the value of your assets per year.

If your assets include land or property, the 7.5% contribution based on these assets may be deferred and paid to Revenue after you have come to the end of your life. This can be done by applying for an optional nursing home loan.


Those living with disabilities Ireland may get a refund of Value Added Tax (VAT) on certain necessary aids and appliances.

The scheme does not apply to items that you are not been charged VAT for. An example would be wheelchairs which are zero-rated for VAT.

Examples of aids and appliances which may be included are;

  • Communication Aids
  • Walk-in baths
  • Commode chairs
  • Hoists and lifts

For more information on VAT refunds click here.

Free Travel Pass - This is not means tested

The Free Travel Pass is available to people aged 66 years and over.  People with specific disabilities under the age of 66 may also be eligible.  It allows you to travel free of charge on public transport and on a number of private buses and ferry services. 

Information on the scheme, qualifying conditions and the application process can be found here.

The Disabled Persons Parking Card

The Disabled Persons Parking Card (also known as the EU parking card) is available to people with specific disabilities and to people who are registered blind, whether they are drivers or passengers. There is a small charge for the card. The parking card can be used by a disabled person in any vehicle in which he or she is travelling and applies to the person rather than the car. The parking card must only be used by the person to whom it is issued.

Displaying the Disabled Persons Parking Card allows disabled drivers and passengers to park at parking meters and in assigned card parking areas without charge.

If you have a Primary Medical Certificate (see below) you will be automatically entitled to a Disabled Persons Parking Card, but you must still apply.

For more information on this card, qualifying conditions and the application process visit here.

Primary Medical Certificate

A Primary Medical Certificate (PMC) confirms that a person is severely and permanently disabled without the use of some limbs to the extent that the person is severely restricted as regards movement.  A PMC is especially for people with significant disability only.  The HSE Local Health Offices process the applications for the PMC which confirms that a person is significantly and permanently disabled.…

For more information on this card, qualifying conditions and the application process visit here


Disabled drivers and passengers who are registered with the Office of the Revenue Commissioners for the VRT/VAT scheme are exempt from toll charges on all toll roads in Ireland. To qualify, your vehicle must be eligible for tax relief under the Drivers and Passengers with Disabilities Scheme (see below)

Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme

This scheme provides a range of tax reliefs associated with the purchase and use of adapted vehicles or specially constructed vehicles by drivers and passengers with a disability. It is open to people who meet the specified medical criteria and have a Primary Medical Certificate.

You can apply for relief either as a driver or a passenger.  Alternatively, there is provision for family members or a carer to apply.

Under the Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme you can claim:

  • Remission or repayment of vehicle registration tax (VRT)
  • Repayment of value-added tax (VAT) on the purchase of a vehicle
  • Repayment of VAT on the cost of adapting a vehicle

There are some additional benefits and exemptions linked of this scheme which you may also qualify for including: 

  • An exemption from motor tax on the vehicle, see ‘How to apply’ below.
  • An exemption from toll road fees (see above)
  • The fuel grant

To find out more about this scheme, qualifying criteria and how to apply, click here. 

Higher Education Authority Fund for Students with Disabilities

The Higher Education Authority Fund for Students with Disabilities is available for students with a disability who require additional supports and services in further or higher education. To qualify you must be registered with a college and registered with the college’s Disability/Access Office.  The Disability or Access Officer will carry out a needs assessment which will identify your support needs and then submit an application to the Fund for Students with Disabilities on your behalf. The types of supports available include sign language interpreters, personal assistants and assistive technology. The Disability/Access Office can also provide students with learning support. This service may include support with study skills, reading techniques, memory techniques, essay writing, time management and examination preparation. One to one tuition is also available in most Institutions for students who need it. Any funding allocated to you will be administered through the disability or access office in the college. No money will go directly to you and it cannot be used to cover other costs such as food, books, or study materials. 

The Higher Education Authority’s Fund for Students with Disabilities is also available to students doing FETAC Level 5 or 6 courses.  In this instance you should contact the Further Education College Principle who will apply on your behalf.  

Social Welfare Payments for students with disability  

Students may be eligible for a Disability Allowance and an SUSI Grant. Students in receipt of a social welfare payment such as a Disability Allowance may be able to transfer to the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA). Students can work while on the scheme without affecting their payment. To avail of the Back to Education Scheme students must be registered on a full time course. Also to qualify for BTEA you must have been in receipt of Disability Allowance for the previous six months. If eligible, it is then a case of transferring from one payment to another. 

For more information on student finance contact the Higher Education Authority by clicking here

Information on the SUSI Grant, click here


MS Ireland may offer financial assistance to people with MS to help cover the costs of some expenses associated with the condition. Voluntary Branches raise this money through their fundraising activities. If you are experiencing financial hardship or would like to enquire about financial supports, our network of Regional Community Workers can offer advice and support. Information for how to contact the relevant Community Worker in your area is available here

St Vincent De Paul may provide support towards the cost of essential items such as food, clothing, and household bills for a short period of time or as as a once-off payment. More information can be found here.

MABS is the Irish money advice service. They provide support for people with money advice, budgeting, and problem debt. Their service is free of charge and offers impartial advice to help you to manage your money and debt. Further information can be found here.

There are a number of supports available from the Department of Social Protection which carers may be entitled to including Carer's Allowance; Carer's Benefit and an annual Carer's Support Grant. Click here to find out more about these supports.

MS Ireland have hosted some webinars which have a focus on financial issues. you can click on either of the below to watch. 

Mortgages, Life Assurance and Pensions

Unspeakable Bits - Money Matters