Getting other assistance with caring

An important element of caring is ensuring that the person cared for has the best quality of life possible through enhanced independence and dignity. Technical aids and appliances, as well as the right modifications to the home and accessible transport, are all vital elements in independent living.

There are a number of assistance schemes in place to help carers adapt their home to suit an incapacitated person, and to enable disabled and elderly people to become more mobile and independent.

Refund of VRT and VAT on Disabled Person’s Vehicle

Severely and permanently disabled persons are entitled to repayment of Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) paid on specially constructed or modified vehicles. Repayment of VRT and VAT is not available on a leased vehicle. The scheme may also apply to an adapted vehicle for use by the person with the disability as a passenger.

An Original Primary Medical Certificate from the local health board must be provided confirming that the person’s disability falls within the rules. These generally require that the person is wholly or almost wholly without the use of both legs, or without the use of both hands or arms. Other categories of disability are also included. The completed Form is returned to the Revenue Commission in Co. Monaghan and if they are satisfied, a Letter of Authorisation is issued to the person exempting them from VRT.

On receipt of the completed application form, invoice for the cost of the vehicle and cost of adaptation and Vehicle Registration Certificate (or log book), VRT and VAT will be refunded.

The vehicle must not be disposed of within 24 months.

Fuel Repayment Scheme

Excise Duty paid on fuel actually used in the disabled driver’s vehicle may be repaid, up to an annual limit of 2728 litres (600 gallons). Claims are made every four months.

Disabled Person’s Parking Card

The person with the disability may park their vehicle at parking meters, in disk parking areas and designated areas. The card, once issued to the person with the disability, can be carried with them and allows their own car, or a car in which they are a passenger, to be parked.

Driving Lessons

People with disabilities can get driving lessons at specialist driving schools at the Disabled Drivers Association and the Irish Wheelchair Association.

Health Board Grant Towards a Vehicle

If you as a person with a disability need a grant towards buying and or adapting a vehicle to enable you to take up work, you may get a grant from the local health board. The grant is subject to a mean’s test.

Contact:

Disabled Drivers Section, Revenue Commissioners

FREEPOST

Coolshannagh

Monaghan

Co Monaghan

Tel: (047) 82800

Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland

Ballindine

Co Mayo

Tel: (094) 64266/64054.

Irish Wheelchair Association

Blackhealth Drive

Clontarf

Dublin 3.

Tel: (01) 8338241.

NRB — National Rehabilitation Board

NRB is the statutory agency for people with disabilities. The Disability Resource Centre of the NRB offers a wide range of information on equipment for people with disabilities.

NRB has permanent displays of lifts, ramps, hoists, bathroom and kitchen accessories and other equipment. You can try these out on the premises.

Wheelchair Keys - NRB makes available keys to toilets for people with disabilities.

Contact:

National Disability Resource Centre

44 North Great George’s Street

Dublin 1.

Tel: (01) 8747503

Email: nrbdrc@nrb.iol.ie

Orthopaedic Boots and Shoes

For children under 18 years of age, two pairs of orthopaedic boots or shoes are paid for annually to people with medical cards or on the long term illness scheme.

Children over 18 years qualify for one pair annually. These are supplied on prescription from your orthopaedic surgeon.

Contact:

Irish Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus

Old Nangor Road,

Clondalkin

Dublin 22.

Tel: (01) 4572326.

Hearing Aids

Hearing testing and the fitting and repair of hearing aids are services provided by the National Rehabilitation Board (NRB), although these services are being transferred to the health services. Advice and information on hearing difficulties are also provided. Services are targeted to school children and adults with medical cards.

Contact:- Audiology Services, NRB, 25 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. Tel (01) 6684181.

Adapting/Extending Your Home

You may have to adapt your home or build on an extension to make it more accessible for a frail older person or a person with a disability. The Local Authority Disabled Persons Grant Scheme covers up to 90 % of the cost of the works to private houses. The maximum grant is €23,800. The work must be done by a building contractor who is registered for VAT and has a C2 certificate.

If you live in local authority housing, you can have the work done by your local authority or have suitable alternative accommodation provided.

Shared Ownership Scheme

If you have difficulty in raising a mortgage to buy your home, you may qualify for the Shared Ownership Scheme of your local authority. In the early stages, you agreed to buy a share of the house rather that the full amount. You must be at least a 40 % share, with the local authority owning the remaining share. You pay off your house loan from the local authority on the share you own. You also rent the remaining share from the local authority.

If your income is low enough, you may qualify for a subsidy from the local authority towards the rent. Interest on the loan on your share of the house can be set off against your income tax in the normal way. You do not have to pay stamp duty and the deposit is small (usually €1270). Legal fees are also very low.

Over the period of the scheme (usually up to 25 years), you buy back the remaining share of the house.

Contact: Department of the Environment, Tel (01) 6793377 or your local authority.

In addition to the first-time grant for a new house, you may be able to claim a VAT refund from the Revenue Commission for special equipment such as stair-lifts and handrails.

Insulation and Draught Proofing

Energy Action can provide a free draught proofing and home insulation service to some older people in need of care at home.

Contact:

Energy Action

IDA Unit 16

Newmarket

Dublin 8.

Tel: (01) 4545464.

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