ALMOST 80,000 young workers will benefit from an expansion of the Treatment Benefit Scheme this week, as those aged 25-28 can now benefit from State-supported dental, optical and aural treatments after nine months of working, rather than five years.
Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, announced a revamp of the scheme which provides dental, optical and aural services to insured employees, the self-employed and retired people.
People who qualify can avail of a range of free and part-funded treatments, along with their dependent spouse, civil partner or co-habitant.
Supports include a free annual dental check-up and €42 towards a scale and polish or periodontal treatment once a year, a free eyesight test every two years and a grant towards glasses or contact lenses, and grants for hearing aids and repairs every four years.
To date, those aged 25-28 had to be in employment for five years to qualify for State supports, and have made 260 PRSI contributions.
From today, this has been reduced to nine months of work, or 39 PRSI contributions.
The measure will benefit almost 80,000 young people. Announcing the measure, Minister Humphreys said that the change is “about ensuring our young workers have easier access to vital supports under the Treatment Benefit scheme”.
“Previously, a young worker in this cohort would have to clock up PRSI contributions over a five-year period. That’s now reduced to nine months – and demonstrates our desire to support our young professionals when it comes to dental, optical or aural treatment,” she said.
“The Treatment Benefit scheme is the Department’s largest individual scheme in terms of claims with over 1.4 million processed and paid in 2021. I am delighted to extend the scheme to benefit more workers, particularly our younger cohort, and I would urge all who have an entitlement to make sure they get the full benefit from their PRSI contributions,” she added.