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Drug Payments Scheme and Tax Assistance

Drug Payment Scheme (DPS)

This is an important new scheme that covers families and individuals for the cost of their prescribed medication. Under the DPS, no individual or family will have to pay more than €144 in any calendar month for approved prescribed drugs, medicines and appliances for use by that person or his/her family in that month.

Family expenditure covers the nominated adult, his/her spouse (including a person with whom he/she is living as husband or wife) and children under 18 years. Dependants over 18 years and under the age of 23 years who are in full time education may also be included. A dependant with a physical disability or a mental handicap or illness who cannot maintain himself/herself fully, who is ordinarily resident in the family home and who does not hold a current medical card, may be included in the family expenditure under this Scheme regardless of age.

All those who are ordinarily resident in Ireland are eligible to apply for the DPS providing they do not hold a current medical card. You can use the Drugs Payment Scheme with a Long Term Illness Book.

Persons who wish to apply for the DPS scheme must complete the necessary application form. The necessary forms are available from the pharmacy. Once completed the application form must be returned to :

Eastern Health Board
Old County Road
Dublin 12


Tax Relief


Tax relief is available in Ireland for premiums paid for health insurance and for long-term care insurance. The insurance company grants this tax relief at source.

If you incur medical expenses that are not covered by the State or by insurance, you may claim tax relief on some of those expenses. These expenses include the costs involved in nursing home care. Read more about tax relief on nursing home fees and for dependant relatives here.


Who can you claim medical expenses for?

You can claim medical expenses incurred for:

  • Yourself or your spouse
  • Your own child (or any other child of whom you have custody and you maintain at your own expense) under 18 years of age, or if over 18 years is receiving full-time education
  • A child for whom you are granted Incapacitated Child Tax Credit.

You may also claim for any other person who is:

  • A relative of yours or your spouse who is incapacitated by old age or infirmity from maintaining himself or herself
  • Your widowed mother or father (or that of your spouse) whether or not they are incapacitated
  • Your son or daughter who resides with you and on whose services you must depend due to old age and infirmity

Health Insurance Tax Credit

If you are a member of an approved private health insurance scheme, you may get a tax credit. This tax credit is granted directly by the insurance company. Your premium will be reduced by the amount of the tax credit so you will probably not even notice that you have got a tax credit. This is known as Tax Relief at Source (TRS).

This tax credit is available to all members of health insurance schemes - you do not have to be a taxpayer.

It is no longer necessary to claim this relief as it is granted automatically.

Long-term care insurance

You can now receive a tax credit in respect of payments to long-term care insurance schemes. This will operate in the same way as the health insurance tax credit.

Medical Expenses

If you spend more than a set amount on certain medical expenses, you may be able to claim tax relief. This is the case if you cannot recover the expenses from any other source. So, if you can claim from your health insurance company, you cannot get tax relief.

The medical expenses that attract tax relief are as follows:

  • Costs of doctors' and consultants' visits
  • Certain items prescribed by a doctor/consultant
  • Maintenance or treatment in a hospital or approved nursing home
  • Supply, maintenance or repair of any medical, surgical, dental or nursing appliance used on the advice of a practitioner
  • Physiotherapy or similar treatment prescribed by a practitioner
  • Orthoptic (eye treatment) or similar treatment prescribed by a practitioner
  • Hearing aids
  • Transport by ambulance
  • Kidney patients' expenses (up to a maximum amount depending on whether the patient uses hospital dialysis, home dialysis or CAPD)
  • Costs of educational psychological assessments (carried out by an educational psychologist registered with the Minister for Education and Science) for a qualifying child
  • Costs of speech and language therapy carried out by a speech and language therapist approved by the Minister for Health and Children for a qualifying child
  • Routine maternity care
  • Specialised dental treatment
  • Glucometer machine for a diabetic
  • Engaging a qualified nurse in the case of a serious illness
  • Cost of a computer where it is necessary to alleviate communication problems of a severely disabled person
  • Cost of gluten-free food for coeliacs (as this condition is generally ongoing, a letter instead of prescriptions from your family doctor stating that the individual is a coeliac is acceptable). Receipts from supermarkets in addition to receipts from chemists/pharmacies are acceptable.

The list of treatments and appliances that attract tax relief is added to from time to time. If you are undergoing a new procedure or availing of a new appliance, it is worthwhile claiming tax relief. For more information, see the Revenue information leaflet IT 6: Taxation and Medical Expenses (pdf)which is also available from your local tax office, or contact PAYE Lo-Call 1890 605090.

Nursing Home Payments

Maintenance or treatment in a hospital includes maintenance or treatment in a nursing home. If you are paying the nursing home fees, you can get the tax relief - whether you are in the nursing home yourself or you are paying for a relative to be there.

Dental and Optical Treatment

Routine ophthalmic and dental care is specifically excluded from getting tax relief. Routine dental treatment covers extractions, scaling and filling of teeth and provision and repairing of artificial teeth and dentures

The following dental treatments do qualify for tax relief:

  • Crowns
  • Veneers/Rembrant Type Etched Fillings
  • Tip Replacing
  • Gold Posts
  • Gold Inlays
  • Endodontics - Root Canal Treatment
  • Periodontal Treatment
  • Orthodontic Treatment
  • Surgical Extraction of Impacted Wisdom Teeth: this qualifies for tax relief when it is undertaken in hospital.
  • Bridgework
  • Dental Implants

Routine ophthalmic treatment covers sight testing, provision and maintenance of glasses and contact lenses.

How to apply

You do not need to do anything about health insurance or long-term care insurance tax relief as the credits are granted automatically at source (TRS).

You must apply separately for medical expenses relief. Download form MED1 (pdf format)and MED2 (pdf format) here or you can obtain these forms from your local tax office. MED 1 is used for general medical expenses and MED 2 is used for dental expenses. Your dentist will normally have a supply of MED 2 and should complete this form for you.

You may make the claim in either the year that the expense was incurred or the year in which it was paid.

This tax relief is not given in the form of a tax credit. It is granted at your marginal rate of tax. Additional information is available on the Revenue information leaflet IT 6 or from PAYE Lo Call service. Contact information for all tax offices in Ireland is also available at the front of your telephone directory.