MS can come with many costs. We have pulled together some information on tax credits, reliefs and exemptions that may be relevant to you or your loved ones, to help you to navigate this space. Supporting evidence – such as medical certificates are required. The information provided in this piece has come from www.revenue.ie as well as Inclusion Ireland and Citizens Information, and is correct at the time of writing (January 2017).
It is important to note: Claims for repayment of tax must be made within 4 years after the end of the year for which the claim is being made. For example claims relating to 2016 must be claimed by December 31st 2020.
Blind Person’s Tax Credit
This credit of €1,650 may be claimed by anyone who is regarded as blind. Revenue state the following conditions must be met in order to claim this credit;
‘To qualify for the tax credit you or your spouse or civil partner must have impaired vision to the extent that:
Supporting evidence is required to claim this credit – a medical certificate provided by an eye specialist must state the degree of vision loss, as well as stating whether the vision loss is permanent or temporary. In cases where the vision loss is temporary – a new medical certificate must be submitted for each year the tax credit is claimed.
For further information on how to apply, and for the relevant claim form, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/credits/blind-credit.html
Deed of Covenant
This legal agreement is made between two individuals, where one agrees to pay the other an amount of money without any benefit in return. As long as a Deed of Covenant is properly drawn up in favour of a person who is permanently incapacitated, tax relief is available. Please note that parents cannot covenant to a permanently incapacitated child under the age of 18.
For further information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it7.html
Dependent Relative Tax Credit
This tax credit of €70 can be claimed by a taxpayer who maintains:
For more information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/credits/dependent-relative.html
Employed person taking care of an Incapacitated Individual
This relief can be claimed in respect of the cost of employing a person (including a person whose services are provided by or through an agency) to take care of either:
This allowance of up to €75,000 may be claimed by one family member or divided among a number of family members if they are contributing towards the cost.
For further information, visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it47.html
Home Carer’s Tax Credit
A Home Carer’s tax credit is available for married couples where one spouse works in the home caring for;
The tax credit has a value of €1,100 for carers with an income up to €7,200 (or €5,800 for years up to and including 2015).
For more information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/credits/home-carers.html
Health/Medical Expenses Tax relief
This tax relief can be claimed on the claimant’s own behalf or on behalf of another person whom the claimant has paid medical expenses.
Relief may be claimed on expenses including the following;
Costs incurred in provision of a wheelchair or wheelchair lift – excluding alterations to buildings (it may be useful to view information on the Housing Adaption Grant for People with Disabilities – from your local Council).
For a full list of expenses which are eligible for tax relief, and for further information on how to apply, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it6.html
Incapacitated Child Tax Credit
A parent or guardian of a child who became permanently incapacitated before the age of 21, or while she or he was in full-time education, may apply for this tax credit of €3,300.
For further information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/credits/incapacitated-child-credit.html
Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT)
If you have savings in a financial institution such as a bank, building society, credit union or post office, tax at is deducted on the interest. This is called Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT). An individual, their spouse or civil partner, who is permanently incapacitated, may be entitled to exemption from DIRT or to a DIRT refund.
For more information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/dirt/leaflets/de2.html
Lump Sum payments can be exempt where paid by an employer because of injury or disability. To qualify for relief, the payment must be made on account of injury or disability of the holder of the office or employment and the disability must be the cause of termination of employment.
For more information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it21.html#section3
Special Trusts for Permanently Incapacitated Individuals
Special tax treatment applies on income arising following the creation of a trust whose funds have arisen as a result of public subscription raised on behalf of an individual or individuals who are permanently and totally incapacitated. Contact your Revenue office for further information.
For further information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/personal/circumstances/disability-information.html
Universal Social Charge (USC)
People who hold a full medical card and who’s total yearly income is below €60,000 may have a reduced rate of USC. Payments and income from the Department of Social Protection already subjected to DIRT are exempt from USC.
For more information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/usc/
Medical Expenses of Incapacitated Persons
An exemption on inheritance tax is in place for gifts or inheritances taken by an individual who is permanently incapacitated - to meet their medical expenses (such as nursing home care).
For more information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it6.html
VAT repayment can be claimed on the purchase of some special aids and appliances such as walk-in baths and hoists. Individuals who purchase an aid or appliance for a disabled person can claim a VAT refund.
For more information please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it12.html
Drivers and Passengers with Disabilities
A number of tax reliefs may be claimed by persons with disabilities on the purchase of motor vehicles including VAT and VRT refunds or for the adaption of a vehicle.
“Relief is available for the following applicant types, depending on the level of vehicle adaptation and is subject to a maximum amount of relief…
Drivers with a Disability
Passengers with a disability/family member of a passenger with a disability
More information on the range of tax reliefs which can be applied can be found in ‘DRIVERS AND PASSENGERS WITH DISABILITIES ORGANISATIONS TAX RELIEF SCHEME’, which may be found on the website http://www.revenue.ie/en/personal/circumstances/disability-information.html#section3
Further information on these tax reliefs, credits and exemptions and how to apply, can be found on www.revenue.ie or by calling Revenue’s LoCall numbers:
Border Midlands West Region: Call 1890 777 425
Cavan, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Westmeath
Dublin Region: Call 1890 333 425
Dublin (City and County)
East & South East Region: Call 1890 444 425
Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Meath, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow
South West Region: Call 1890 222 425
Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick
Dublin Neurological Institute are running a free course for carers of people with neurological conditions in September. This course is designed to help carers feel less isolated and helpless. Topics to be covered will include dealing and managing changes in your life, medication management, services in the community, information on entitlements, the Assisted Decision Making Capacity Act and the emotional impact of coping with a neurological disease. The education programme commences on 6th September at 6.30pm in the Nurse Education Centre, Nelson Street, Dublin 7 and there will be four sessions in total. The other sessions will be on 13th, 20th and 27th September. The course is free but pre-booking is essential. To book or make enquiries, please call Regina Prenderville on 01 854 5172.Leave message on voicemail and your call will be returned.Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information is available in this leaflet. Please note this programme is not being run by MS Ireland. Any enquiries should be directed to the organisers.
This week from the MS & Me archives series Willeke Van Eeckhoutte discusses people waiting, wondering, dreading, hoping from the Neurology waiting room. It is not fair. Nobody deserves to be here. Nobody is ever prepared to hear what the stranger in front of them has to say. A neurologist looks at your test results, gazing, thinking. Do they wonder how they will tell you that from this minute onwards, your life will be different, that you will have to change your lifestyle to suit your new, closest and most annoying illness, that your body had betrayed you? People with neurological illnesses walk in and out. Often their illness seem larger than what they perceive themselves to be. For the ones sitting, waiting by themselves, without someone accompanying them, time goes slow. For the ones waiting with their boyfriends, spouses, parents, time is gentler. They talk about fears, or they talk about anything but the reason why they’re there. For me, MS will always be a lonely illness because I am the first in my family who has it. It hampers, harms and sets boundaries where I want none. It shows me that people are vulnerable, open to inner destruction of a central nervous system gone wrong. For me, it is love, friendship, knowledge and joy. It made me who I am today, strong, with the will to live fully. I will not falter, go into self-destruct. I will not go where I am not supposed to go. Stood at my own six feet under in 2008 and I returned. It wasn’t time yet. Waiting room fills with familiar faces with MS… harmed but alive, dreaming and hoping. One day neurology waiting rooms will be empty, MS cured and eradicated. Lives back to the way they used to be. Love. Friendship. Healthy. It is not a dream. It will be reality Please don't forget to check out Willeke's blog Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis and Me if you want to read more. Originally published May 2014 from the Neurology waiting room in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin
Expert Reference Group developing clinical guidelines for the access programme In February, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) released a report which recommended the establishment of an access programme for medicinal cannabis products for certain named conditions including spasticity associated with MS. MS Ireland cautiously welcomed the HPRA report, whilst still expressing concern that the efficacy, safety and quality of non-pharmaceutical products cannot be guaranteed. MS Ireland nonetheless recognises that many people with MS will welcome the opportunity to be able to legally access such products through the access programme, when it is established. Since February, work has been ongoing to establish the programme. The Department of Health convened an Expert Reference Group, comprising of representation from the areas of Oncology, Palliative care, Anaesthesiology, General Practice, Adult Neurology, Paediatric Neurology, Multiple Sclerosis, Psychiatry, Pharmacy, Patients, Ethics, Health Technology Assessment and the Health Products Regulator. The Expert Reference Group have been working on draft clinical guidance for the cannabis access programme. MS Ireland were invited to provide feedback on these guidelines. A summary of our response is below. MS Ireland will keep all our stakeholders updated on any further developments regarding the access programme. Read the summary of our response here
This week from the MS & Me archives series - Helen Farrell looks at her smartphone use... I have a confession to make; quite often my smartphone gets more of my attention than my husband does, and it is a mutual situation with both of us tapping away in the evening as we read what has happened for friends on Facebook or the like. Years ago I was an avid fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation. In one episode the crew was taken over by a device that had a game so addictive, they were unable to break free of playing it obsessively (“The Game”). Only a young crew member and his friend were able to realise the evil hold the game had on them and free the crew of it. I am reminded of the episode when I find us tapping away on our smartphones, staring at the screens and ignoring each other and the television as we dual-screen to our hearts’ delight. How has this device such power over us? For information-addicts like me, it is a constant source of learning, entertainment, escapism and more. When I think back about what I did during periods of boredom in the past, I remember reading the back of cereal packets, propping up books as I ate, bringing books everywhere with me for a few minutes of escape. My smartphone obsession is probably no different than how I used to behave. However, I notice I am not as relaxed when reading material online. So much to keep up with! So little time! Books are a much more mindful experience and gentle on the eyes. I am now re-cultivating my paper-based reading and it truly does give a greater feeling of relaxation than browsing constantly on my smartphone. Which brings me to a new phrase that I recently learned of, “Sleep Procrastination”? Unfortunately, I have always been prone to the ordinary type of procrastination, relying on the stress of flying by the seat of my pants to wing me through on far too many occasions, although I am improving a little with age! Sleep Procrastination refers to putting off bedtime, or rather, sleeping, in order to read – and it is mostly refers to online reading. It is the cause of sleep deprivation, poorer mental health, weight gain and all manner of bad things. You can read more about it here, but suffice to say we really need to turn off that smartphone or whatever is keeping you up, and prioritise our sleep! Us MS’er’s are already prone to poorer sleep and greater amounts of insomnia, so why are we letting these devices dictate our lights-out time? Just do it! Turn the light off earlier tonight, and you will feel better for it, I promise. Used to our advantage smartphones are wonderful things. I have never found MS-tracking apps useful. All they do is to focus my attention on my MS, and that is the last thing I want to do. It already gets far too much of my time, my life and my energy. But there are a load of apps that I DO find useful and they have improved my level of mindfulness and calm. I have an android device and I favour apps that have a low amount of permission requests (for security reasons) and are free from the Play Store. My favourites are: The Pedometer app is great for showing me when I am starting to slow down. It can track Kmph as well as the normal step count. Not only does it encourage me to keep trying to walk as much as I can manage, if I see my speed dropping it can alert me to a possible need for more rest, or an upcoming relapse. OMM is a cute little 1-minute meditation app that is great for people who are useless at meditation like me. I find I am more likely to do a 1-minute exercise regularly than commit to a longer session. The Mindfulness Bell is great for centering yourself, taking a moment to relax and breathe properly. You can set it to ring at different times, different frequencies; just don’t forget about it heading into a work meeting like I did! Another night I went out walking and I had looked up at a full moon with the clouds racing above me, just as I was about to pass the creepy spot where 2 thieves had been hung in the 1800’s for a violent robbery and the mindfulness bell tolled loudly, making me jump out of my skin! ‘Vowel Please!’ is a Countdown-alike app that’s good for exercising the oul’ grey matter and winding down from all the monkey-mind thoughts and worries whirling around our heads. Whenever a new technology is introduced people tend to fret about it. Some people wrote warning articles in Victorian Britain about the speed of railways and how our health would suffer to travel so much faster than natural horsepower. Microwaves would be capable of frying our brains, destroying our fertility, adulterating our food, frying our fertility. Did these things happen? We can recognise panic in the face of technological advancement, but can we equally recognise when we have become obsessive about being used by a device, rather than using it for our advancement and entertainment? It is up to us to make sure that we are using smartphones to our benefit, rather than them having the power. Let me know what you think of smartphones; good or bad? Do you have any favourite apps? Originally published August 2016
Request from researchers at University of Augusta, US You're invited to participate in this survey exploring the impact, if any, of health literacy on emotional health in people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). The purpose of this survey is to help clinicians and health educators determine whether a person's knowledge of MS can promote well-being. It will take about 25-45 minutes to complete, depending on how many symptoms of MS you are experiencing. In addition to basic demographic, MS-related health, and emotional health questions, the survey asks about your knowledge of interventions for managing MS symptoms, your beliefs about MS, and how you educate yourself about MS. This research will be used to improve health education for the multiple sclerosis community as well as to raise awareness of multiple sclerosis health issues. Read more about the purpose of the research and complete the questionnaire below:
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