What is a medical card?

If you have a medical card issued by the Health Service Executive (HSE) you can receive certain health services free of charge. Normally, your dependent spouse or partner and your children are also covered for the same range of health services.

To qualify for a medical card, your weekly income must be below a certain figure for your family size. Cash income, savings, investments and property (except for your own home) are taken into account in the means test.

As a person with a spinal cord injury, you are not automatically entitled to a medical card.

To qualify for a medical card your weekly income must be below a certain figure for your family size. All assets are included in the assessment including cash income, savings, investments, property and any settlement you may have received as a result of your spinal cord injury.

What am I entitled to with a medical card?

If you have a medical card you are currently entitled to the following:

  • Free GP services
  • Prescribed drugs and medicines
  • In-patient public hospital services, out-patient services and medical appliances.
  • Dental, optical and aural services
  • Maternity and infant care services
  • Public health nursing, social work services and some community care services.
  • 8 counselling sessions with a professionally qualified and accredited Counsellor / Therapist

* To avail of the 8 free counselling sessions, referral must be made by your GP to the Counselling in Primary Care Service.


How do I apply for a medical card?

If you are entitled to a medical card it is likely that while in hospital, your Social Worker will have submitted this application with you. If your circumstances have changed or this did not happen, you can apply online for a medical card at www.medicalcard.ie 

This is the quickest method of obtaining the card.

Or you can download a medical card application from the Citizens Information website:

f you would like a paper copy to be sent to you in the post, please contact our Information Officer on Info@spinalinjuries.ie / (01) 653 2180 or your local SII Community Officer.

If you are refused a medical card, the process of appeal will be outlined in the refusal letter.

If you are not happy with the outcome of the assessment, it is very important to begin the process of appeal quickly. Please contact your SII Community Outreach Officer if you would like assistance with this process.

What is the Hardship scheme?

The Hardship Scheme is available to people with a medical card. This allows you to access prescribed medical supplies, that are not directly available through the medical card.To access the scheme you must ring your Local Health Office for a form. Your doctor or consultant needs to complete the form to confirm what you need in terms of extra medical items. This should then be stamped and sent back.Unfortunately, SII has been informed by the HSE that Health Offices are not obliged to fund this scheme and will only do so if they have the funds to. Some parts of the country don’t have the funds for this.

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