What do you need to know? Our Resources cover everything from managing a spinal cord injury to travel, entitlements and holidays. If you do not find the answer to your query here contact SII on or phone 01-2355317

Hardship Scheme

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.


Am I entitled to Occupational Therapy / Physiotherapy in the community?

Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy are classified as community care services. In general, medical card holders are entitled to community care services free of charge. There may be a waiting list for these services.

Non-medical card holders may be entitled but it is not always possible. If you are a non-medical card holder and hold insurance, some services may be covered by your insurer. Always check with your provider first.

Please note that rules about which community care services must be provided vary for different areas. In some cases, the HSE is obliged to provide services while, in others, the HSE has discretion about whether to make the service available or not.

If you are having difficulty accessing a community care service in your area, please contact your SII Community Outreach Officer who will help you find a solution.

Your Health Office

Your Local Health Office or GP is your entry point to community health and personal social services. Services that are provided through health offices include:

  • GP Services
  • Public Health Nursing
  • Child Health Services
  • Community Welfare
  • Chiropody
  • Opthalmic
  • Speech Therapy
  • Social Work
  • Addiction Counselling and Treatment
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Psychiatric Services
  • Home Help

A list and explanation of community care services that may be available to you can be found here

A list of HSE Local Health Offices can be found here

If you are having difficulty accessing any of the services above you can contact your HSE Access Officer, a list of which can be found here

Medical Card Entitlement

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.

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

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

If you would like a paper copy to be sent to you in the post, please contact our Information Officer on / 01 2355317

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.

The Drugs Payment Scheme

Under the Drugs Payment Scheme, an individual or family in Ireland does not have to pay more than €144 per month for approved prescribed drugs, medicines and certain appliances. You should apply for this if you have a GP visit card or you do not have a Medical Card. You can find out more information or apply for this on Your SII Support Worker can also help you with this process.

The 12 Item Medical List

This is available to people on the Drugs Payment Scheme.

The 12 Item List contains items that people with SCI are entitled to if needed through the Hardship Scheme (although please note that the Hardship Scheme may not be available in some health areas).

Members who do not have a medical card are also entitled to the items through the Drugs Payment Scheme. The items currently on the list are as follows:

  1. K.Y. Jelly
  2. Glycerine Suppositories
  3. Incontinence sheets (for manual evacuation only)
  4. Non Sterile Disposable Gloves
  5. Wipes
  6. Urethral Catheter
  7. All Silicone Urethral Catheter
  8. Urinary Incontinence Sheath (urinary condom drainage)
  9. Leg Bags
  10. Overnight Drainage Bags (2 litre)
  11. Strapping
  12. Gauze Dressing

If you are on the Drugs Payment Scheme and not receiving the 12 items, you need to notify us here at SII and we will notify the Drugs Payment Board. The Drugs Payment Board will send you a form to complete and return. Your pharmacist will then be notified that you are entitled to the items on the list as part of the Drugs Payment Scheme. Please note that entitlement to these items is part of the €144 on the drugs payment scheme. If your total monthly pharmacy bill does not amount to €144 you will not receive these items free of charge. Please contact your SII Community Outreach Officer or / 01 2355317 if you would like more information.

Spinal Injuries Ireland,
Unit G3,
Pottery Business Centre,
Pottery Road,
Dun Laoghaire,
Co. Dublin,

Tel: +353-1-6532180