Depending on where you live, your experience of public transport will be different.
Some urban areas have excellent, regular, accessible public transport options while some smaller towns and rural areas have very limited or no options.
Some areas have transport clubs that can be both affordable and efficient but unfortunately these are not available nationwide. Your SII Community Outreach Officer can research with you to find your nearest Transport Club.
Free Travel Scheme
If you are eligible for this scheme you will receive free travel on most state owned public transport (bus, rail and LUAS). Some private bus operators also accept Free Travel cards. To find out you can check with your local DSP office.
Free travel is available if you are permanently living in the state and:
- Are getting Disability Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or an Invalidity Pension from the Department of Social Protection.
- Have been getting Incapacity Supplement or Workmen’s Compensation with Disablement Pension for at least 12 months.
- Are a specified carer for a person getting Constant Attendance Allowance or Prescribed Relatives Allowance from the Department.
- Are getting a social security invalidity payment, or similar payment, from another EU member state or from a country with which Ireland has a bilateral social security agreement for at least 12 months.
- If you are registered for a Public Services Card, you will get a Free Travel Card automatically when you are awarded an Invalidity Pension, Disability Allowance or Carer’s Allowance.
- In all other circumstances, you must apply for free travel by completing a Free Travel application form FT1. You can get this through the Free Travel Section of Social Welfare Services in Sligo. Tel: 071 915 7100 / 1890 500 000 or download an application form on www.welfare.ie
While in the NRH you may have had driving lessons and assessment as part of your rehabilitation. If not, a driving tuition service can be provided by the Irish Wheelchair Association in your local area. The IWA also offer a week long intensive residential course in Roscommon.
Where can I get a disabled persons parking permit?
The Disabled Parking Permit or Card (also known as European Parking Card or Disabled Parking Badge) is for people living in Ireland with a permanent disability, medical condition, severe mobility difficulties and to people who are registered blind, whether they are drivers or passengers.
The parking permit enables the driver or passenger to avail of an accessible parking bay on public streets and public car parks and supermarkets.
If you have a Primary Medical Cert, you are automatically eligible for the scheme. However, you must still formally apply. If you do not have a Primary Medical Certificate you can still apply but your application must be completed by a certified medical practitioner.
Applying for your Permit
To apply for the parking permit, write to either the Disabled Drivers Association (contact details at www.ddai.ie) or the Irish Wheelchair Association and enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope. The application form should be completed and certified by your doctor and countersigned by a Garda. The cost of the card is €35. Applicants that meet the required criteria will be issued a Disabled Parking Permit by post.
What is a Primary Medical Certificate?
A Primary Medical Certificate confirms that you are severely and permanently disabled and:
- Are completely or almost completely without the use of both legs or
- Are completely without the use of one of your legs and almost completely without the use of the other leg to the extent that you are severely restricted as regards movement in your legs or
- Are without both hands or both arms or
- Are without one or both legs or
- Are completely or almost completely without the use of both hands or arms and completely or almost completely without the use of one leg or
- Have the medical condition of dwarfism and serious difficulties of movement of the legs
The HSE processes applications for the Primary Medical Cert. You must apply through your Local Health Office, a list of which can be found here
If you are refused the Primary Medical Certificate and wish to appeal, you can do this through the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Rochestown Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.
Your SII Community Outreach Officer can assist you with the application and / or appeal process for the Primary Medical Cert.
Can I get a grant or assistance to buy a car?
There is a principal scheme that provides some financial support if you need to have your vehicle modified:
You can receive assistance if you meet the specified medical criteria and have obtained a Primary Medical Cert. You can apply for relief either as a driver with a disability or a passenger with a disability. There is also provision for a family member of a passenger with a disability.
Tax Relief for disabled drivers and passengers
If you are considering purchasing or adapting a vehicle for use by a disabled driver or passenger there may be tax reliefs available to you. The reliefs available are:
An exemption or repayment of vehicle registration tax (VRT)
A repayment of value-added tax (VAT) on the purchase of a vehicle
A repayment of VAT on the cost of adapting a vehicle
You can claim tax relief on a new vehicle or a used vehicle that has not been previously registered in the state.
If you purchase a previously registered used vehicle, the amount repayable will be the residual VAT contained in the value of the vehicle. However, in most cases there is no VAT payable and therefore no VAT refundable.
To apply the driver or passenger must possess a valid Primary Medical Certificate.
There are three categories of vehicles which qualify for relief.
Adapted vehicles – The VAT and VRT relief in respect of these vehicles ranges from €10,000 to €16,000.
Specifically adapted vehicles – The VAT and VRT relief in respect of these vehicles can be up to €16,000.
Extensively adapted vehicles – The VAT and VRT relief in respect of these vehicles can be up to €22,000.
As of January 2016 vehicles can have an engine size of up to 6000cc and the vehicle can be purchased either privately or from an authorised dealer.
Full details of can be found in revenue’s booklet “drivers and passengers with disabilities” which can be downloaded here.
To apply you need to complete form DD1 and send a completed copy to the Central Repayments Office along with your original primary medical certificate.
The Central Repayments Office can be contacted at:
Office of the Revenue Commissioners
M: TEK II Building
Motor Tax Exemption
If your vehicle has been admitted to the scheme you are entitled to an exemption from payment of annual road tax.
If your vehicle is new or is being registered in Ireland for the first time, the tax relief is granted when you complete and present the RF 100 form to your local motor taxation office. The RF100 form can be found on the revenue website here.
If your vehicle has previously been registered in Ireland the Central Repayments Office will issue you with a Certificate of Approval which you should present to your local motor taxation office.
A Fuel Grant
In January 2015 a new “fuel grant” replaced the previous scheme “repayment of excise duty on fuel” as part of the disabled drivers and passengers scheme.
You are no longer required to fill in Form DD3. If not already registered with Revenue’s ROS service, you will need to register with Revenue’s new online service myAccount where you can claim your fuel grant.
To register on myAccount you need your PPS number, mobile or landline number, email address and home address.
Alternatively you can contact the Revenue Commissioners, Forms & Leaflets Section on 1890 306 706 and request a paper form (FG1) or download it here.
The fuel grant will be paid directly into your bank account so you have to provide details of the account into which you wish it to be paid.
The amount of grant available is the same as the relief under the excise relief scheme. The relief applies only to fuel used in the vehicle for the actual transport of the person with the disability. The rate of grant payable per litre, up to a maximum of 2,730 litres per calendar year, is as follows:
•Petrol – €0.59
•Diesel – €0.48
•LPG – €0.10
The Department of Finance advise that no member of the scheme will lose out by these changes.
You should keep receipts for fuel purchased for 2 years, but do not have to submit them when you apply for the grant.
To make a claim for repayment of excise duty on fuel used up to 31 December 2014 you should make it using Form DD3 which can be obtained here.
More information about the Drivers and Passengers with disabilities Tax Relief Scheme can be found in the revenue booklet here.
What about the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant?
The Mobility Allowance is a means tested monthly payment payable by the HSE for people aged 16 to 66 who have a disability, are unable to work or use public transport and would benefit from a change in surroundings.
More information about the Mobility Allowance can be found on the Citizens Information website here
The Motorised Transport Grant was a means tested HSE payment for people in Ireland with disabilities who needed to buy a car. On the 26th Feb 2013 the Department of Health announced that the Mobility Allowance Scheme and Motorised Transport Grant were closed to new applicants. An alternative scheme is being devised. SII has been advised that the Department is not in a position to give absolute clarity as to the expected time frame for the introduction of a new scheme. Those already receiving the scheme continue to be paid but new applicants are not permitted. SII will provide any updates we receive in the future.