Some 500,000 self-employed people will be able to access free dental benefits for the first time this week, as the Department of Social Protection introduces a measure signalled in last October’s budget. The self-employed can also look forward to a free eye test every 2 years and a contribution of €42 towards glasses.
The move means that the self-employed who were previously excluded from receiving a free annual check-up with their dentist or a free eye check, on the grounds that they paid a different category of PRSI, will now be entitled to it. Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar signed the enabling legislation last week, and the scheme is due to commence from this week, March 27th.
The Government also signalled in last October’s budget the re-introduction of an annual scale and polish treatment, which was discontinued in 2010, and protracted periodontal treatment, where this is clinically required. Speaking in the Dáil last week, Mr Varadkar said the re-introduction of the free annual scale and polish and protracted periodontal treatment will occur from October 2017.
People with the required PRSI contribution history paying Class S contribution will be qualified to receive the benefits under the scheme.
The change will be welcomed by professional artists in Ireland, many of whom are registered as self-employed. Artists registered as self-employed can avail of Artists Tax Exemption (See VAI article on Tax and Self Employment for Artists).