Reforms to the PRSI system introduced this week mean that self-employed people, such as small business-owners and farmers, will for the first time be entitled to benefits under the Department of Social Protection’s Treatment Benefit Scheme.
The extension of the Treatment Benefit Scheme to self-employed people is very significant and will benefit over 12,100 people in Galway and over 6,000 in Mayo who pay the ‘S’ class PRSI contribution and in addition any dependent partners.
Following the signing of the enabling legislation by my colleague, Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, self-employed people, including small business-owners and farmers, now have access to free eye and dental examination as well as contributions towards the cost of hearing aids.
The entitlements include a free eye exam from participating opticians every two years and a free dental exam from participating dentists once a year. There is also an entitled to half the cost of a hearing aid every four years.
The introduction of these important benefits is the latest in a number of reforms to extend the benefits of the PRSI system to self-employed people alongside PAYE employees. It is part of Fine Gael’s policy of modernising and enhancing the Social Insurance System so that all workers – employed and self-employed – benefit.
Minister Varadkar has also confirmed to me that further enhancements to the Treatment Benefit Scheme will come into effect in October and will provide additional dental and optical benefits for all workers who contribute to the PRSI system.
The Treatment Benefit reforms complement other reforms including the introduction and extension of the Earned Income Tax Credit for self-employed people.