Wheelchair Eligibility in Ireland: Claiming Taxes and Expenses on Your Wheelchair
There are an estimated forty thousand wheelchair users living in Ireland and many are unsure about the tax and expenses they can claim for equipment relating to their disability. Buying a wheelchair can be very expensive which is why it is a wise idea to find out whether you are eligible for a free wheelchair or can claim money back on a wheelchair you have already purchased. If you are disabled, it is important you make sure you are getting the best possible financial support for any equipment you require. There are three main options for financing your wheelchair.
Obtaining a Wheelchair for Free in Ireland
The first and best possible option for those with mobility problems is to obtain a wheelchair for free. This is feasible in Ireland for anyone with an HSE (Health Service Executive) medical card or anyone who is part of the HSE Long-Term Illness Scheme. Irish residents with either of these are entitled to a free wheelchair. Furthermore, if you have a medical card or are part of the Long-Term Illness Scheme, the HSE can provide you with other free equipment that is required to help ease daily life with a disability.
You may also qualify for a free wheelchair through the HSE if you are having hospital treatment which requires a wheelchair. To find out whether you are eligible for a free wheelchair without a medical card or if you are not a participant of the Long-Term Illness Scheme, contact the HSE (HSE.ie).
The equipment supplied through the HSE must be medically justified by a clinician and this can sometimes limit the budget and accessories that can make all the difference to the look of the wheelchair.
Claiming Wheelchair Expenses Through Health Insurance
If you cannot obtain a wheelchair for free with the HSE, it is important that you explore other financing options. Many health insurance companies in Ireland allow you to reclaim the cost of a wheelchair or any other necessary equipment for your disability. The best way to find out whether your private health insurance will allow you to claim on a wheelchair purchase is to contact them and find out if you qualify to make a claim.
In some cases, depending on your circumstances, you can get the full cost of your wheelchair back. If this is not possible, you may also be able to reclaim part of the cost, so it is extremely worthwhile enquiring with your insurance company. Make sure you give your health insurance company accurate details of your disability and wheelchair purchase.
Purchase privately, VAT free.
The third option is to purchase your wheelchair privately from personal funds. It is worth noting that any wheelchairs purchased in Ireland are exempt from VAT. If, however you do purchase a disability aid that has 21% VAT this can be claimed back. You can find out what equipment is eligible for a tax claim. The VAT 61A highlights eligible goods as products such as drinking and eating aids, walk-in baths, hoists, and stairlifts. Products that you hire rather than purchasing cannot be submitted for a VAT refund.
You can make a claim for VAT back on disability aids by submitting a tax form, which can be found online at revenue. The tax form you will need to submit is called the VAT 61A. To be qualified to receive a tax refund from Revenue for you must be a resident of Ireland, have a disability and be claiming on an item that you needed to help with your disability. Any tax forms that are submitted will require you to show proof of receipt, with the VAT included, so make sure that you have these ready in order to obtain your tax refund.
If you are in doubt as to whether you are eligible for a free wheelchair, or a claim on expenses then be sure you enquire with the relevant party. They will be happy to help.