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24/10/2021

Know Your Rights — your questions answered

Helpful advice for issues faced by older people from the Citizens Information Service

Know Your Rights — your questions answered

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I’m looking for some simple information on first steps after a bereavement for my sister who has been widowed. Can you recommend an appropriate resource?

Bereavement can be overwhelming and your sister may be going through many different emotions. The Citizens Information Board (CIB) has published a booklet that may be of help to your sister at this difficult time.

Bereavement — A practical guide (pdf) answers questions she may have about accessing money, getting help with funeral expenses, dealing with her loved one’s estate, and other practical issues she may be worried about. It has information on dealing with the loss of a loved one during Covid-19, as well as contact details for a range of support services available to those who have been bereaved.

You can get the guide online at citizensinformation board.ie. You can also get a printed copy from your local Citizens Information Centre. 

You can get more information about any of the topics covered in the booklet on citizensinformation.ie.

The website has detailed information on practical arrangements after a death, and all of the latest information on death and bereavement during Covid-19.

I have to retire at 65, and can’t claim my State pension until I’m 66. What can I do?

Many people, under their contract of employment, must retire at 65. However, State pensions are not paid until you are 66.

If you retire at 65, you may be able to get a new social welfare benefit. This is paid until you reach 66 and can claim a State pension. It is similar to Jobseeker’s Benefit, but you don’t need to be looking for work or sign on at your local Intreo centre. It is only available to people aged 65.

To qualify for this benefit, you must have stopped work, be living in Ireland and meet the social insurance (PRSI) conditions.

If you were an employee, you must have paid at least 39 PRSI contributions at Class A, H or P or have credited contributions in the governing contribution year — this is the second last complete tax year before the year you claim.  You must also have paid at least 104 PRSI contributions at Class A, H or P (or at least 156 PRSI contributions at Class S).

If you were self-employed, you must have paid 52 PRSI self-employment contributions at Class S in the governing contribution year and have paid at least 156 PRSI contributions at Class S (or at least 104 PRSI contributions at Class A or H).

You can take up a course provided you inform the Department of Social Protection. You can also continue in subsidiary employment.

You can claim for an adult dependant and any dependent children.

You will continue to get credited contributions while you are on the payment — these can count towards your State pension.

The quickest way to apply for the scheme is through MyWelfare.ie. You can also email forms@welfare.ie to get a paper application posted to you. 

You can read more about this new payment for people who retire at 65 on citizensinformation.ie.

I clicked on a link in a text message that turned out to be a scam. What should I do next?

Scams target people of all ages and backgrounds. Scams are about tricking you into parting with your money and are becoming more and more sophisticated and difficult to spot.

If you suspect you’ve been scammed you should act immediately:

l Stop all contact with the scammer

l Do not send any more payments

l If you paid by credit or debit card, tell your bank or card provider immediately

l Report the incident to your local Garda station — scamming is a criminal matter

l Gather any records you have about the scam (emails or other communications)

l Protect your devices by resetting your passwords and update your anti-virus software

l Report the incident to consumer protection agencies such as the CPCC, for advice and to help stop other people being caught in the same scam.

You may be able to get your money back depending on what happened and how you paid the scammer.

You may get your money back if you:

l Notice money has been taken from your account without your authorisation, and you contact your bank immediately.  In most circumstances, your bank must refund you for an unauthorised payment.

l Bought something from a scammer with your debit card, credit card or PayPal. You can ask your bank or credit provider to reverse the transaction through a process known as a chargeback.

It’s unlikely you will get your money back if you:

l Paid by bank transfer. It can be harder to get money back, but the sooner you contact your bank the better.

l Paid by money transfer services such as MoneyGram, Pay Point or Western Union.

l Paid by vouchers or gift card

To protect yourself in future, you should not share your personal information if you don’t know who you are dealing with.  Trust your instinct and always ask yourself ‘is it safe?’

You can read more about how to protect yourself from scams on citizensinformation.ie. We also have information on new scam warnings.

Can my daughter use my Disabled Person’s Parking Permit if she is going to the shops for me?

A Disabled Person’s Parking Permit (also called EU Parking Card) is only issued to a person with a disability. The permit shows the name and photograph of the person it has been issued to. Your daughter cannot use your Disabled Person’s Parking Permit unless you are with her.

Only you can use it. However, you can use your permit for any vehicle you are travelling in, either as a driver or as a passenger. This means that if you are being driven at different times by different people you can bring the parking permit and display it in whichever vehicle you are using. So, if your daughter is driving you, she can use it to park her car in a disabled person’s parking space.

The permit allows you to use the public parking spaces assigned for vehicles being used by a person with a disability. These spaces or parking bays have the wheelchair symbol painted on the ground or have a sign with the wheelchair symbol displayed. Most accessible parking bays are located near amenities such as shops, post offices and schools.

Car parking spaces with the wheelchair symbol are usually wider than most other car parking spaces to allow drivers or passengers with a disability to get from their car seat to their wheelchair. If you travel to any EU country with your parking permit you can park in a disabled person’s parking space or bay.

The Disabled Person’s Parking Permit is administered by the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI) and the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA). Both organisations provide detailed information on how to use and apply for the Disabled Person’s Parking Permit. In Ireland, an EU parking permit is issued for two years. 

I was in hospital recently and I was not happy with my experience there. When I complained to the nurse in charge I wasn’t satisfied with the response. How can I take my complaint further?

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has a complaints system, called Your Service Your Say, that you can use to make a complaint about your experience of a service provided by the HSE or on behalf of the HSE.

If you want to make a complaint about a public hospital to the HSE, you can get support from the Patient Advocacy Service to help you make your complaint.

The Patient Advocacy Service is fully independent of the HSE. It is a free and confidential service that can provide you with information to support you to make a formal complaint about an experience you have had in a public acute hospital.

The Patient Advocacy Service provides support by phone helpline, on 0818 293003, and on its website, patient advocacyservice.ie. You can also email info@ patientadvocacyservice.ie.

The service can explain how to make a formal complaint, including what you should include in your complaint and how to write it.

If there is a delay with the processing of the complaint or if you are not satisfied with the outcome, the Patient Advocacy Service can give you information about your options.

If you have a question about the Patient Advocacy Service, but you are not looking for information or support in relation to the care you have experienced, you can submit a contact form on its website.

Citizens Information Centres are currently not open to drop-in callers. You can contact your local centre by phone or email for information and advice.Information Officers are available to you at your local Citizens Information Service — Newbridge CIC Telephone: 0761 07 8300 newbridge@citinfo.ie - Maynooth CIC Telephone: 0761078100 maynooth@citinfo.ie

You can also get information and advice from: The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm. our national call back service: Visit  citizensinformation.ie/call back to request a phone call from an Information Officer.

A limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

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