Planning for Illness in your Retirement

by | Jan 11, 2023 | Retirement & Pensions

Planning for Illness in your Retirement

in Letterkenny, Co Donegal

Older individuals facing medical issues or disabilities have a variety of payments and services at their disposal. What you are eligible for depends on your age and condition, with the Department of Social Protection being in charge (apart from some exceptions). In this article, we’ll explore the selection of services provided by them.

How can you Prepare for illness in Retirement | Advice First Financial

Income supports for older people in Letterkenny, Donegal


If you already have a pension when your health takes an unexpected turn, this will not affect the money you receive. You are still eligible to obtain all of your entitlements and continue receiving what is due to you in terms of pension payment.


As an employee, you may be eligible to receive pay from your employer if you are temporarily ill. Whether or not this is the case depends on the terms outlined in your contract of employment; some employers offer sick leave and/or sick pay regardless of age. To find out more about what rights you have regarding taking time off due to illness, you should always check with your employer.


Aged Under 66

If you fall ill prior to the age of 66 and are unable to work, then Illness Benefit may be an option for you. Your GP will have a relevant application form available, though receiving benefits is contingent upon having sufficient PRSI contributions or being employed in some capacity.



However, if your impairment arises from a work-related incident or injury, Occupational Injuries Benefit may apply instead; speak with your doctor about which category best applies to your situation.

Long-term illness and disability

If you have a chronic illness or disability which prevents you from continuing your job, you may be able to access funds from any occupational or personal pension plan that you hold. If it’s been more than one year since the onset of your disability and preventing work, then Invalidity Pension might qualify for eligibility. However, if neither of those is a valid option for whatever reason; Disability Allowance is available as a means-tested financial aid option.

If you’re eligible for Invalidity Pension or Disability Allowance, not only could you be entitled to Free Travel and the Household Benefits Package – but with Rent Supplement or Housing Assistance Payment, paying rent may no longer be a problem. Furthermore, the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme offers assistance in covering costs such as heating bills and emergency expenses.

Housing options

If your living space needs to be altered in order for you to stay there, the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability may apply to you. This grant can assist with adding an extra room or making it wheelchair accessible; furthermore, installing a ground-level bathroom and toilet is also covered by this grant. Numerous housing grants are available specifically designed for seniors and those that have disabilities. If you are an elderly person in need of home repairs, the Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme is there to help! This program can provide renovations focused on improving living conditions within your home. Additionally, the Mobility Aids Grant Scheme offers grants specifically intended to address mobility problems inside your residence.

If your current home is not suitable for you, then it may be possible to acquire a specifically altered local authority house that caters to the needs of elderly and disabled people. Similarly, these types of residences can also be provided by voluntary housing organisations in certain areas around the country – but do note that availability as well as eligibility requirements vary depending on region..

Care at home

If you are in need of care, the Health Service Executive (HSE) can furnish it to you or provide financial aid. Your caregiver may also be able to receive a payment from the Department of Social Protection for their services.

Help with home care

The Community Care Services section of the HSE provides assistance to those who need it in order to remain in their own homes. This service, formerly known as the Home Care Package Scheme, helps older individuals stay at home for as long tax relief-eligible costs permit. Additionally, public health nurses are available to provide nursing care and support if needed. So don’t let age or financial constraints get you down – with a bit of help from your local community services center, living life on your terms is still possible!

Career’s Allowance

Are you looking after someone with a disability or incapacitation? You may be eligible for Career’s Allowance, which is means-tested and granted to full-time caregivers. If your duties involve caring for multiple people, there’s an extra 50% of the maximum rate available! Not only that but if you receive this allowance, then Free Travel and Household Benefits Package are also part of the package

On top of all these benefits, those receiving Career’s Allowance can still work up to 18.5 hours per week or take education/training courses without any repercussions – how great is that!?

Half-rate Career’s Allowance

If you are receiving qualified social welfare payments and providing full-time care for another person, then not only can you keep your original payment but qualify to receive Half-rate Career’s Allowance.

Career Support Grant

Every year in June, all careers are entitled to receive the Career’s Support Grant – formerly known as Respite Care Grant. Although you may use this payment towards respite care if desired, that is not necessarily required. You will be granted this sum without any additional steps needed if currently receiving either Career Allowance, Benefit, or Domiciliary Care Allowance; however, for anyone else, it is essential to apply through the Department of Social Protection.

Medical card/GP visit card

Are you aged over 66? You may be eligible for a medical card, providing high-quality health services at no cost. Especially if you are 70 or older, the means test allows for a much more generous income limit than normal!

Don’t worry even if your earnings would leave you ineligible for the medical card — this will automatically enter yourself into consideration of receiving a GP visit card instead. In fact, people aged 70 and above have an easy pathway to obtaining this without having to go through any additional means tests.

If you’re entitled to Career’s Benefit or Allowance, regardless of whether it is at full-rate or half-rate, then you are qualified for a GP visit card.

Long-Term Illness Scheme

The Long-Term Illness Scheme allows individuals to receive free drugs, medicines and some medical supplies needed for treatments of specific illnesses.

Drugs Payment Scheme

If you don’t have a medical card, the Drugs Payment Scheme covers prescribed drugs and medicines costs that are over a set monthly amount.

Hospital charges

Public hospital fees are applicable, although some individuals may be exempt from them which includes medical card holders. For private hospital care, however, the entire cost is payable by you and can potentially be covered by your private health insurance provider.

Income tax relief

Seniors and the disabled can take advantage of income tax reliefs, while nursing home fees or dependent relatives assistance are also eligible for deduction when it comes to paying taxes. Furthermore, medical expenses incurred by individuals can be claimed against their taxable income as well.

How can you offset some of the cost of illness in your retirement?

There are a number of ways in which you can offset some of the cost of illness in your retirement:

1. Take advantage of tax reliefs such as medical expenses, nursing home fees, and dependent relative’s assistance, when applicable.

planning for illness in your retirement letterkenny donegal blocks

2. See if you qualify for benefits schemes like Career Allowance, Housing Benefit, and /or a Medical Card

3. Utilise the Drugs Payment Scheme or Long-Term Illness Scheme to cover the costs of your prescribed drugs and medicines

4. If you have an occupational or personal pension plan, check to see if you can access funds from it in case of illness

5. Review your personal pension​ & retirement plan with an impartial financial advisor (or start one if you haven’t already)

Are you in retirement or know someone with a disability who is looking for advice on how to prepare for retirement in Letterkenny, Donegal? Advice First Financial has over 30 years of experience understanding the unique needs of seniors and people with disabilities, so we can provide impartial advice tailored to your situation.

If you have questions on Retirement & Pensions or need Advice on Planning for Illness in your Retirement

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