Medical Card

Medical Cards entitle people on low incomes to free medical care and a range of medical services. They are issued by local Health Boards and are subject to passing a means test.

If you are solely dependent on a social welfare payment you will usually pass the means test for the medical card. Medical Cards can be issued on hardship grounds even if a person's income exceeds the income guidelines.

Each application is considered on its own merits, so if your income is more than the guidelines and you have specific hardship circumstances, you should still apply giving as much detail and evidence of your circumstances as possible.

Medical Card Income Guidelines (as of October 2005):
Single person under 66 living alone€184.00
Single person under 66 living with family€164.00
Married Couple under 66€266.50
Married Couple 66-69 (see note below)€298.00


  • Each child under 16 €38.00 (1st and 2nd) €41.00 (3rd +)
  • Each dependent child over 16 €39.00 (1st and 2nd) €42.50 (3rd +)
  • Over 16 in full-time third level education (not grant aided) €78.00
  • Resonable expenses incurred in respect of rent/mortgage payment (subject to certain limits based on costs and family size)
  • Reasonable expenses incurred in respect of childcare costs (subject to limits to be confirmed by the HSE)
  • Reasonable expenses incurred in travel to work (subject to limits to be confirmed by the HSE)

Please Note: All persons over 70 are entitled to a medical card without a means test, but this does not cover their dependants.

Please Note: If you are unemployed for 12 months or more you may keep your Medical Card for up to 3 years, in certain circumstances, when you get a job.

Last Updated: 09/01/2013