Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Dental Services

Marc Ó Cathasaigh (Waterford, Green Party)
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1296. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she has considered providing dentists with an advance in payments provided under the State schemes, that is, the medical card and PRSI akin to supports provided in Northern Ireland, Great Britain, Germany and other jurisdictions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6918/20]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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Dental services, provided to qualified contributors under the departments dental benefit scheme, are paid for monthly on an arrears basis, based on the contracted dentist submitting a claim for the treatment they provided to the qualified person.

The vast majority of such claims, over 97%, are submitted on line via the departments WelfarePartners portal, following confirmation of the customers eligibility, also obtained using this on-line facility.  This effective and efficient process allows for the customers eligibility to be checked, treatment provided, fee request to be submitted and payment issued within the shortest possible timeframe.  In short, payment for treatments provided in the month is lodged to the dentist's nominated account on the second Friday of the following month.

Any changes to Treatment Benefits would need to be considered in the overall budgetary and policy context. 

Any question relating to payment for dental treatments on the medical card scheme should be addressed to the Minister for health. 

Marc Ó Cathasaigh (Waterford, Green Party)
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1297. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she has considered a reduction in the rate of employer PRSI contributions in respect of dentists; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6920/20]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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The Government has introduced a number of initiatives to help employers and their employees during this difficult time.  One of the main supports available is the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, which is operated by Revenue and provides the payment of support to employers in respect of eligible employees where the employer’s business has experienced significant disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

In response to feedback from employer groups, trade unions and public representatives, this scheme was recently enhanced to include an increase in the subsidy paid in respect of workers earning less than €24,400 per year from 70% to 85%.  Under the scheme, any payment made by employers in addition to the subsidy amount payable is liable to a PRSI charge of only 0.5%. 

An initiative to specifically assist small businesses was approved by the Government last week.  The €250 million Restart Grant will give direct grant aid to micro and small businesses to help them with the costs associated with reopening and reemploying workers following the closure of their businesses due to the pandemic.  

The Government is continuously monitoring the situation, and will take further action, as necessary, as the Covid-19 situation evolves.

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. 

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