What is a Medical Card?

A Medical card is issued by the HSE and allows the cardholder certain health benefits for free. To be awarded the Medical Card, a parent needs to pass a means-tested assessment. However, if your child receives Domiciliary Care Allowance or Disability Allowance, your child may be awarded a Medical Card irrespective of the parents’ income. This is sometimes called a discretionary Medical Card and carries all the same benefits as a means-tested Medical Card.

What health benefits does my child receive?

This will allow your child to receive certain health services free of charge, such as:

  • Doctor visits
  • €1.50 per prescription medication
  • Public hospital services
  • Dental, optical and hearing services
  • Limited personal and social care service
  • Counselling in Primary Care Service
  • Reduced rate of Universal Social Charge
  • School bus transport
  • State exam fees
How to apply?

If your child receives Domiciliary Care Allowance, then you can apply online for the discretionary non-means-tested Medical Card for your child only here:


Similarly, if your child receives Disability Allowance, you can apply online at www.mymedicalcard.ie. If you are applying online, you can upload photos, scans or photocopies of the original documents specified on the form.

Remember it is your child’s application and to upload proof that your son/daughter receives Disability Allowance. Your child will be awarded their discretionary Medical Card irrespective of the parents’ income. Otherwise, if this is unclear, the whole family will be means-tested.

Alternatively, you can download a application form and send it in by post:


If you have any questions before you send your application, you can phone Lo-call 0818 22 44 78, contact your Local Health Office, or email clientregistration@hse.ie. You can track the progress of your Medical Card application on the HSE website.

How long will my application take to be completed?

If you supply all the information needed correctly, the HSE targets to process online applications within 15 working days. Don’t worry if you don’t have everything required; the department will contact you and let you know what is needed. This will delay the processing of your application.

Will my Card be reviewed?

The HSE will ask you periodically to confirm your circumstances by completing an online review form. If you do not provide the information they request, your application cannot be re-assessed, and your card may not be re-issued.

Should I apply for all the family?

You should separately apply for your child first. Your family may still qualify for a Medical Card under the means-test. The weekly income limit for married couples is approximately €266.50 per week. This increases depending on how many children you have. Reasonable expenses incurred regarding childcare costs, travel to work and rent/mortgage payments will also be deducted. All savings and investments above €72,000 for a couple will impact the application.

I applied but received a GP visit card instead.

You should still apply if your income is above the threshold. If you don’t get a family Medical Card, you may still be entitled to a GP Visit Card because the income limits are generally 50% higher than the Medical Card thresholds. This entitles your family to free GP visits; however, you will have to pay for any subsequent medication. Remember, all children under 6 are entitled to a free GP Visit Card regardless of income or assets.

Can my child have a long-term illness card and a Medical Card?

Children with additional needs can have both.  The Long-Term Illness Card allows your child to get medicines directly related to the treatment of their illness, free of charge. For more information click on the link below.

Long-Term Illness Scheme FAQ 2023 Ireland

What alternative scheme can I apply for instead of the Medical Card?

The Drugs Payment Scheme is available to all families. This, again is not means-tested and is based on a family not having to pay more than €80 per month on prescriptions. You can apply online for the Drugs Payment Scheme https://www.mydps.ie/

Finally, you can reclaim 20% of all medical bills against your yearly tax bill each year.