Under 70s means test for medical card and GP visit card


If you are aged under 70 when you apply for a medical card or GP visit card, the HSE will review your situation and your weekly income to check if you qualify. This may include a review of your financial situation, called a means test.

Your income, savings, investments and property are assessed in the means test, but there are certain exceptions. If you have a spouse or partner, the HSE looks at your combined finances.

Check if you automatically qualify for a medical card, as some people are exempt from the means test. If you are not in one of these groups, your income is reviewed by the HSE and must be below a certain amount to qualify.

This page explains the means test for people aged under 70 – how it is carried out, what income is included and what income is excluded.

Medical cards if you are over 70

People aged over 70 have a different means test assessment for the medical card.

If you do not qualify under the means test for people over 70 you can be assessed under the general means test rules explained here.

GP visit cards

If you are under 70, the way the HSE assesses your financial means is the same for the medical card and for the GP visit card – but the income limits are different.

If your income is above the limit for a medical card, you are automatically assessed by the HSE for the GP visit card which has higher income limits.

You automatically get a GP visit card without a means test if you are either:

When does the HSE review my finances?

When you apply online, the HSE does a quick review of your finances to check if you might qualify for a medical card or GP visit card. It does a full review of your finances later in the application process when you send them documents to prove your financial situation, for example, payslips.

How does the means test work?

The HSE has basic rates that vary depending on your age, living situation, marital status and if you have children. If your income is below the HSE basic rate, you will qualify.

The basic rate income limits for the medical card are lower than the limits for the GP visit card.

Your weekly income is your net income. This is your income after tax, PRSI and Universal Social Charge (USC) have been deducted.

If your income is above the HSE’s basic rate, you may still qualify for a medical card or GP visit card after you add extra allowances for children and allowable expenses (see below).

Discretionary medical card

If your finances are still above the qualifying limits for both a medical card and GP visit card the HSE can look at your social and medical situation. They will decide if you would have trouble paying for medical care for you and your family and may provide a medical card. You can read more about discretionary medical cards.

Weekly basic rates for under 70s

Weekly basic rates for under 70s (Gross income less tax, Universal Social Charge and PRSI)

Category Medical card aged under 66 Medical card aged 66-70 GP visit card aged under 70
Single person living alone €184 €201.50 €418
Single person living with family €164 €173.50 €373
Couple, married/cohabiting/civil partners (or single parent with dependent children) €266.50 €298 €607
Allowance for each of first 2 children aged under 16 €38 €38 €57
Allowance for 3rd and each subsequent child under 16 €41 €41 €61.50
Allowance for each of first 2 children aged over 16 (with no income) €39 €39 €58.50
Allowance for 3rd and each subsequent child over 16 (with no income) €42.50 €42.50 €64
Each dependant over 16 years in full-time third-level education, who is not grant aided €78 €78 €117


Income assessed

The HSE reviews your weekly income from:

  • Wages or earnings (net pay, after you pay tax, PRSI and USC)
  • Pensions
  • Maintenance payments
  • Rental income from property other than the family home, with costs deducted
  • Property (other than the family home)
  • Interest from capital and savings
  • Income from royalties or payments under a settlement, covenant or from an estate

If your only income is from social welfare or HSE payments, you will get a medical card even if your income is over the income limits for your age and situation.

Check the documents you may need.

Income not assessed

Some payments from the State are not included:

  • HSE payments: Mobility Allowance, Blind Welfare Allowance
  • Social welfare payments: Working Family Payment, Child Benefit, Carer's Allowance, Domiciliary Care Allowance, Guardian's Payments; weekly supplements (such as a diet or heating supplement) paid under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme; Fuel, Island, Living Alone and Over 80 Allowances
  • Other payments: Third-level educational maintenance grants, Rehabilitation Maintenance Allowance, Foster Care Allowance.

Earnings while on Disability Allowance

If you are getting Disability Allowance and working, income you earn up to €427 per week is not taken into account in the means test for the medical card. This does not affect the means test for Disability Allowance.

When reviewing your income for a medical card or GP visit card, the HSE does not include:

  • Compensation payments made by the Residential Institutions Redress Board
  • Repayments made under the Health (Repayment) Scheme (that is, the Nursing Home repayment scheme)
  • Awards made to people who contracted Hepatitis C or HIV from contaminated blood products (together with income from the investment of that money)
  • Ex-gratia payments approved by the Lourdes Hospital Redress Board under the terms of the Lourdes Hospital Redress Scheme 2007
  • Compensation awards payable under the Redress for Women in Certain Institutions Act 2015.

Savings and investments assessment

Any savings and investments you have are also reviewed by the HSE in the means test for a medical card or GP visit card.

Savings, investments or property up to €36,000 for a single person, or €72,000 for a couple, are disregarded.

Interest on savings or investments over the limit is taken into account in the means test.

This means only the interest or income earned on your savings and investments will be counted as income, not the total value of the savings or investments themselves.

How does the HSE assess interest?

There are different ways the HSE can assess your savings and investments. They can use:

  • A Certificate of Interest (usually from your bank) of all your savings, or
  • Copies of bank statements showing the current balance on your account or account

If you have stocks or shares, you will need to provide a copy of your current Share Certificates showing shareholdings.

The HSE can also calculate your weekly income from savings and investments using the following rules:

Capital Weekly means assessed
First €36,000 (single), €72,000 (couple) Nil
Next €10,000 €1 per €1,000
Next €10,000 €2 per €1,000
More than €56,000 (single) or €92,000 (couple) €4 per €1,000

For example, if you are a couple and have €90,000 in savings, any income on the first €72,000 will not be considered.  The income on the next €10,000 will be considered at €1 per €1,000 totalling €10. The balance of €8,000 will be considered at €2 per €1,000 totalling €16.

Check what documents you may need for the HSE to assess your income from savings and investments.

Is property assessed?

The value of your family home is not included in the medical card and GP visit card means test.

The value of weekly income from other property is reviewed by the HSE.

Check what documents you may need for your property to be assessed by the HSE.

Property that is rented

If you have property that you rent out, the rental income is assessed by the HSE. Rental income can include income from renting a room in your family home, a holiday home, leased land or any other property.

Rental income is assessed after deducting mortgage payments and insurance premiums.

Property that is not rented

If you are aged under 70 and have unused land or buildings that you are not renting, but could be leased or sold, the HSE reviews the value of the property as a savings and investment assessment (above).

If you are aged over 70, income will not be assessed from any property that is not generating a rental income.

How is self-employment income assessed?

If you are self-employed and applying for a medical card or GP visit card, you will need to provide evidence of all your work, both self-employed and for other employers.

The HSE will review your most recent Income Tax Return Form 11 and all pages of your Notice of Assessment (NOA) from Revenue.

If you are self-employed and your business has been running for less than one year, you need to provide a set of accounts signed off by your accountant.

If you are self-employed and your business has recently stopped trading, you need to provide a self-declaration letter indicating the date you were last self-employed.

Read more about what documents you need for your application as somebody self-employed.

You can also get detailed information from the HSE Medical card and GP Visit Card National Assessment Guidelines (pdf).

Allowable expenses

Some living expenses are allowable. This means the HSE will add the cost of certain weekly expenses to your basic rate.

This increases your weekly qualifying financial threshold.

Your qualifying financial threshold is the limit of how much income you can have each week and still qualify for a medical card or GP visit card.

Allowable expenses include:


  • Rent (not including any amounts paid by Housing Assistance Payment or Rent Supplement)
  • Reasonable mortgage payments on your family home and other land or property
  • Mortgage protection insurance and associated life assurance
  • Home insurance

Childcare and other caring costs

  • Childcare costs
  • Maintenance payments you make
  • Nursing home, private nursing or home-care costs for you or your spouse

Travel costs

  • Costs of travelling to work including:
    • The cost of public transport
    • Driving expenses if a car is required, at a rate of 30 cent per mile/18 cent per km. If a couple needs two cars to travel to work, a double allowance applies.
    • Reasonable contributions towards carpooling costs.

Check what documents you need for your expenses to be assessed by the HSE.

More information

You can read more information about medical cards and GP visit cards, including how to apply. If you are over 70 check if you are eligible under the means test for people aged over 70.

You can also read about the GP visit card for children aged under 8 and prescription charges for medical card holders.

You can find more information on the medical card and GP visit card on the HSE website. You can find further detail in the HSE Assessment Guidelines for medical cards and GP visit cards.

The HSE has information on financial assessment.

Page edited: 23 February 2024