Following an interview with Patricia Clarke, the Centre’s Research Manager on Radio Foyle’s Paul McFadden show on Tuesday 25 September 2007 the Centre was asked to supply further details on Medical Card entitlements for frontier workers and their dependants.
The following is a summary of current information available.
Under European Union Regulation [EU Regulation 1408/71] a frontier worker (cross-border worker) is entitled to sickness and maternity benefits in both the member states in which he/she is employed and the member state in which he/she resides.
Dependents of frontier workers are only covered under the legislation of the state in which he/she resides unless there is an agreement between the relevant states or institutions involved.
In Ireland this means that dependants of a frontier worker (an individual who is living in the South but works in the North) are entitled to a medical card. However if the spouse is employed or self employed in Ireland, they and their dependants come under Republic of Ireland legislation, i.e. they are subject to a means test where both their income and the income of the frontier worker is assessed.
In Northern Ireland while the same general rule may apply the situation does not arise as dependants of Frontier Workers who live in the north already have access to free healthcare as access to the NHS is for the most part residency based.