Updated for 2013 Budget
The USC rates as introduced in the 2011 Budget were originally the same for Medical Card holders under 70 as for everyone else under 70 – but the government soon backed down and ended up treating Medical Card holders the same as over 70’s – i.e a maximum USC rate of 4% .
A person does not need to hold a medical card for the full year to qualify for the 4% maximum USC. It is due as long as the individual holds a full medical card for some period during the year. The holder needs to supply sufficient evidence to their employer/pension provider that they hold a full medical card to enable them to apply the correct 4% maximum rate from the next pay period.
Budget 2013 introduced some changes to USC – now medical card holders will pay the top rate of 7% USC if their total income is over €60,000. The same change has been applied to over 70’s too.
All other people with medical cards have USC capped at 4%
See USC Rates for 2013 Here
The change will see someone over 70 with a €100,000 occupational pension and €22,703 state pension paying €2520 more USC in 2013 compared to 2012. The 2012 USC would be €3799 and the 2013 USC will be €6319.
People who live in Northern Ireland – and work in the Republic are treated as if they have a medical card and this change to USC will affect them if they earn over €60k .
In the North a medical card is issued to everyone. It is not a means tested thing – it just confirms that you can use the NHS.
Irish Revenue state that a Northern Irish medical card is to be treated the same as an Irish one for USC purposes.