FAQs: Maternity

Q1:  I live in the Republic of Ireland and work in the North and have done for over 10 years, I am married and my husband also works in the North.  I have just found out that I am expecting our first child.  I have a doctor in the north but not in the South.  Can I have the baby in the North but register the child in the South?

A:  Whilst you are employed in the North you are entitled to routine NHS treatment in the same way as someone resident in the North including maternity services.  You can therefore have your child in a Northern hospital.  As cross-border or frontier workers you and your husband are also entitled to an Irish medical card from the HSE.  This entitles you to free public healthcare in the Republic and importantly would cover any dependent children (your child will not be entitled to routine NHS treatment in the North).  The birth must be registered in the North, the NI Direct website has information about how to register the birth in Northern Ireland – Registering and naming your baby.

Q2:  I live and work in the South. My husband is Northern, his business is in the North and all his taxes etc. are paid in the North.  I am pregnant with my first child.  Am I entitled to public heath care in the North?  I worked in England for a year and have a National Insurance number.

A:  Unfortunately, only your husband as a cross border worker is entitled to routine NHS treatment in the North.  He would also be entitled to an Irish medical card from the HSE in the South as a cross-border or frontier worker but this would only cover you if you did not have an Irish/ROI income.  In ROI there is also the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme which is operated by most GPs and provides free public maternity services in ROI even if you do not hold an Irish medical card or GP visit card.

Q3:  I live in Ireland and have recently been offered a Job in Northern Ireland.  At present I am one month pregnant and one important consideration in deciding whether to take this job or not is what my entitlements are to access Maternity Services in Northern Ireland?

A:  As a result of your ‘cross border worker’ status in Northern Ireland you can access National Health (NHS) services there on a routine basis and that includes all maternity provisions.

Q4:  I’m originally from Northern Ireland (NI) but now living, married in Ireland while still working in NI.  My wife is from Ireland and works in Ireland.  We are expecting a child.  Where can I get the info on childcare and health entitlements etc.?

A:  So long as your wife remains employed in Ireland (this includes whilst she is on maternity leave), Ireland is the ‘competent state’ for the payment of family benefits under EU legislation.  This means that when your child is born she will be entitled to claim Child Benefit in Ireland.  In addition you may qualify for Tax Credit from HM Revenue in NI on the basis of your employment there.

In terms of healthcare, whilst you remain employed in NI you are entitled to access the NHS in NI on a routine basis;however, this right does not extend to your family.  As a cross border worker you are also entitled to free public healthcare in Ireland (ie a medical card).

The Citizens Information website can provide you with a comprehensive overview of benefits and the healthcare system in the South – Becoming a parent.

Q5:  I currently live in Northern Ireland and Commute daily to work in the Republic.  I currently get paid in Euros and pay taxes to the Republic of Ireland. I am due to marry next year and my partner also lives in the North and works in the North.  If I became pregnant would I claim maternity benefits from the Irish or Northern Irish Government? If I was on long term sick would I claim from the Irish or Northern Irish Government?

A:  Under EU social security rules it is generally the member state in which you were last insurably employed that is responsible for the payment of maternity and sickness benefits.  For you this would be Maternity Benefit from the Dept of Social Protection in the Republic; for the qualifying conditions see Citizens Information – Maternity Benefit.  In the event of sickness you may qualify for Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension (for people who are long term unfit to work) from the Republic. See Citizens Information – Benefits to people who are sick or have a disability

Q6:  I live and work in the South. My husband is Northern, his business is in the North and all his taxes etc. are paid in the North.  I am pregnant with my first child.  Am I entitled to public heath care in the North under my husband’s name? I worked in England for a year and have a National Insurance.

A:  Unfortunately, only your husband as a cross border worker is entitled to routine NHS treatment in the North.  He would also be entitled to an Irish medical card from the HSE in the South as a cross-border or frontier worker but this would only cover you if you did not have an Irish/ROI income.  In ROI there is also the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme which is operated by most GPs and provides free public maternity services in ROI even if you do not hold an Irish medical card or GP visit card.