A €500 grant towards the cost of a hairpiece, wig or hair replacement for those who suffer hair loss due to illness has been announced in Ireland.
The initiative will support both men and women and is expected to benefit around 2,000 people during its first year.
The grant will fall under the Department of Social Protection’s Treatment Benefit Scheme and will cover hair loss resulting from cancer and forms of alopecia.
It will be available to people, and the dependent spouse, civil partner or cohabitant who satisfy the medical requirements and PRSI conditions.
The amount paid by the Department of Social Protection will be the full cost of one hair replacement item per calendar year, up to a maximum cost of €500 and will be available from the 28th May 2022. It is not available to people who avail of surgical or topical treatments.
Making the announcement, Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys TD said the initiative was being introduced "in recognition of both the physical and psychological impact that sudden hair loss can have on someone's life."
"This initiative, provided for in Budget 2022, is about supporting people who suffer from forms of alopecia or cancer.
"I really hope this new grant will help in some small way in improving the quality of life of people who need it. It is designed to support women or men who lose something that so many of us, on a daily basis, take for granted."
Ms Paddy Pender of Alopecia Ireland said the organisation was delighted with the news.
"Many of us struggle to maintain quality wigs, pieces and prostheses as we live with alopecia. This grant will help in no small way to alleviate some of the stress the condition causes us.
"Alopecia affects people in a variety of ways but all of us know that pain of hair loss. We are grateful for the financial support towards restoring our crowing glories!"