COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways.
The Government has announced that the rules for Illness Benefit and Supplementary Welfare Allowance will be changed to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus. The changes mean that if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19 and are medically required to self-isolate, you can get income support.
Legislation is required to implement these changes and emergency legislation is being prepared.
The proposed changes are:
You will not have to wait 6 days before you can apply for Illness Benefit. This means Illness Benefit can cover the first week of a COVID-19 diagnosis (or medically-required self-isolation) and any subsequent weeks.
The personal rate of Illness Benefit will increase from €203 to €305 per week for up to 2 weeks if you are medically required to self-isolate, or for the duration of your medically-certified absence from work with a COVID-19 diagnosis. The new enhanced Illness Benefit rate will be effective from 9 March 2020 and workers will be entitled to a refund of any arrears due from this date when the legislation is in place.
The normal social insurance requirements for Illness Benefit will be waived or the means test for Supplementary Welfare Allowance will be removed, if you are medically required to self-isolate or diagnosed with COVID-19.
Where an employee or a self-employed person is medically required to self-isolate or has been diagnosed with Covid-19, they can apply for the enhanced Illness Benefit payment. In the interests of public health, this payment will only be paid where people remain confined to their home or a medical facility while in receipt of this enhanced Illness Benefit.
How to qualify
To receive the enhanced payment, you must be:
• self-isolating on the instruction of a doctor or diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
• be absent from work and not getting paid by your employer
The standard increases payable in respect of adult and child dependents will continue to be paid.
Rates of payment
The personal rate for this payment is €305, as compared with the normal Illness Benefit rate of €203.
How to Apply
If you are suffering from COVID-19 or a doctor advises that you self-isolate, the doctor will then complete a medical certificate on your behalf and send this directly to the department.
To receive a payment, you will need to provide your doctor with your:
• PPS Number
• date of birth
You now need to complete an application form for Illness Benefit (Form IB 1)
There are three ways that you can make an application:
• you can call 1890 800 024 or 01 2481398 between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday to get an application form by post
• organise someone to pick up a form at your doctor’s surgery or at your local Intreo Centre
• an online application process will be available by the end of March
If you have been medically certified to self-isolate or are diagnosed with COVID-19 do not attend your doctor's office or Intreo Centre.
It is important to complete part 5 of the Illness Benefit form as this contains how you would like to be paid. You don't have to fill in part 7 of the form.
Send your application form by Freepost to:
Social Welfare Services
PO Box 1650, Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Dublin 1
Once both the application form and the medical certificate are received payment will be processed.
You should continue to liaise with your doctor in relation to your diagnosis and the length of time you are medically certified unfit to work because of COVID-19 .
To help us to process all payments as quickly as possible, we would kindly ask you not to phone the department seeking updates on your application as staff will be focusing on processing applications. Thank you for your co-operation.
To be eligible for this payment a person must be confined to their home or a medical facility.
COVID-19: Get all of the latest updates for Employees and Employers here.