Enhanced Illness Benefit for COVID-19

If you cannot work due to COVID-19 illness you can now apply for sick payment of €350 per week
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If you are working and are told to self-isolate or diagnosed with COVID-19, you can now apply for a COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit payment of €350 per week.

Who is entitled to Enhanced Illness Benefit?

You can receive Enhanced Illness Benefit if you are an employee or self-employed and if you live in direct provision. If you are sick for another reason or self-isolating because you are medically vulnerable, you can apply for standard Illness Benefit instead.

Who can apply for Enhanced Illness Benefit?

You can apply for enhanced Illness Benefit, if you:

  • Are suspected of having COVID-19 and are told by a doctor or the Health Service Executive (HSE) to self-isolate
  • Are diagnosed with COVID-19

To qualify for COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit, you must:

  • Be aged between 18 and 66
  • Have a medical certificate called a ‘Certificate of incapacity for work’ from a doctor or have a text or letter notification from the HSE to support your application
  • Be employed or self-employed and have worked in the four weeks before the date you received your medical certification
  • Have a current contract of employment, if you are an employee

To get the payment, you have to have a medical certificate called a ‘Certificate of incapacity for work’ from your own doctor or a letter or text notification from the HSE telling you that you have been identified as having contact with someone who has COVID-19.

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or if you are medically required to self-isolate, there are no waiting days for payment of Enhanced Illness Benefit.

The COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit is only a temporary measure during the public health emergency. This means that it will be in place until 31 March 2021.

How long can I get COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit for?

If you need to self-isolate because you may have COVID-19, it is paid for a maximum of two weeks. This can be extended for another two weeks, if you are told to self-isolate again following contact tracing by the HSE. If this happens, you will need to apply for this second period of self-isolation on a separate claim form and have medical certification for this second period of self-isolation. Find out more about self-isolating.

If you have had two periods of self-isolation in a row, you have to return to work and make a PRSI contribution before you can get enhanced Illness Benefit again. PRSI contribution are social insurance contributions that most employed people over 16 years of age make. The amount you pay is based on your earnings and the type of work you do. For this reason it is called Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI).

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, it is paid for a maximum of 10 weeks. If your medical certificate is for fewer than 10 weeks, you will be paid for the duration of your medical certificate.

You should continue to talk with your doctor about your diagnosis and the length of time you are medically certified unfit to work because of COVID-19. COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit will be in place until the end of March 2021.

Who cannot get COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit?

You are not entitled to COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit if:

  • You are cocooning because you are medically vulnerable to COVID-19, but you can apply for standard Illness Benefit which can be paid for longer than COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit
  • You are self-isolating because you live with a person who is medically vulnerable to COVID-19

Can I get the Enhanced Illness Benefit if I am on other social welfare payments?

You cannot get COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit and COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment at the same time.

If your income is a mixture of both earnings from employment and a social welfare payment and you are asked to self-isolate or you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you will continue to get your social welfare payment.

If your social welfare payment is less than the rate of COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit, you can apply for a top up payment from the Illness Benefit section. You must meet the criteria for COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit to qualify.

The top up payment will not affect any other social welfare payments that you may be getting from the Department of Social Protection.

How much is the COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Payment?

The personal rate of Enhanced Illness Benefit is €350 per week.

If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, you may get an increase in your payment for your spouse or partner. You may also get an increase in your payment for dependent children.

How do I apply for Enhanced Illness Benefit?

The Department of Social Protection needs your application for Illness Benefit and your medical certificate to process your application. Applying online is the quickest way to apply.

All you need to apply online is a basic MyGovID account.

Where can I get my medical certification?

Your doctor can complete a medical certificate for you and send this directly to Department of Social Protection.

If you have been identified through contact tracing as someone who has been in contact with a person with COVID-19, you will get a text or a letter from the HSE with an instruction to you to self-isolate. You can email an image of this HSE document or text the image along with your name and PPS number to [email protected]

Illness Benefit contact centre

If you are unsure about whether you submitted your application form or medical certificate, you can contact the Illness Benefit section on (01) 704 3300 or 1890 928 400.

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