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Partial Capacity Benefit


Partial Capacity Benefit is a social welfare scheme which allows you to return to work or self-employment (if you have reduced capacity to work) and continue to receive a payment from the Department of Social Protection.

If you have been getting Illness Benefit (for a minimum of 6 months) or Invalidity Pension and wish to return to work you may qualify for Partial Capacity Benefit if your capacity for work is reduced by your medical condition.

You will qualify for Partial Capacity Benefit if your restriction on capacity for work is assessed as moderate, severe, or profound. If it is assessed as mild you will not qualify and your continued eligibility to Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension will also be reviewed.

Participation on the Partial Capacity Benefit scheme is voluntary and you may return to Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension if, for example, your employment ceases or if you find you cannot continue to work.

You do not have to transfer onto the Partial Capacity Scheme if you wish to do voluntary work.

Replacement of exemption arrangements

From 13 February 2012 Partial Capacity Benefit replaces the previous exemption arrangements where people on Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension could get permission to work part-time (known as an exemption) for rehabilitative or therapeutic purposes and keep their full social welfare payment.

If you currently have an exemption this will not be affected until your permission comes up for review. At that stage, the exemption will no longer be available to you but you can apply for Partial Capacity Benefit. There is no requirement that the work a person does while on Partial Capacity Benefit has to be for rehabilitative or therapeutic purposes.


If you are on Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension and want to do a FET (formerly FÁS) training course, you do not go onto Partial Capacity Benefit. You apply to the Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension section, as appropriate. From 1 January 2014 new participants do not get a training allowance and a social welfare payment together.

You cannot get Partial Capacity Benefit and take part in a Community Employment Scheme.


To qualify for Partial Capacity Benefit you need to be currently getting either:


You may not work until you have received written approval to do so from the Department of Social Protection. You should also get the approval of your doctor before taking up employment.

There is no restriction on earnings or number of hours you can work. You can work in a self-employed capacity while getting Partial Capacity Benefit. You cannot get Partial Capacity Benefit and Family Income Supplement together.

Note that Disability Allowance and Blind Pension are not qualifying payments for Partial Capacity Benefit.


Partial Capacity Benefit is made up of a personal rate for you and may include increases for your qualified adult and qualified child(ren). The personal rate of payment is based on the assessment of your restriction on capacity for work, whether you were in receipt of Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension and your current rate of payment.

Medical assessment

% of your personal rate of Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension payment

Moderate 50
Severe 75
Profound 100

Increases for qualified children and adults continue to be paid at the same rate. The conditions for payment of increases are the same as those that applied to your Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension claim.

Maximum rates of Partial Capacity Benefit 2014

Medical Assessment Person previously getting Illness Benefit at the maximum personal rate €188.00 Person aged under 66 and previously getting Invalidity Pension at the maximum personal rate €193.50
Moderate €94.00 €96.75
Severe €141 €145.13
Profound €188 €193.50

Partial Capacity Benefit will be paid directly by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) into your Irish bank or building society account (not a mortgage account) or your employer’s Irish bank or building society account. It is taxable.

Secondary benefits

If you were getting Invalidity Pension and were entitled to an Island Allowance you can keep this if you qualify for Partial Capacity Benefit. You cannot keep your Fuel Allowance or your Living Alone Allowance. You can also keep Free Travel and/or the Household Benefits Package but they will both be means-tested after the first 2 years and annually after that. The means test has a weekly income limit. This limit is the maximum rate of State Pension (Contributory) for your circumstances (this includes any dependents you may have) plus €100. Your weekly income limit is then compared to your weekly means in a means test.

You should check with the Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) in your local health centre to see how your Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement may be affected by your participation in the Partial Capacity Scheme.

How to apply

Contact the Partial Capacity Benefit Section of the Department of Social Protection. They will send out an application form to you (forms are not currently available online).

A Medical Assessor of the Department will assess the restriction on your capacity for work. This may require you to attend a medical assessment. You should include all appropriate medical evidence with your application. If you qualify for Partial Capacity Benefit, you are not required to send in medical certificates.


You can appeal a decision of a Deciding Officer on your claim for Partial Capacity Benefit to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office within 21 days of the date of the decision. In advance of an appeal you can seek a review of the decision by another Deciding Officer.

Where to apply

Partial Capacity Benefit Section

Department of Social Protection
Floor 2
Áras Mhic Dhiarmada
Store Street
Dublin 1

Tel:(01) 704 3950/3039/3735/3991
Locall:1890 928 400 (from the Republic of Ireland only) or +353 1 704300 (Northern Ireland or overseas)

Page updated: 24 October 2014


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Related Documents

  • Invalidity Pension
    Invalidity Pension is a social insurance payment that may be paid to people who cannot work because of a long-term illness or disability.
  • Disability payments and work
    Information on how rehabilitative work or training can affect your disability payment and any extra benefits you are getting.
  • Illness Benefit
    Information about Illness Benefit, a payment made to people under 66 who are unable to work because of illness.

Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.