COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit

Introduction

If a worker is told to self-isolate or diagnosed with COVID-19, they can apply for a COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit payment of €350 per week.

Both employees and self-employed people can qualify for the COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit.

On 6 August 2020, the Government announced that workers who live in direct provision who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or who have been advised to self-isolate, can access the COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit.

If you are ill for another reason or self-isolating because you are medically vulnerable, you should apply for standard Illness Benefit.

COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit will remain in place until the end of March 2021.

You can read more about your employment rights during COVID-19 restrictions and social welfare payments and COVID-19.

Rules

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 or
  • 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 4 weeks before the date of your medical certification
  • Have a current contract of employment, if you are an employee

To get the payment, you must have a medical certificate called a ‘Certificate of incapacity for work’ from your own doctor or have 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.

COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit is a temporary measure during the public health emergency. It will be in place until 31 March 2021.

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

Enhanced Illness Benefit can cover a COVID-19 diagnosis (or self-isolation following contract tracing) up to a certain number of weeks.

If you need to self-isolate because you may have COVID-19, it is paid for a maximum of 2 weeks. This can be extended for another 2 weeks, if you are told to self-isolate again following contact tracing by the HSE. However, 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.

If you have had 2 successive periods of self-isolation, you must return to work and make a PRSI contribution before you can get enhanced Illness Benefit again.

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.

Who cannot get COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit?

You do not get COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit if:

Other social welfare payments and COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit

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 required to self-isolate or you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you 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 - see 'Apply online' below. You must meet the criteria for COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit to qualify.

This top up payment will not affect any other social welfare payments that you may be getting from the DEASP.

Rate of COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit

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.

Apply online

The DEASP needs your application for Illness Benefit and your medical certificate to process your application.

You should apply online for enhanced Illness Benefit. This is the quickest and easiest way to apply.

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

Medical certification

Your doctor can complete a medical certificate on your behalf and send this directly to DEASP.

If you have been identified during 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 illnessenquiry@welfare.ie.

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.

Page edited: 15 September 2020