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 (DSP).
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.
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.
The DSP has produced a Benefit of Work Estimator tool on welfare.ie for people getting disability payments. This can help you to assess the financial consequences of taking up work and claiming Partial Capacity Benefit.
Replacement of exemption arrangements
Since 13 February 2012, Partial Capacity Benefit has replaced 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. 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. Since 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:
- Illness Benefit (for a minimum of 6 months)
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 Working
Family Payment (formerly known as Family Income Supplement) together. You
can get Partial Capacity Benefit and a half-rate Carer's
Note that Disability Allowance and Blind Pension are not qualifying payments for Partial Capacity Benefit.
How long does payment last?
Payment will last as long as you have an underlying entitlement to Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension. Your continued entitlement to Partial Capacity Benefit is subject to review and you may be required to attend a medical assessment by a medical assessor.
If you have exhausted your entitlement to Illness Benefit, your Partial Capacity Benefit payment will stop, but you can continue on Partial Capacity Benefit for credited social insurance contributions only (as long as you meet the medical conditions for the scheme). However, you can requalify for a Partial Capacity Benefit payment if you requalify for Illness Benefit by paying 13 weeks reckonable PRSI or by qualifying for Invalidity Pension.
If you are unable to work due to illness
If you are getting Partial Capacity Benefit and you are unable to work for a period of time due to illness, you should contact the Partial Capacity Section – see ‘Where to apply’ below.
For short periods of illness (up to 8 weeks at a time), you can stay on Partial Capacity Benefit, but your weekly rate can be increased to the full Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension personal rate.
For longer periods of illness (greater than 8 weeks), DSP will reassess your Partial Capacity Benefit claim and you may return to your Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension. If you become able for work again you can contact DSP about going back onto 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.
% of your personal rate of Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension payment
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 in 2020
|Medical Assessment||Person previously getting Illness Benefit at the maximum personal rate €203||Person aged under 66 and previously getting Invalidity Pension at the maximum personal rate €208.50|
Partial Capacity Benefit will be paid directly by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) into your Irish bank or building society account (not a mortgage account). It is taxable.
You can also keep the Household Benefits Package but it will 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.
If you were getting Invalidity Pension and a Living Alone Allowance (LAA) with your Invalidity Pension (or you start to live alone while you are getting PCB), your rate of PCB will be calculated on the basis of your Invalidity Pension and your LAA. So, for example, if your restriction on capacity for work is severe, your PCB payment will be 75% of your IP and LAA payment.
You should check with the Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) 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 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 apply for Partial Capacity Benefit before you start to look for work and any reduction (if applicable) to your personal rate is not applied until you start work.
Partial Capacity Benefit is not paid to people over 66. You should apply for a State Pension at least 3 months before your 66th birthday.
You can appeal a decision on your claim for Partial Capacity Benefit to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office. You should appeal within 21 days of getting the decision.
Where to apply