COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit
What is the COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit?
Both employees and self-employed people can qualify for the COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit.
Workers who live in direct provision who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or who have been advised to self-isolate or restrict their movements, can also apply for the COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit.
How to qualify for Covid-19 enhanced Illness Benefit
You can apply for the COVID-19 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 restrict your movements 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 from a doctor or have a text from the HSE to support your application – see list below.
- Be confined to your home or a medical facility
- Be employed in at least one of the 4 weeks before your medical certification and have a current contract of employment, if you are an employee
- Have worked immediately before your medical certification and will have reckonable income in the current contribution year, if you are self-employed
You must provide one of the following with your application:
- A medical certificate called a ‘Certificate of incapacity for work’ from your doctor that you have symptoms of COVID-19 or that you are a probable source of infection
- A text message from the HSE that you are positive for COVID-19 or a close contact
- If you are under 40 and have symptoms of COVID 19, confirmation that you have requested an Antigen Test Kit from the HSE
You can find out more about the documentation you will need depending on your situation.
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.
How long can I get COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit?
Diagnosed with COVID-19
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you will be paid up to 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.
Self-isolating or restricting your movements
If you need to self-isolate or restrict your movements because you may have COVID-19, enhanced Illness Benefit will be paid for a maximum of 7 days depending on your vaccination status.
If you are told to self-isolate or restrict your movements again following contact tracing by the HSE, you will need to have medical certification and apply for this second period on a separate claim form.
If you have had 2 successive periods of self-isolation or restricting your movements, you must return to work and make a PRSI contribution before you can get enhanced Illness Benefit again.
If you are vaccinated with a booster dose, you do not need to restrict your movements or self-isolate. This means you will not get COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit. However, if you start showing symptoms of COVID-19, you should self-isolate and apply for the payment.
Who cannot get COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit?
You do not get COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit if:
- You are cocooning because you are medically vulnerable to COVID-19, however, you can apply for standard Illness Benefit which can be paid for longer than COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit or
- You are self-isolating because you live with a person who is medically vulnerable to COVID-19
- You are vaccinated with a booster dose. However, if you start showing symptoms of COVID-19, you should self-isolate and apply for the payment.
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 DSP.
Rate of COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit
The maximum 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.
The DSP 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.
Your doctor can complete a medical certificate on your behalf and send this directly to DSP.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 0818 928 400.