COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit

What is the COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit?

If a worker is told to self-isolate by a doctor or diagnosed with COVID-19, they can apply for a COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit payment.

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.

COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit will be in place until the end of September 2022.

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

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

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 to self-isolate or
  • Are diagnosed with COVID-19

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

  • Be aged under 66
  • Have a medical certificate called a ‘Certificate of incapacity for work’ from a doctor that you have symptoms of COVID-19 or that you are a probable source of infection
  • 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

If you have to self-isolate following a text message from the HSE that you are a close contact, you should contact your GP for a medical certificate. Find out more about close contacts who need to self-isolate.

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 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.

How to apply for COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit

Apply online

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.

Paper form

To get a paper form posted to you:

  • Phone (01) 704 3300 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)
  • Text the word FORM followed by the form code IB1, your name and address (including the Eircode) to 51909

Medical certification

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

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.

You can get multi-lingual information on COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit

Page edited: 11 July 2022