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May 16, 2023

Is Enhanced Illness Benefit Still Available in Ireland?

The Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit has ended in Ireland. But there are other options to support yourself. Read on to learn more.

Aine Kavanagh

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Aine Kavanagh

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Enhanced Illness Benefit in Ireland was a social welfare payment for people diagnosed with Covid-19 or who had to self-isolate as per the instruction of a doctor.

However, this benefit was discontinued on 30th September 2022 and is no longer available. 

So, what should you do if you have Covid-19 now?  

You can apply for the regular financial aid the Irish Government offers sick workers.

Let’s discuss the Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit and the alternative options Covid-19 patients currently have.

What Was the Enhanced Illness Benefit?

You can no longer avail of the Enhanced Illness Benefit payment. 

The provision was an extension of the standard Illness Benefit and offered a higher rate of payment (€350/week). 

The Enhanced Illness Benefit was first introduced in March 2020 and aimed to incentivise employed and self-employed people to self-isolate if they contracted Covid-19.

The Irish Government aimed to extend the benefit till Covid-19 is no longer a public health risk.

So, this increased sick pay benefit came with a sunset clause, meaning it could end on a specified date. 

The Irish Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys T.D, extended this date multiple times after the benefits’ launch. In June 2022, Minister Humphreys extended the benefit until 30th September 2022.

he Irish Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys T.D, extended this date multiple times after the benefits’ launch. In June 2022, Minister Humphreys extended the benefit until 30th September 2022. 

The Irish Government has also ended other Covid-19 related provisions, like the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (COVID-PUP).

What Can You Do if You Get Covid-19?

As per data from the USA's Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in November 2023, the HV.1 Coronavirus variant is likely to spread quickly in the UK and Ireland.

Although experts say this variant isn’t highly concerning, it’s still highly transmissible.

So, if you’re diagnosed with Coronavirus or advised to self-isolate (either at home or a medical facility) by your general practitioner (GP) after 30th September 2022, you can apply for the standard Illness Benefit.

This is a financial aid the Irish Government provides (subject to Pay Related Social Insurance or PRSI contributions and other conditions) if you cannot work due to sickness.

Illness Benefit vs Enhanced Illness Benefit

Let’s examine how the enhanced and standard rate Illness Benefits differ.

A. Rate of Payment

The Enhanced Illness Benefit was paid at a weekly rate of €350. It could be paid on any day of the week, excluding Sundays.

In contrast: 

The weekly rate of Illness Benefit depends on your average weekly earnings in the relevant tax year. It starts at €104.10/week for anyone making less than €150 weekly and goes up to €232/week (in 2024) for those who earn €300 or more

This is set to increase in 2024 by €12 per week. That makes the Illness Benefit weekly rate €232 and the maximum increase for a qualified adult €154 from January 2024.

Additionally, the standard Illness Benefit has a waiting period of three days, unlike the enhanced rate payment, which started immediately. 

You could also get additional payment on top of Illness Benefit if you have any adult and child dependants.

B. Duration of Payment

The Enhanced Illness Benefit was payable for:

  • A maximum of seven days if the doctor or Health Service Executive (HSE) advised a person to self-isolate due to the probability of spreading the Coronavirus infection.

  • Up to 10 weeks if a person was diagnosed with Covid-19 infection.

On the flip side:

You can claim entitlement to standard Illness Benefit for a maximum of two years (624 payment days) — subject to your PRSI contributions and the nature of your illness.

How do Covid-19 Patients Apply for Illness Benefit?

If you apply offline, you’ll need these documents from your GP: 

  • An Illness Benefit claim form (IB1).

  • An electronically completed or paper copy of a medical ‘Certificate of Incapacity for Work’ indicating that you either have Covid-19 symptoms or could be a probable source of infection. The certificate must also state if you’re self-isolating.

You can also request an IB1 form by phone or email and provide your full name and address:

Learn about the various Illness Benefit Forms.

Send the completed documents (the IB1 application form and the medical certification) via Freepost to the following address:

Social Welfare Services

PO Box 1650

Dublin 1, Ireland

Alternatively:

Apply online using the Illness Benefit option on mywelfare.ie through your verified MyGovID account. If you don't have a MyGovID account, you must provide employment and personal details like your PPS number.

Simplify Employee Health Insurance With Kota

The Enhanced Illness Benefit supported Covid-19 patients while it lasted. 

While people can still avail of the standard Illness Benefit, the lower payment rate may not provide the required support.

As an employer, you’d want to offer more comprehensive healthcare support to your sick team members.

This is where Kota can help.

With Kota, you can extend private health insurance and retirement benefits to your employees without the hassles of brokers, paperwork, or other administrative overheads.

How Kota Works

Once you’ve decided on your contribution, team members can pick a personalised benefits package per their needs.

For instance, with the Irish Life Health 4D Health 1 Plan, a sick employee can get coverage up to €100,000 on in-patient treatment. They also get unlimited consultations with an Irish-based GP via phone or video call.

Additionally, employees can customise their packages with extra benefits. 

They can opt for Mind Extra, which includes Stress Reduction Programme (MBSR) and could be helpful during recovery from Covid-19.

So why not join Kota to simplify employee benefits management?


Aine Kavanagh

Article written by

Aine Kavanagh

👋🏻 Hi I'm Aine, Head of Customer Success at Kota. Whether you're a Kota customer, a Kota user, or you're just browsing, I hope to help educate and empower those who want to know more about owning their own benefits, and building financial autonomy 📚

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