May 11, 2023
Find out what day Illness Benefit is paid in Ireland, how payment is made, the benefit rate, and how long you can receive it.
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Illness Benefit (IB) is a social welfare payment that supports employed and self-employed individuals during long or short term illness.
If you qualify, you will receive payments each week. The payment day depends on when your Illness Benefit claim is registered and the first day of your illness.
Payments are made any day of the week from Monday to Saturday.
Here are five common questions related to Illness Benefit payments:
If you're eligible for a social welfare payment, you'll have to contact the Department of Social Protection (DSP) to determine how your weekly payments will be made.
These are the different payment methods available:
EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer) into your Bank Account: You can receive your Illness Benefit payment directly into your bank account, building society, or credit union account. To receive the payment via EFT, submit the DIR PMT1 application form (Direct Payment to an Account in a Financial Institution Application Form).
Local Post Office: You can have your Illness Benefit paid to your local post office. You'll have to collect it in person — remember to take your Public Service Card (PSC) or Social Service Card (SSC) and photo ID with you.
Cheque Payments: In exceptional cases or for arrears, you may receive your Illness benefit by cheque. You can cash it at your post office or bank.
Note: You can no longer cash social welfare payments at the post office using a book of payable orders.
The Illness Benefit payment rate you're entitled to depends on your average weekly earnings in the relevant tax year.
What's your average weekly earnings?
It's your gross weekly salary (before deductions) in the relevant tax year divided by the number of weeks you worked that year.
The relevant tax year is the second-last complete tax year before the year you're claiming.
For example, if you claim Illness Benefit in 2023, the relevant tax year is 2021.
Typically, you won't receive payment for the first three days of illness, known as 'waiting days'. Sundays aren't considered waiting days for social welfare payments.
Here are the 2023 rates of payment for Illness Benefit:
€220 for anyone with average weekly earnings of €300 or more.
€172.30 for anyone with average weekly earnings between €220-€299.99
€141.90 for anyone with average weekly earnings between €150-€219.99
€98.70 for anyone with average weekly earnings below €150
You may qualify for an increase in the Illness Benefit amount if you have dependants.
Individuals unable to work due to illness may qualify for Illness Benefit provided they are under 66 years of age and have sufficient social insurance (PRSI) contributions.
They also need to be certified as medically unfit for work by a GP and must apply within a six-week period of falling ill.
Illness Benefit is separate from sick pay and enhanced Illness Benefit (Covid-19 related Illness Benefit payment).
As of January 2023, individuals have 3 days of paid sick leave a year. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit ended on 30 September 2022.
If you have a medical certificate from your doctor recommending self-isolation, you can apply for Illness Benefit.
Depending on how long you're ill, you can receive Illness Benefit for a maximum of 1 or 2 years or a lesser period.
These are the payment periods available:
2-year period /624 payment days: You'll need a minimum of 260 weeks of social insurance contributions paid since you first started work OR
12 month period /312 payment days: You must have paid 104 to 259 weeks of social insurance contributions since you first started working.
If you make a second claim for Illness Benefit within 26 weeks of the first claim, it will be treated as one claim.
You'll need at least 13 PRSI contributions before you can claim for Illness Benefit again, in addition to meeting the other qualifying criteria.
You may requalify with less than 13 contributions if:
You were receiving Illness Benefit for one year only AND
Your additional PRSI contributions have increased your total to 260 contributions.
For instance, say you had 200 contributions when your Illness Benefit expired; you could requalify by working and paying 60 contributions.
A review of your Illness Benefit claim will take place occasionally to ensure continued payment. You'll have to attend an assessment conducted by a medical assessor — a doctor from the DSP.
The DSP will contact you when your payment is due to stop. They'll advise you of your next steps — like applying for:
Invalidity Pension: If you are ill, permanently incapable of work, and meet the PRSI requirements.
Disability Allowance: You may be able to claim this disablement benefit if you have a disability that's likely to last for one year or longer.
Supplementary Welfare Allowance: If you don't qualify for any other payments and your income isn't enough to meet your living expenses.
State Pension: You have automatic entitlement if you're turning 66. You must apply three months before your 66th birthday.
Here's how to apply for Illness Benefit payments:
Complete an Illness Benefit form (IB1 claim form) and get a Certificate of Incapacity For Work from your doctor. Your GP may submit your medical certificate online.
Post them to the DSP via Freepost to Social Welfare Services, PO Box 1650, Dublin 1.
If you've been admitted to the hospital, ask a hospital doctor for a pro forma letter to give your GP, who will supply you with an IB1 form and medical certificate (Certificate of Incapacity For Work) free of charge.
If you're still hospitalised, a family member can take the pro forma letter to the doctor on your behalf.
Apply for Illness Benefit within six weeks of becoming ill. If you don't, you may lose some of your payment. Your payment may be backdated if you have a valid reason for the late application.
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