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Health Services

Illness Benefit

What is Illness Benefit?

Illness Benefit is a scheme designed to provide support for individuals who are unable to work in the short term due to illness. This scheme is not tied to an employer’s sick leave policy.

How to qualify for Illness Benefit:

To qualify you must:

  • Be under 66.
  • Have at least 104 class A, E, H, or P social insurance (PRSI) contributions paid since starting work.

  • You must also meet either Condition 1 or Condition 2:

  • Condition 1: You should have 39 weeks of PRSI contributions paid or credited in the relevant tax year, with at least 13 weeks being paid contributions.
  • Condition 2: You should have 26 weeks of PRSI contributions paid in the relevant tax year and another 26 weeks of PRSI contributions paid in the tax year immediately preceding the relevant tax year.

  • Taxes:

    The relevant tax year is the second-last complete tax year before the year in which your Illness Benefit claim begins.

    Illness Benefit is taxable. The department pays Illness Benefit without deducting tax and notifies Revenue of the amount of Illness Benefit paid to you.

    Additionally, you must:

  • Regularly visit your doctor, who can electronically submit a Certificate of Incapacity for Work to the Department of Social Protection.
  • Apply for Illness Benefit by submitting an online application through MyWelfare or post an IB1 Form to the department.
  • Enter the date you first became ill on your application.
  • Not receiving holiday pay from your employer.

  • Short Term Support:

    While waiting for your Illness Benefit claim, if your income does not suffice to meet your needs, you may be able to receive a Basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance Application Form (SWA1). This is a weekly payment for individuals who do not have enough income to cater to their and their dependents' basic needs.

    Rates of Payment:

    The benefit is paid on a weekly basis. The payment can be made from Monday to Saturday, depending on when the claim is registered and the first day of your illness. You should file your claim within six weeks of falling ill. The rates range from €99.70 to €232.00 for individuals depending on the weekly earnings, with an extra amount for dependent adults.

    If you have been receiving Illness Benefit for over six months, you can apply for Partial Capacity Benefit (PCB1), Disability Allowance (DA1), or Invalidity Pension (INV1).

    Waiting Period:

    You won't receive Illness Benefit for the first three days of your illness. These are known as waiting days, with Sunday not counted as a waiting day.

    Methods of Payment:

    You can choose to receive your Illness Benefit through your bank, building society, credit union, post office account, or by cheque under certain circumstances. It can also be paid directly to your employer if you provide your employer’s payment details on the application.

    How to Apply:

  • You must get a doctor to examine you.
  • You may have to pay for this exam, but the Certificate of Incapacity for Work is free.
  • Your doctor can complete your Certificate of Incapacity for Work electronically. If your certificate has not been completed electronically you must submit a paper copy to accompany your illness benefit application.
  • You can request an IB1 claim form from your GP. Alternatively, you can request an IB1 claim form by calling or emailing the Illness Benefit Section and providing your full name and address.
  • Include “Application Request” in the subject line of the email.
  • All completed certificates and forms should be sent to:

    Illness Benefit Section
    Address: Illness Benefit Section,
    Social Welfare Services,
    PO Box 1650,
    Dublin 1,

    Website: www.gov.ie/illnessbenefit
    Email: illnessbenefit@welfare.ie
    Phone number: 01 7043300 or 0818 928400