Workers diagnosed with Covid-19 or certified to self-isolate can claim special illness benefit

Government says all employees and self-employed are entitled to €350 payment

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said that earlier this week the Government had approved the extension of the enhanced illness benefit scheme until March next year. File photograph: Julien Behal/PA

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said that earlier this week the Government had approved the extension of the enhanced illness benefit scheme until March next year. File photograph: Julien Behal/PA

 

The Government has assured workers who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 or certified by doctors to self-isolate as they are a probable source of infection, that they can receive the special €350 coronavirus illness benefit.

The Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said on Friday that all employees (other than some public sector employees who pay a modified rate of social insurance) and self-employed, including non-nationals and people living in Direct Provision, were entitled to claim and receive the special Covid-19 Illness Benefit payment.

She said that earlier this week the Government had approved the extension of the enhanced illness benefit scheme until March 31st next year.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection said: “To receive this payment an employee must:

* be diagnosed with a Covid-19 infection as certified by a registered medical practitioner or, be certified by a registered medical practitioner to self-isolate;

* be aged between 18 and 66 years;

* be employed or self-employed and have worked in the four weeks preceding their ‘declared certified from date’

* have a contract of employment (if an employee); and

* have at least one paid qualifying social insurance contribution in the four weeks immediately before claiming the payment.

“No waiting days are applied to Covid-19 claims, meaning that the payment starts on the first day that the person is medically certified as being unfit to attend work. In normal circumstances, people who claim illness benefit are not paid for the first six days of their claim. This requirement has been waived for enhanced illness benefit.”

The department said that the enhanced illness benefit was paid for two weeks where a person was medically certified to self-isolate, and for a maximum of 10 weeks where a person was medically certified as being diagnosed with Covid-19.

Ms Humphreys said: “I want to reassure people today that the enhanced illness benefit is available to people who need to claim this payment. I particularly want to ensure that non-nationals and people living in direct provision are fully aware of this payment and how they should claim it.”

“I have asked the officials in my department to work with their colleagues in the Department of Justice to ensure that every direct provision centre is provided with this information and for it to be communicated to everyone living in the centres without delay.”