COVID-19 (coronavirus) is a new virus that has not previously been seen in humans.
The Government has announced that the Illness Benefit and Supplementary Welfare Allowance rules will be changed to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus. The changes mean that if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19 and are medically required to self-isolate, you can get income support.
Legislation is required to implement these changes and emergency legislation is being prepared.
The main changes are:
- You will not have to wait 6 days before you can apply for Illness Benefit. This means Illness Benefit can cover the first week of a COVID-19 diagnosis (or medically-required self-isolation) and any subsequent weeks.
- The personal rate of Illness Benefit will increase from €203 to €305 per week for up to 2 weeks if you are medically required to self-isolate, or for the duration of your medically-certified absence from work with a COVID-19 diagnosis.
- The normal social insurance requirements for Illness Benefit will be waived, if you are medically required to self-isolate or you are diagnosed with COVID-19.
- You can get Supplementary Welfare Allowance without having to pass a means test, if you don’t qualify for Illness Benefit and you are medically required to self-isolate or diagnosed with COVID-19.
The Government has also stated that self-employed people will be able to get either Illness Benefit or Supplementary Welfare Allowance.
If you have coronavirus symptoms or you are medically required to self-isolate, you should not visit an Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office. You can get information about applying for social welfare payments through MyWelfare and you can call 1890 800 024 or (01) 248 1398.
If you are already getting a social welfare payment or you are on an employment programmes such as Community Employment (CE) and Tús or a funded training and education programme, you do not need to apply for Illness Benefit. Your existing payment will continue to be paid if you are affected by coronavirus.