Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Illness Benefit Eligibility

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Limerick City, Fianna Fail)
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1226. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if changes are envisaged in June 2020 to illness benefit for Covid-19 related absences in terms of rate or eligibility criteria; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5944/20]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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The purpose of the enhanced Illness Benefit payment in respect of COVID-19 is to encourage people to not go to work due to financial constraint when they should be in isolation.  The rate of payment is higher than the normal maximum personal rate for a limited period.  The measures were designed to ensure that where a registered medical practitioner or a HSE medical officer of health diagnoses a person with COVID-19 or identifies him or her as a probable source of infection of COVID-19, that the person can comply with medical advice to isolate.

It is important that employees and the self-employed comply with public health advice to self-isolate where appropriate, while having their income protected to the greatest extent possible.  This is essential to limit and slow down the spread of the virus, to keep the number of people affected to a minimum, and to reduce a peak of cases which would cause extreme pressure on the health system.

The rate of the enhanced  Illness Benefit payment for Covid-19 is €350 per week, with additional payments possible in respect of a qualified adult and qualified children.  The payment is made for a defined maximum period for each of the two situations listed.  The current rate and eligibility criteria will continue to be available until at least 19th June.

The Department is engaged in ongoing consideration of specific and appropriate responses to this situation as it evolves.  Any future decision will have to be considered in the context of public health and fiscal policy.

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