What financial supports are available for people unable to work due to illness/ disability?

South Munster Citizens Information has provided a Know Your Rights piece, with information around the supports available for people who are unable to work due to illness or disability
What financial supports are available for people unable to work due to illness/ disability?

There are a number of illness-related Social Welfare payments.

Q. What social welfare supports are there for people who have to take time off work due to illness?

There are a number of illness related SW payments. If you are working as an employee and have enough PRSI paid, you will generally go on to Illness Benefit first. This payment is not available to self-employed people. It is paid for a maximum of two years. Illness Benefit is not linked to your employer’s policy on pay for sick leave. Whether your employer pays you or not while you are out sick from work, you should apply for Illness Benefit from the first day of your illness.

Q. Are there specific supports for people who are injured or incapacitated due to a work related incident?

The Occupational Injuries Scheme provides benefits for people injured or incapacitated by an accident at work or while travelling directly to or from work. The scheme also covers people who have contracted a disease as a result of the type of work they do. You should contact Citizens Information for more details

Q. What happens if someone is still unable to go back to work after 2 years or has a long term illness?

Invalidity Pension is a weekly payment to people who cannot work because of a long-term illness or disability and are covered by social insurance (PRSI). At 66, you transfer automatically to the State Pension (Contributory) at the full rate.

Q. What happens if you do not have enough PRSI contributions for Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension?

In this situation, if you have a long-term illness or disability that has continued for at least one year or is expected to continue for at least one year and as a result you are substantially restricted from taking up suitable employment you may apply for Disability Allowance. This is a means tested payment.

If you have a short-term illness e.g. broke a bone and you do not qualify for Illness Benefit, your only option would be to apply for Supplementary Welfare Allowance which is a short-term emergency payment. This is also means tested.

Q. If a situation arises where somebody has been off work and on an Illness related social welfare payment but feels that they would like to go back to work but are unable to do so on a full-time basis due to their health issue- have they any options?

If you have been getting Illness Benefit (for a minimum of 6 months) or Invalidity Pension and wish to return to work, you may qualify for Partial Capacity Benefit if your capacity for work is reduced by your medical condition.

You should complete the application form for Partial Capacity Benefit & return it to the Department of Social Protection. You may not work until you have received written approval to do so from them. There is no restriction on earnings or number of hours you can work.

Q. Is it different if you are getting Disability Allowance?

If you are receiving the means tested Disability Allowance and you start work, you need to notify the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and provide proof of your earnings. A wage slip, your contract of employment or a letter from your employer can be used as proof of your earnings.

You can work and earn up to €140 a week (after paying PRSI, pension contributions and union dues) without your DA payment being affected. Amounts over this will impact on your social welfare payment.

Q. There is a lot of information here- so if someone would like more information what should they do?

For anyone needing information, advice or who have an advocacy issue, they can call a member of the local Citizens Information team in Cork City at 0818 07 6950 (City Centre) or 0818 07 6850 (City North), they will be happy to assist and make an appointment if necessary.

Lines are open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4.30pm.

Alternatively, you can email us at cork@citinfo.ie or hollyhill@citinfo.ie or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie for further information.

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