Social Protection Minister, Heather Humphreys, T.D., has today re-assured workers who have been diagnosed with Covid-19, or certified by a medical doctor to self-isolate because they are a probable source of Covid-19, that her Department’s Enhanced Illness Benefit payment is available to them.

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, are entitled to claim and receive the special Covid-19 Illness Benefit payment.

Earlier this week, Minister Humphreys secured Government approval to extend the duration of the Enhanced Illness Benefit scheme until March 31st next year.

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 4 weeks immediately before claiming the payment.

How to apply:

The quickest and easiest for way to apply is online at .  Application forms are also available from the Department by contacting us at (01) 704 3300.

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 6 days of their claim.  This requirement has been waived for Enhanced Illness Benefit.


If you think you might have Covid and you need to call your GP – these Covid-19 related consultations and all referrals for a test are covered by the HSE and so are free. The test is also free.


The personal rate of payment is €350 per week, as compared with the normal Illness Benefit rate of €203 per week.

The Enhanced Illness Benefit is paid for:

  • two weeks where a person is medically certified to self-isolate, and
  • for a maximum of ten weeks where a person is medically certified as being diagnosed with Covid-19.

Minister Humphreys commented:

“Covid-19 has brought many challenges to every individual, family, household and workplace throughout the State.  I want to re-assure 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.

“Where a person has a concern, they can contact my Department’s Illness Benefit section directly and speak with an official who will advise them how to claim the payment and answer any questions they may have.”

Pandemic Unemployment Payment

The Minister also emphasised that employees who are non-nationals and employees who live in Direct Provision Centres also have access, if temporarily laid-off without pay, due to Covid-19 to claim the special Pandemic Unemployment Payment and that this payment will be paid with effect from when they were temporarily laid-off.

“I want to make sure that all workers whose employment has been temporarily suspended due to a forced closure of a business as a result of Covid-19 can access the necessary income supports. This includes workers who live in Direct Provision Centres. Most employers will continue to pay workers in these circumstances using the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme but where an employer cannot continue to pay the worker directly then that worker should claim the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.”

The easiest way for people to apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is online at When applying, people should provide the name of their employer and details of their last day of employment.

The Minister concluded:

“The key message is any worker, including a non-national or a person who lives in a Direct Provision Centre, who is medically certified to stay away from work and self-isolate should claim the Enhanced Illness Benefit immediately and stay safe. If their employer’s business closes temporarily due to Covid-19 but they themselves are not required to self-isolate then, if their employer is not continuing to pay them, they should claim the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.”

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