Benefits for people who are sick or have a disability


There are a number of social welfare payments for people who are sick or who have a disability. Payments are made either by the Department of Social Protection or the Health Service Executive (HSE). To qualify for a social welfare payment because you are sick or have a disability you must be certified as sick or disabled by a doctor.

You can qualify for certain payments if you are sick for just a short time. For other payments you need to show that you have an illness or disability that will last longer than one year. Some social welfare disability payments are based on your PRSI contributions. If you do not have enough PRSI contributions you may qualify for a similar social assistance payment, however, you must be habitually resident and pass a means test.

Illness Benefit is intended for those with a short-term illness. Invalidity Pension is a long-term payment. Illness Benefit and Invalidity Pension are both social insurance payments based on your PRSI contributions. COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit is paid if a worker is told to self-isolate, restrict their movements or is diagnosed with COVID-19.

Partial Capacity Benefit is a scheme which allows you to return to work (if you have reduced capacity to work) and continue to receive a payment from the Department of Social Protection. To qualify for Partial Capacity Benefit you need to be in receipt of either Illness Benefit (for a minimum of 6 months) or Invalidity Pension.

Disability Allowance is a long-term social assistance payment for those aged 16-65 with a disability expected to last at least one year. Blind Pension is also a long-term social assistance payment. If you are blind or have low vision and you are getting Blind Pension or Disability Allowance you may also qualify for Blind Welfare Allowance.

The Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme applies to work related injuries and diseases. If you are injured at work (or traveling directly to or from it) or have contracted a disease due to the type of work you do you may qualify for benefits under this scheme.

If you are sick and do not qualify for any payment you may be eligible for Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

Generally, social welfare payments are made up of a personal payment for yourself and extra amounts for your dependent spouse, civil partner or cohabitant and your dependent children.

Other payments

If you are getting a social welfare payment you may qualify for additional financial support because of your illness or disability, for example, under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme you can apply for a Heating Supplement, if you have exceptional heating expenses due to ill-health or infirmity.

You could be eligible for the Long Term Illness Scheme or a medical card or a GP Visit Card. Apply to your Local Health Office in the Health Service Executive. Find out more about health services for people with disabilities.

There are concessions for disabled drivers and passengers and local authority grants to adapt your home. There are also tax benefits available to people that are sick or have a disability.

If someone is providing you with full-time care they may qualify for a carer's payment.

Recovery of personal injury-related benefits and assistance

Under the Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance (RBA) Scheme the Department of Social Protection can recover the value of certain illness-related social welfare payments from compensation awards made following non-fatal personal injuries claims. The value of the social welfare payments are recovered from the compensator and not from the injured person who is getting a social welfare payment.

The payments that can be recovered under the RBA Scheme are:

Compensation payments may be made as a result of a court or Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) order or as a result of an agreement between the 2 parties. In both cases a statement of recoverable benefits and assistance must be requested by a compensator or the PIAB from the RBA Section in the Department of Social Protection using the RBA01 form (pdf).

The National Advocacy Service

The National Advocacy Service (NAS) provides independent, confidential and free advocacy for people with disabilities - in particular people who are isolated from their community and services, have communication differences, are inappropriately accommodated, live in residential services or attend day services and have limited supports. Advocates can help you to claim your entitlements and access services. If you want to use this service, you must contact the National Advocacy Service.

Page edited: 3 January 2023