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May 23, 2023

Long-Term Illness Benefit in Ireland: Applicable Benefits

Long-term illness benefit schemes in Ireland include Invalidity Pension and Disability Allowance. Learn more about them and other benefits you could apply for.

Aine Kavanagh

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Aine Kavanagh

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Social welfare payments like Illness Benefit can support people who cannot work due to an illness or disability.

But is it viable for a long-term illness?

Let’s explore:

How Long Can You Stay on Illness Benefit?

Illness Benefit (IB) is a social welfare payment covered by the Department of Social Protection in Ireland.

It’s different from Sick Pay, which your employer covers (as outlined in the Sick Leave Act 2022).

You can claim Illness Benefit if you:

  • Are under 66 years.

  • Get a Certificate of Incapacity for Work from a doctor.

  • Apply within 6 weeks of becoming ill.

  • Have the required class A, E, H, or P social insurance (PRSI) contributions.

Now, Illness Benefit is meant for short-term relief.

You can stay on its payments for at most:

  • 2 years (624 days) if you have at least 260 weeks of paid social insurance contributions since you started working OR

  • 1 year (312 days) if you have 104 - 259 weeks of paid PRSI contributions since you started working.

If your claim for Illness Benefit is denied because you’ll soon be turning 66, you should apply for a State Pension at least three months before your 66th birthday.

Looking for a long-term Illness Benefit payment?

If you’ve been receiving Illness Benefit for over six months, you could apply for benefits schemes with long-term payments. We’ll cover a few options next.

What Benefits Can You Get With a Long-Term Illness?

If you need more extended coverage than what Illness Benefit provides, you could apply for:

1. Invalidity Pension

Invalidity Pension is a payment for people who can’t work due to a long-term illness or disability.

Its rate of payment is €225.50 a week (plus more for dependants).

How to Qualify

You may qualify for Invalidity Pension if:

  • You have at least 260 weeks of paid PRSI contributions OR

  • You have at least 48 weeks of PRSI contributions in the last or second last complete contribution year before the start of your illness AND

  • You have been incapable of working for at least 12 months and will be unable to work for at least another 12 months (you can be on Illness Benefit during this time) OR

  • You are permanently incapable of work.

How to Apply

Fill in the Invalidity Pension Application Form (INV1) and submit it with supporting documents to:

Invalidity Benefit Section

Social Welfare Services Office

Government Buildings

Ballinalee Road


N39 E4E0

Contact numbers: 

  • (043) 334 0000

  • 0818 927 770

Email: [email protected]


2. Disability Allowance

Disability Allowance is a payment to people with a disability.

It pays €220 a week, plus extra for dependants.

This payment differs from Disablement Benefit, which is paid under the Occupational Injuries Benefit. You’d have to be injured at work to qualify for that.

How to Qualify

You may qualify for Disability Allowance if:

  • You’re between 16 and 66 years of age.

  • A doctor has certified:

    • You have an injury, disease, or disability (mental or physical) that has lasted or may last for at least one year.

    • You’re considerably restricted from working in conditions that would otherwise suit someone of your age, qualifications, or experience.

  • You live in Ireland and satisfy the habitual condition.

  • You pass a means test, which looks at any income you and your spouse or civil partner receive.

You can start full-time work while receiving disability payment, provided you inform the Department of Social Protection and submit proof of your earnings.

How to Apply

Complete the Disability Allowance Application Form (DA1) and submit it to:

Disability Allowance Section

Department of Social Protection

Social Welfare Services Office

Government Buildings

Ballinalee Road


N39 E4E0

Contact numbers: 

  • (043) 334 0000

  • 0818 927 770

Email: [email protected]


What Other Entitlement Can You Get for a Long-Term Illness or Disability?

Below are other entitlements that you could get.

1. Long-Term Illness Scheme

The long-term illness scheme is similar to the Medical Card or GP visit card scheme by the Health Service Executive (HSE). 

However, it only entitles you to free medicines, drugs, and medical appliances for the treatment of certain long-term medical conditions, like:

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)

  • Epilepsy

  • Intellectual disability

  • Mental health conditions (in people aged 16 and younger)

  • Muscular dystrophy


People with illnesses covered by this scheme who live in Ireland and intend to live there for at least a year.

2. Supplementary Welfare Allowance

Supplementary Welfare Allowance is a weekly payment for people who don’t earn enough to meet their family’s needs. 

Its pay rate starts from €129.70 or €218 per week, depending on your age and whether you live independently. 


People who live in Ireland and have no income (or low income based on the Supplementary Welfare Allowance rate for their family’s size).

You can also apply if you’re waiting for a social welfare payment to start while you have no other income.

3. Blind Pension

Blind Pension is a social welfare payment with a weekly rate of €220. It also entitles you to a Free Travel Pass (to travel on State transport in Ireland for free).


People with visual impairment who reside in Ireland.

4. Partial Capacity Benefit

Partial Capacity Benefit supports people who return to work or self-employment after experiencing a reduced capacity due to an illness. 

It entitles them to a social welfare payment of €110 or more, depending on the severity of their capacity restriction.


People who are (or were) receiving Illness Benefit (for at least six months) or Invalidity Pension. 

5. Domiciliary Care Allowance

Domiciliary Care Allowance is a payment for providing care to a child with a severe disability. 

It’s separate from Carer’s Allowance and pays €330 monthly per child you look after.


To qualify, the child must:

  • Be under 16 years of age

  • Have a severe disability that’s likely to last at least a year

  • Need continual care (substantially over that typically needed by a child of the same age)

  • Be a resident of Ireland

Moreover, the carer or the one claiming this benefit scheme must:

  • Provide care for the child

  • Be a habitual resident of Ireland

Support Your Employee’s Well-Being With Yonder

Illness Benefit, Invalidity Pension, and Disability Allowance provide income support to people who can’t work due to ill health or a disability.

As an employer, if you want to do more to support the well-being of your team, you could offer them the best health insurance packages.

That’s where Yonder can help.

With Yonder, an employer can:

  • Protect your employees with health insurance policies that have global coverage.

  • Automate benefit rollout to avoid broker and paperwork hassles.

  • Let your employees personalise their health and financial benefits.

Sign up with Yonder to strengthen your employees’ illness benefits in Ireland.

Aine Kavanagh

Article written by

Aine Kavanagh

👋🏻 Hi I'm Aine, Head of Customer Success at Yonder. Whether you're a Yonder customer, a Yonder user, or you're just browsing, I hope to help educate and empower those who want to know more about owning their own benefits, and building financial autonomy 📚

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