Social Welfare Assistance
Your healthcare team should be able to recommend a medical social worker in the hospital you are attending to discuss benefits you might be able to receive. These might be especially useful if you’re on a low income or are unemployed. If you’re worried you can ask to speak with an adviser as soon as possible after your diagnosis.
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 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.
You may be entitled to the following:
This 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 getting either Illness Benefit (for a minimum of 6 months) or Invalidity Pension.
This is a long-term social assistance payment for those aged 16-65 with a disability expected to last at least one year.
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 may also be eligible for:
• The Long Term Illness Scheme;
• The Drug Payment Scheme
• A Medical Card; or
• a GP Visit Card.
Apply to your Local Health Office in the Health Service Executive.
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.
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.