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Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (458)

Claire Kerrane


458. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 429 of 23 November 2021, if her attention has been drawn to delays in processing Covid-19 enhanced illness benefit applications in recent weeks; the processes her Department is putting in place to ensure those who contract Covid-19 or are close contacts and cannot go to work can avail of the scheme immediately; the average waiting time from application to approval for Covid-19 enhanced illness benefit for November and December 2021 in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [61988/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Covid Illness Benefit (Enhanced Illness Benefit) is a scheme that was introduced in March 2020, to support people who are incapable of work or who are required to self-isolate, as a result of a Covid diagnosis or being a probable source of infection. To date a total of 217,313 Covid Illness Benefit related claims have been processed.

The majority of the standard Illness Benefit claims are automatically processed once medical evidence has been received from the customer; where an application is received and an e-Cert is submitted by a GP.

Over the past four weeks an average of some 8,000 Covid Illness Benefit applications have been received weekly with approximately 15,100 received since the beginning of December. The medical evidence provided for the majority of these claims is a text from the HSE advising the person to self-isolate or that they have a Covid diagnosis. All of these claims require manual officer intervention to verify that the medical evidence provided by the customer is valid for payment.

Claims made between 29 November and 05 December, where medical evidence has been provided, are currently being processed. My Department has take a number of measures to reduce processing times including the temporary redeployment of staff from across the Department and system changes to increase automation within the process. It is expected that these measures will improve these timelines over the coming weeks.

It is not possible to differentiate between Illness Benefit and Enhanced Illness Benefit in claim processing statistics. Processing statistics for Illness Benefit for November and December 2021 are set out in the table below; these figures are inclusive of Enhanced Illness Benefit in payment for the month. The figures for December are up to and including the 10th of the month.

A substantial number of claims received do not have appropriate medical evidence which significantly adds to decision delays.


Claims Registered

% awarded within 7 days