I propose to take Questions Nos. 2672 and 2673 together.
Illness Benefit is a payment for people who cannot work due to illness and who satisfy the Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions of the scheme.
Persons who were in receipt of Illness Benefit prior to January 2009, when the maximum period of two years was introduced for new claims, retained their entitlement to claim Illness Benefit beyond two years once they continue to satisfy the medical and other criteria of the scheme. Therefore, such persons continue to receive an Illness Benefit payment by providing ongoing medical evidence of their incapacity for work. Those persons in receipt of Illness Benefit also receive PRSI credited contributions for the duration of their claim.
It is open to persons who are in receipt of Illness Benefit to apply for any other social protection scheme if they consider that they fulfil the qualifying conditions of that scheme and their eligibility will be assessed by the Department in accordance with the relevant scheme criteria.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.