Partial Capacity Benefit (PCB) allows a person who has been in receipt of Invalidity Pension or Illness Benefit (the latter for a minimum of six months) and who may not have full capacity for work, to return to employment or self-employment and continue to receive a partial or full payment. There are no restrictions on earnings from employment or number of hours worked under the PCB scheme.
PCB extends the illness benefit and invalidity pension schemes to recognise and respond to the reality that some people with disabilities have a capacity to engage in employment while continuing to need to receive some income support from the State.
From 2012, PCB replaced the previous process whereby people had to apply to the Department to seek an exemption for work that was rehabilitative or therapeutic in nature, and keep their social welfare payment. PCB allows persons to continue to receive, in addition to their earnings from employment, all or a percentage of their illness benefit or invalidity pension payment rate while working.
The personal rate of payment of PCB is based on a medical assessment of a person’s restriction regarding their capacity for work, whether the person was in receipt of Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension and their current rate of payment. After the medical assessment, if a person's disability is rated as moderate, severe or profound their previous payment continues at 50%, 75% or 100% respectively.
PCB has been designed so that:
- There is no requirement that a person must only undertake work that is of a rehabilitative or therapeutic nature. Therefore no exemption needs to be applied for from the Department;
- There is no restriction on the number of hours worked;
- There is no restriction on earnings;
- A person who participates on the PCB scheme may return to an Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension payment if, for example, the employment ceases or if the person cannot continue to work;
- A person on PCB, with an underlying entitlement to IP, will retain their Free Travel Pass for a period of five years, that is for five years while in employment.
PCB scheme supports people in receipt of IB or IP to return to work while also continuing to provide them with income support through the social welfare system.