Illness Benefit payments - Statement from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection


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Illness Benefit payments - Statement from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

 

Tuesday, August 28


The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has recently introduced a new claim form (called “IB1”) and a new medical certificate (called “MED1”) to replace the previous MC1 and MC2 forms for certification of the Department’s Illness and Injury Benefit schemes. The introduction of new forms is designed to improve the administration of the  certification process and to make Illness and Injury benefit claim and payment procedures more efficient for everyone involved –patients, GPs, and the Department.  


The Department is ultimately moving to an online GP certification system for illness and Injury benefits- the same as that already in place for Opticians, Dentists and Audiologists who certify patients for Treatment Benefits. 


The new Illness Benefit certificates and claim forms are now scannable by the Department which dramatically reduces manual form processing. The Department is clear that the redesign of these forms does not create any additional work for GPs. In July, all GPs were contacted by the Department in respect of the changes and provided with stocks of the new claim forms and certificates, in advance of the changeover date of August 6th.  


The move to the new forms represents an important interim step on the move to online certification by GPs.  


The changes were discussed with the Irish Medical Organisation in advance and the Department welcomes their call to their members to use the new forms. The Department continues to engage with the IMO on this and related issues.  


At present, this new system is working very efficiently for GPs already using the new forms and their patients - our customers - are being paid their illness and injury benefits without delay.     


The Department can confirm that some GPs have continued to use the old forms after the changeover date. In order to facilitate the continued payment of Illness and Injury Benefit to our customers, to date the Department has continued to accept the old forms where provided.  


However, the Department will not be in a position to accept the old forms indefinitely. The old forms are not compatible with the new system and each requires significant manual inputting into the Department's payment systems. This requires the Department to manage two parallel processes in order to continue to pay customers their benefits and is not sustainable. 


The Department is again requesting that any GPs, who are not already using the new forms, consider the needs of their patients, and commence using the new forms immediately. Payment delays will unfortunately continue for our customers where old forms are used by GPs for certification and these delays are entirely avoidable and unnecessary. 


On an annual basis, the Department pays GPs approximately €18m in respect of certifications for Illness and Injury Schemes. The Department’s customers are, as ever, our central concern. Any person affected by a delay in their payment, and who is in need of financial assistance, is asked to contact their local Community Welfare Service at their local Intreo Centre.  


Our Community Welfare staff are aware of the payment delays and are already assisting customers affected. Customers who are unable to travel, by reason of illness or injury can contact their local Intreo Centre by phone and ask to speak with their Community Welfare Officer, who can make arrangement to assist them. 


The Department sincerely apologises to our customers for the impact of payment delays and is doing all it can to bring payments up to date as quickly as possible. It is expected that most payments will be up to date, including arrears due, by the middle of this week.  


Further information 

  • GPs can continue to certify patients under the current certification process - for one, four, or 26 weeks – using the new forms.  A new on-line service is available to GPs where they can re-order supplies of the new certificates directly.
  • The Department would also like to be clear that, as before, patients do not need to pay a fee to receive claim forms or medical certificates (IB1 and MED1 forms) from their GP, as the Department pays the doctor an agreed fee to provide them. 
  • Should any person seeking to make a claim for Illness Benefit or another scheme experience a difficulty in getting a claim form or a medical certificate from their GP, we would ask them to notify the Department directly.
  • Illness Benefit has always been administered centrally. The Department has a dedicated freepost address for customers to send their Illness Benefit forms/certs to Social Welfare Services, PO Box 1650, Dublin 1. For efficiency and convenience for our customers we are asking that they send their forms/certs to this address. However, if forms/certs are sent into a local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare office, they will be forwarded to the Illness Benefit section and will be processed as normal.
Last modified:28/08/2018