Illness Benefit Processing Frequently Asked Questions

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Illness Benefit Processing -
Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How did the ‘old’ system of paying illness benefit work?
Under the old system payments were made weekly in arrears to claimants and claims were processed using manual data-entry. As an example this meant that if a person submitted a claim on Monday 30th July and was certified ill until, say,  Friday 3rd August the Department would manually key-in the claim form and  issue the first payment in the week of 6th August. If an illness lasted a number of weeks, payments would run on a scheduled weekly basis and the last payment would actually issue in the first week that a person returned to work.

Q2:   How does the new system work?
Under the new system people are paid at a current date ’based on the ‘certified to’ date provided by their GP and claims are scanned rather than manually keyed-in. When the Department receive illness certificates at its processing centre in Dublin they are scanned and processed on the same day and payment issues – normally with a few days delay for bank transfers etc. However in most cases people will be paid within seven days of the date of receipt of their claim. In the above example the person would in all likelihood receive their payment by Thursday 2nd August at the latest. The advantage of this approach is that people get paid earlier.

Q3:   How has this changeover affected the timing of payments?
As a consequence of the changeover to the new system some people received an additional payment in the weeks after of the new system went live in August  - one payment being the arrears payment carried over from the old system and one payment being the ‘current date’ payment made on the new system. This arose because, in the above example, as the changeover happened in the week of 6th August then a person with a continuing claim could be paid twice in that week  – the payment in arrears for the week ending Friday 3rd August and the current or ‘real-time’ payment for the week ending 10th August. A subsequent rebalancing was applied later to payments but ultimately, over the complete period of the illness the full sum a person was entitled to will be paid out.
With respect to timing and payments, customers are strongly encouraged to attend their GP early in subsequent weeks of illness and/or ensure that their GP certifies their illness forward in the current week.

Q4:   Are the value of payments affected by the change?
No all claims are paid in both the old and new systems up to the final certified date. Accordingly the total value of payments made to any customer over the course of an illness is the same under both systems.

Q5:   Why have some customers received split or fragmented payments - e.g. two payments each week one of €33 and one of €165?
         To ease the move from ‘payment in arrears’ to ‘payment in a current week’ an auto-certificate process was temporarily implemented to ensure continuity of payment in the period from August to October. This was done to ensure a minimum of a complete week’s payment in each week after the new system went live. This process has now ceased (from 10 October) meaning, in a ‘current week’ environment, that some customers received a partial week’s payment (to the date of certification) in the past week.

Q6:   I have submitted all of my certificates on time but am still awaiting payment – why?
The Department processes approximately 9,000 illness benefit claim transactions per day. The Department is currently investigating a number of cases where customers have advised us that, notwithstanding that they have submitted all of their certificates, they have experienced unexpected payment delays.

Q7:   I have tried to contact the Department but I cannot get through/get a response what will I do?
Given the change in the payment system the Department is dealing with a large number of enquiries leading to long delays in telephone call answering. We apologise for these delays and wish to thank customers for their patience and forbearance.
In order to address this issue the Department has recruited 30 additional staff to take on claim processing to enable other experienced staff to be dedicated to call answering. The Department will be shortly deploying a further 25 staff, once training is completed, to call answering.
Customers with queries can contact 1890 928 400. Alternatively, customers with access to email can also submit enquiries to


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Last modified:16/10/2018