Claiming an allowance or appealing a decision can be daunting and we hope the information below is helpful. We’ve also provided some useful links to advisory services
Disability Benefits & Entitlements
Chronic Pain, may not, in all instances, be categorised as a disability for the purposes of claiming benefits, so your entitlement to benefits will to a large degree depend on how your disabling condition is reported in a medical report and how it is looked upon and interpreted by the relevant decision makers. You should take note of the definition of ‘disability’ as per the Disability Act 2005 and it is as follows.
“disability”, in relation to a person, means a substantial restriction in the capacity of the person to carry on a profession, business or occupation in the State or to participate in social or cultural life in
the State by reason of an enduring physical, sensory, mental health or intellectual impairment;
Many claims are rejected because of an inadequate medical report. It is insufficient for your physician just to state that you have Chronic Pain and that you should get the Disability Allowance. Your claim is assessed by a medical team working for the Department of Social Welfare and the medical report must contain as much detail as possible. For example; what type of Chronic Pain does the patient have e.g. FBSS, CRPS, Fibromyalgia, Neuropathic Pain; what impact has the illness had on the ability to work, travel and on relationships; what treatments are recommended and what is the prognosis. The more detail the better the chance of success.
If you are claiming an allowance there are some useful links below. Remember if your application has been rejected there is an appeals process. The Department of Social Welfare have a protocol in place for assessing chronic pain.
Illness Benefit is a payment made to individuals (aged 66 and under) unable to work due to illness.
Invalidity Pension is a payment that may be paid where individual cannot work due to a long-term illness or disability and are covered by social insurance (PRSI).
Disability Allowance is a weekly payment to individuals where injury, illness or disability is expected to last more than a year.
Treatment Benefit Scheme provides dental, optical and aural services to individuals with the required number of PRSI contributions.
Partial Capacity Benefit is a scheme to support people on Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension who want to return to work.
Occupational Injuries Scheme - provision of a range of benefits for those injured or incapacitated by an accident at work or while travelling directly to or from work. (see below)
Occupational Injury Scheme
This scheme relates to people injured or incapicated who as a result of an accident at work, or when directly travelling to or from work end up with Chronic Pain, or whose work directly caused their condition - then they may be entitled to make a claim under the Occupational Injury Scheme. The scheme also covers people who have contracted a disease as a result of the type of work they do. There are a number of benefits available and there are different conditions attached to each benefit.
Claims can be made for any of the following benefits which are explained in more detail below:
- Injury Benefit
- Disablement Benefit
- Incapacity Supplement (see below)
- Constant Attendance Allowance (see below)
- Medical Care Scheme
Incapacity Supplement is a weekly supplement, which may be paid if you are not eligible for Illness Benefit or another social welfare payment. To get the supplement you must be getting Disablement Pension and be permanently incapable of work.
Constant Attendance Allowance is a weekly allowance, which you may be paid if you are getting Disablement Benefit and are so seriously disabled as to need someone to help you daily at home to attend to your personal needs.
If you incur medical costs as a result of your occupational injury or disease, you can claim for the cost of certain expenses which are not already covered by the Health Service Executive or through the Treatment Benefit Scheme under the Medical Care Scheme.
The cost of private or semi-private accommodation and treatment can not be recouped under the Occupational Injuries Scheme.
There are some Rules govering applications as follows: In general people in employment insurable at PRSI Class A, D, J or M (Class M only where the employee is under 16 years of age) are covered in full for Occupational Injuries Benefits.
Civil servants recruited prior to April 1995 and insured at Class B may only qualify for limited Occupational Injuries Benefits.
Education and Training Board trainees, people on employment schemes and people over 66 who are working are covered for Occupational Injuries Benefits.
Unlike other social insurance benefits, it is not necessary to have a set number of PRSI contributions to qualify. It is simply necessary to be in employment that is insurable for Occupational Injuries.
Civil law claims for damages: The Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance (RBA) Scheme enables the Department of Social Protection to recover the value of certain illness-related social welfare payments as a consequence of personal injuries claims. They are recovered from the compensator and not from the injured person. Read more about the scheme.
For more information and asssitance with above:
For confidential, independent and the most up to date information on your entitlements contact your local Citizens Information Bureau and if you have a question about this topic you can contact them via Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm).
You may also wish to avail of The National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities (NAS) services. The National Advocacy Service (NAS) is an organisation which helps adults with disabilities. NAS provides a free and confidential advocacy service to adults with a disability, aged 18 years and over. NAS has a particular remit to work with people with disabilities who are in vulnerable situations, such as people who are isolated from their community of choice or mainstream society, may communicate differently and who have limited formal or natural supports. Visit the advocacy.ie website to find out more about their service and how to use it.
In addition to the above main social welfare payments there are additional payments that you may be eligible to claim: These include:
- Free Travel
- Fuel Allowance
- Household Benefits
- Rent Supplement / Allowance
- Carer's Support Grant
- Diet and Heating Supplements
- Exceptional and Urgent Need Payments
- Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance
Further supports including:
- Tax relief for disabled drivers and disabled passengers
- Motorised Transport Grant
- Mobility Allowance
- Mobility training for people with visual impairments
- Disabled Person's Parking Card
- Parking facilities for people with disabilities
If you are working you may be eligible to apply for the following:
- Disability payments and work
- Further Education and Training (FET) courses
- Community Employment
- Partial Capacity Benefit (for people on Illness Benefit for at least 6 months or on Invalidity Pension only)
- Rural Social Scheme
- Wage Subsidy Scheme
- Workplace/equipment adaptation grants
- Supported employment scheme
- Job interview interpreter grants
- Personal reader grants
Health Services and Community Supports
- Medical card
- GP Visit card
- Home Support Service
- Day centres and day care
- Respite Care
- Health services for people with disabilities
- Nursing Homes Support Scheme
- Mental health services
- Chiropody services
- Occupational therapy services
- Physiotherapy services
- Public health nurses
Applications for benefits: Occupational Injuries Section, Department of Social Protection, Áras Mhic Dhiarmada, Store Street, Dublin 1.
Medical Assessment Criteria for Chronic Pain - know your rights
Medical Assessment Criteria for Chronic Pain
People with Chronic Pain who have an outstanding compensation claim or have an income protection policy or even seeking a social welfare benefit have been in the past sent to healthcare professionals who do not have training in Pain Medicine. Chronic Pain Ireland believes you should only be assessed by a specialist in the field of Pain Medicine. The following is an extract from the Irish Medical Council’s newsletter.
Pain Medicine: What you need to know:
The Medical Council recognises 57 medical specialties for the purposes of specialist registration in Ireland. This article explains the specialty of Pain Medicine, which was recognised in 2014.
What is Pain Medicine?
Pain Medicine involves the diagnosis and treatment of patients with chronic pain (lasting more than 3 months), cancer pain and the prevention of acute pain (classically postoperative pain) becoming chronic. It is practiced internationally on a multidisciplinary basis informed by the latest developments in neuroscience.
What do patients need to know?
The specialty of Pain Medicine is concerned with the diagnosis of the cause of pain, prevention of chronicity of pain, treatment and rehabilitation. Pain Medicine specialists can treat a range of conditions, from spinal pain such as back and neck pain, cancer pain, chronic headache and nerve pain such as trigeminal neuralgia. Patients can talk to their GP to see if a referral to a pain medicine specialist would assist in the management of pain.
What do doctors need to know?
The Faculty of Pain Medicine of the College of Anaesthetists is responsible for training, education and standards of practice in Pain Medicine in Ireland. There is a National Training Scheme. A Consultant in Pain Medicine possesses a Certificate of Specialist Training in a prior specialty such as Anaesthesia, has completed a two-year full-time training programme in recognized training posts and passed both parts of the Faculty of Pain Medicine examination. Referring doctors can contact the Faculty of Pain Medicine, CAI for contact details of Pain Medicine specialists in Ireland.