Patients in limbo over illness benefit payments delay - John Brady TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs & Social Protection John Brady TD has criticised Minister Regina Doherty for making mess of the changes to the application process for Illness Benefit.
Patients are now facing delays in receiving illness benefit, due to a row over new forms, between GPs and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Illness Benefit is payable to those who cannot work due to illness once they have the necessary PRSI contributions.
Teachta Brady said:
“Last month saw the quiet introduction of changes to the way in which individuals apply for Illness Benefit. The old MC1 form has been replaced by a new claim form called IB1 and a new medical certificate called MED1. Both forms are said to be available through the local GP.
“However, it has come to my attention that a number of GPs are not making the new forms available to patients citing the short notice from the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection in introducing the new application process. GPs have cited a ‘significant’ workload involved in the changeover.
"In response to this, a number of GPs intend to return the new forms to the Department and instead, continue to use the old forms.
“It is clear that the Department failed to consult GPs with reasonable notice ahead of introducing these changes and is now playing catch up to try and get them on board with the new process. This mess has left patients in limbo.
“This is not the first time that we have seen a situation like this involving the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection. The announcement of the extension of dental benefits to the self-employed caused a dispute with dentists last year.
“The question has to be asked as to why Minister Doherty went ahead and introduced these changes without agreement from those expected to provide the forms.”