ex-gratia scheme | 

Families of healthcare workers who died of Covid invited to apply for €100k payment

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the death in service ex-gratia scheme is now open for applications

Mural of a healthcare worker.© PA

Eilish O'Regan and Seoirse MulgrewIndependent.ie

Families of health staff who died after contracting Covid-19 in the workplace are being invited to apply for a €100,000 ex-gratia payment.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the death in service ex-gratia scheme is now open for applications.

Some 23 healthcare workers have died having contracted Covid-19 as of August 17, most of which occurred in the first year of the pandemic.

He said that “following cabinet approval for the scheme in March this year, the Department of Health has worked with Pobal to put in place a straightforward application process for impacted families.

"The scheme consists of a tax-free payment of €100,000 to the estate of any healthcare worker who has died having contracted Covid-19 in the course of their work.”

He added that eligibility has been specified broadly with all healthcare workers designated ‘essential’ during the first phases of the pandemic included.

This includes GPs and others working in primary care, as well as administrative staff.

It also includes disability services staff, private staff in nursing homes and throughout the healthcare system .

“This payment is in addition to any other arrangements a person may have in place or benefit that may be payable on death and does not impact their legal rights. It will be made in addition to any other benefit that may be payable and is open to the families of workers from across the healthcare system who have passed away.

“Today is an important day and offers another means for us as a country to recognise the significant contribution our healthcare workers made to Ireland’s response to Covid-19. Since March 2020, we have asked them to assume an unknown level of risk in their work, and, unfortunately, many healthcare workers contracted COVID-19 in work and a small number sadly passed away.

“Myself and my colleagues in Government are aware of tragic cases where families have been left without income at a time of extraordinary grief. This payment offers some support from the state to provide for the family’s needs, while also serving as a real acknowledgement of the debt of gratitude all of us across the country feel to the extraordinary sacrifices of their loved ones.”

Applications for the Death in Service scheme will be made through Pobal, which works on behalf of Government to support communities and local agencies toward achieving social inclusion and development. Pobal have substantial experience in managing payment schemes. It is possible that some claims may be paid at end 2022, but the majority are expected in 2023.

Deaths where the whole or main cause of death is Covid-19 and where there is evidence virus in in the workplace around the time of infection will be approved for payment.

In circumstances where there is doubt over medical evidence, Pobal will seek an opinion from the Department of Health.

In cases where there is is doubt over cause of transmission, Pobal will seek evidence from the place of employment and from the applicant.

Payments will only be made to the “legal personal representative “ of the deceased - the executor of the will, or the administrator of the estate where the deceased died intestate.


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