Sickness Benefit - Frequently Asked Question

1.  How are Contribution Credits Awarded?
 
Any person submitting medical certificates and receiving Sickness Benefit, or any person who although submitting medical certificates is not receiving Sickness Benefit, may qualify for contribution credits. This means, that while receiving Sickness Benefit that person is not liable to pay the relevant social security contributions. In Sickness Benefit claims, contribution credits are granted provided the following criteria are satisfied:
 
A) Any employed person over 18 years of age, who due to sickness has not earned his/her salary/wage for a whole calendar week, is entitled to one contribution credit, provided on the date of claim for Sickness Benefit that:
 
i) s/he has paid not less than fifty contributions since starting work, and
ii) s/he has paid or has at least twenty contributions or contributions credits in the last two full contribution years immediately before the start of the benefit year during which the claim is submitted.
 
B) Any self-occupied person is entitled to a contribution credit provided s/he receives Sickness Benefit for a whole calendar week. Persons under 18 years of age are entitled to a contribution credit even if only one contribution was paid.
 
 
2.  Are claims for Sicknesss Benefit always accepted, and if not, can the claimant do anything about that?
 
No, claims for Sickness Benefit are not accepted automatically. The Director of Social Security, or his/her representative may either accept or reject a claim. In each case, every applicant is informed in writing about the decision taken and the reasons leading to such decision. If a claim is rejected or not accepted in full, the claimant may appeal against the Director’s decision before the Social Security Umpire. The appeal must be lodged in writing within 30 days and they must be presented to the Secretary to the Umpire, 19, Blokk C, Beltissebh, Floriana, FRN 1700.
 
 
3.  How is Sickness Benefit paid?
 
A. Persons on Full Pay:
 
i) Persons Employed by the Private Sector or Self-Occupied The Sickness Benefit is paid by direct credit. The payment is issued every week on a Friday after the insured person receives official notification that indicates the rate and effective date of payment. Benefit is paid from the fourth day of incapacity. In the case of employees, the payment issued by the Department is to be handed to the employer by the employee, if the employer pays the employee full wage when s/he is on sick leave. It depends on the agreement between the employer and the employee.
 
ii) Persons who are Employed by the Government and other Organizations An employee still receiving a salary or wage, who is employed with the Government, Enemalta, Central Bank, Bank of Valletta, HSBC (except call centre), Malta Drydocks, PBS, MEPA and Housing Authority is paid directly by the employer. Therefore, no payments will be issued to the claimant.
 
B. Persons on Half-Pay:
 
i) Government Departments
 
Those employees receiving less then full pay have this pay reduced if necessary so that the amount paid together with the Sickness Benefit does not exceed full pay. The payments will be
effected from the employing Department with his/her pay/salary.
 
ii) Other organizations mentioned in A
 
(i) Those employees working with the organizations or Para-Statal Bodies mentioned in A (ii) are, when on half-pay, are to refer to the Collective Agreement to check about the amount they are
entitled to be paid from their employers. No amount is issued directly to employee as the sum due is transferred directly to the employer.
 
iii) Private Employer
 
The provisions of the Collective Agreement are to be applied in the case of workers working in the private sector. Where there is no collective agreement the provisions of the relevant Wage
Regulations Order are to be applied.
 
C. Persons on No Pay:
 
i) Persons on no pay/salary are entitled to have the whole amount received from the Department of Social Security.
ii) In the case of Government employees and other organizations and Para-Statal Bodies mentioned in A (ii) have to claim Sickness Benefit from the Department of Social Security as other insured persons.
 
 
4.  For how long is Sickness Benefit paid?
 
The applicant is entitled to one day Sickness Benefit for each contribution paid unless this does not exceed 156 days in a period of one calendar year. However, if the applicant has undergone a major surgical intervention or suffers from serious injuries/diseases which require long-term medical treatment before returning to work, s/he may, on approval by the Director of Social Security following the recommendation by a medical panel, be entitled to further days unless these do not exceed 468 days in a period of two calendar years.
 

 

5.  Can the duration of Sickness Benefit be extended?
 
A person who is already in receipt of Sickness Benefit and who needs to extend this may re-qualify for further payments. However, before this payment is granted, s/he shall have to submit a new medical certificate from his doctor or consultant and write a letter in which s/he states that s/he wished to extend his/her Sickness Benefit. One can post or submit these documents to any District Office. Then s/he will be examined by a Medical Panel to certify that in that particular moment, the person is not fit to resume work but may resume work later.
 
 
6.  What is the rate of payment for Sickness Benefit?

For the Sickness Benefit rates as per year 2016, please click here.
 
 
7.  Are self-occupied persons entitled to this Benefit?
 
Any self-occupied person is entitled to receive Sickness Benefit provided s/he full fills the contribution conditions laid down by the Social Security Act, and that the annual income from his/her occupation exceeded €910 during the calendar year immediately preceding the date of claim for the benefit.