Sickness Benefit in Cyprus
The sickness benefit is paid to the employed or self-employed persons who are working and paying contributions in Cyprus and who are incapable of work for a limited period of time due to sickness or illness.
The sickness benefit beneficiaries are allowed to receive at the same time another social benefit or pension from the Government, as long as they satisfy the qualification criteria for these benefits.
To be entitled to sickness benefit a claimant must satisfy the following conditions:
- to prove their temporary incapacity for work through a valid medical certificate.
- not to receive the full salary or wage from the employer during the period of sickness.
- to be between 16 to 63 years old. Persons who are not entitled to old-age pension at the age of 63 can apply for sickness benefit, but not after the age of 65.
- to have the social insurance contributions paid for at least 26 weeks (approximately 6 months) and, up to the date of incapacity, the amount of paid contributions to be at least 26 times the weekly amount of basic insurable earnings (0.50 insurance point).
- the contributions on earnings paid and/or credited in the previous year to be at least 20 times the weekly amount of basic insurable earnings (0.39 insurance point).
During the period of illness for which the sickness benefit is received, the applicant may be required to complete further examination by a government approved doctor or by a medical board.
The claimant or his/her representative must apply for sickness benefit at the closest Social Insurance Office within 21 days from the date he/she became unable to work. The application must contain the application form for sickness benefit and the relevant medical certificates, both in original. There is a waiting period for the sickness benefit to enter into force after the application has been submitted. In case of employed persons the waiting period is three days and in the case of self-employed persons this period is nine days. In case of accidents or hospitalisation, the self-employed persons are treated in the same way as the employed persons.
The sickness benefit is paid for a period of 156 days for each period of employment interruption (approximately 6 months). If the insured person satisfies the entitlement conditions for an invalidity pension but he/she is not expected to be permanently incapable of work, the sickness benefit period can be extended up to 312 days (approximately one year) for the same period of interruption of work.
To re-qualify for sickness benefit, a period of minimum 13 working weeks (approximately 3 months) from the date of exhaustion of entitlement must have passed. Additionally, the insured person must have paid contributions on earnings of at least 26 times the weekly amount of basic insurable earnings (0.50 insurance points) after the date of exhaustion.
The sickness benefit consists of a basic benefit and a supplementary benefit calculated on a weekly basis as follows:
- the weekly basic benefit is equal to 60% of the average weekly basic insurable earnings* that the person has received during the last year, increased to 80%, 90% and 100% for one, two or three dependants respectively (maximum three dependants). A spouse (male or female) is considered dependant if she/he is neither working nor receiving any benefit from the Social Insurance Fund.
- the weekly supplementary benefit is equal to 50% of the average weekly earnings which exceed the basic insurable earnings* and for which the person has paid contributions in the last contribution year**. The maximum amount of weekly supplementary benefit cannot be more than twice the weekly basic covered earnings (which means that the maximum supplementary benefit that can be paid according to the beneficiary's income is €348.76 per week)
*The weekly amount of basic insurable earnings is €174.38. This amount is adjusted once a year according to the changes in wages. The maximum amount of weekly covered earnings is €1,046.
**If the application for sickness benefit is submitted in the first semester of the year, the earnings of the last contribution year are considered to be those received two years before. If the application is submitted in the second semester, the earnings of last contribution year are considered to be those of the last calendar year. For example if the application is submitted in the first 6 months of 2014, the previous contribution year would be 2012, but if the application is submitted in the second semester of 2014 then the previous contribution year would be 2013.
The sickness benefit is not paid if the applicant receives full salary or wages. If the applicant’s income is reduced, the total of the sickness benefit and the partial payment from her/his employer must not exceed the total wage or monthly salary of the employee.
Certain categories of citizens residing in Cyprus that include civil servants, military and police staff, low-income individuals and families, and persons diagnosed with certain chronic diseases can also be entitled to other medical benefits.