Cash sickness benefits

What are cash sickness benefits (sjúkradagpeningar)?

If you are unable to work due to sickness or injury outside your workplace (for workplace injuries, see here) you may be entitled to cash sickness benefits, as long as you fulfil the requirements. Cash sickness benefits is a set amount that can be paid for each sick day, payments start at the 15th day of sickness. An additional amount is paid for each child under the age of 18 in the home. These benefits are not tax exempt.

Employers in Iceland are required to continue paying your wages while you are sick until you finish your sick days. Once you have finished your sick days you can apply for cash sickness benefits from Sjúkratryggingar Íslands (SÍ) as well as from your union. You can receive payments from SÍ and your union at the same time.

Requirements for cash sickness benefits

  • You must have health insurance in Iceland. If you need assistance with your health insurance, please contact international@sjukra.is for assistance.
  • You must have been unable to work for at least 21 consecutive days.
  • You must have been working or studying in Iceland in the months before you became unable to work. Exceptions to this are listed further below.
  • You must no longer receive any payments from your workplace, including sick leave payments.
  • You must not benefit from a full disability pension, rehabilitation pension, retirement pension, maternity/paternity leave payments or unemployment benefits.
  • You must be at least 16 years of age.

Exceptions to requirements

  • Alcohol- or drug abuse treatment: You can receive half payments while you are receiving treatment at a certified treatment center, this is exempt from the requirement of having worked or studied before payments begin.
  • Home birth: You can receive full payments for 10 days after giving birth to a child at home, this is exempt from the requirement for having worked or studied before payments begin as well as the 21 day requirement.
  • Home-maker: You can receive half payments if you are a home-maker and become completely unable to work in your own home, this is exempt from the requirement of having worked or studied before payments begin.

How do I apply?

If you have electronic ID or an IceKey (íslykill) you can apply online via Réttindagátt – Mínar Síður – our online gateway (only in Icelandic). Réttindagátt enables you to not only apply online but receive secure information from SÍ as we process your application. You can also apply by filling out and signing an application form and sending it to us via mail or email (dagpeningar@sjukra.is).

Alongside your application we need:

  • A specific doctor‘s note for cash sickness benefits (sjúkradagpeningavottorð) that confirms the period you were unable to work.
  • If you were working, we need a certificate from your employer that confirms when you stopped working, when you stopped receiving sick pay and what percentage your work position was (1-100%).
  • If you were studying, we need a certificate from your school confirming the number of credits completed as well as the total amount of credits you signed up for.
  • If you wish to utilize your tax credit, be sure to adjust your tax credit settings in Réttindagátt (the settings can be found under Réttindastaðan Mín and then Skattkort on the left side of the screen) or send us a form requesting its use.  

How much will I get paid and for how long?

Full cash sick benefits for 2020 are 1873 kr.- per day with an additional 514 kr.- per day for each child in the home. If your work percentage was less than 100% you will receive half payments, 937 kr.- per day plus the full addition for each child.

SÍ can usually only pay cash sick benefits two months back in time from when all required documents have been received. In some cases it may be permissible to pay six months back in time. In any 24 month period (two years) SÍ can pay up to 52 weeks (one year) of cash sickness benefits.

As cash sick benefits by themselves are below the minimum income criteria in Iceland, it is important you look into your rights with your union. If you are not entitled to benefits from your union, contact your local municipal social services (your city/town‘s welfare division) for assistance.

Other benefits you may be looking for

  • If you are looking for permanent disability allowance or temporary rehabilitation allowance you should contact Tryggingastofnun for assistance.

  • If you were injured at work you should look here instead. The benefits for workplace injuries are generally higher than cash sick benefits and you cannot receive both at once.
  • If you require further assistance due to financial difficulties, try contacting your municipal social services.

If the above does not answer your questions you can contact us via email at dagpeningar@sjukra.is, via phone at 515-0100 or visit our customer service at Vínlandsleið 16, 113 Reykjavík. Opening hours are between 10 and 15 on weekdays. We are not allowed to answer specific questions about your payments or doctor‘s notes over email or phone for security reasons.

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