Fine Gael TD for Galway West & Mayo South

Social Welfare

  • The Basic Social Welfare rates from January 2016 are:
Adult Adult Dependent
Contributory OAP (Full Rate) €233.30 €209.00
Non Contributory OAP €222.00 €146.70
Contributory Widows – U66 €193.50
Contributory Widows – O66 €233.30
Invalidity Pension €193.50 €138.10
Maternity Benefit €230.00
Supplementary Welfare €186.00 €124.80
Carer’s Allowance – U66 €204.00
Carer’s Allowance – O66 €242.00
All Other Payments €188.00 €124.80
Living Alone Allowance €9.00
Over 80 Allowance €10.00



  • A 75% Christmas Bonus will be paid in December 2015 to all persons on long-term (over 15 months) Welfare payments and back-to-work/Education payments (incl JobBridge).
  • Children: Child Benefit of e140 per month from January 2016 is payable for all children up to their 18th birthday, if in full-time education.
  • Qualified Child Payment of €29.80 is paid to persons on Social Welfare up to the end of the academic year in which
    the child reaches 18. A person on Social Welfare for over 26 weeks can claim up to 22nd birthday if in full-time education. QCP will be paid if your spouse is working and earning no more than €400.
    •           A Back-to-School payment of e100 for pupils aged 4-11 and €200 for pupils aged 12-22 (children aged between 18 and 22 years must be in full-time second-level education).
  • From September 2016 a new two week Paternity Benefit will be claimable on the same conditions as Maternity.
  • Family Income Supplement: A couple or a single parent on low pay, who work for at least 19 hours per week combined (including job-sharers), can get a supplement for their children (including those 18-22 in full-time education). The payment is calculated at 60c for each €1 by which your take-home family income (i.e. net of tax, USC, PRSI and superannuation) falls below the following income for 2016:
  • €511 for a family with one child, plus
  • €101 for second, €101 for third, €121 for fourth, and €126 (approx) for each other child.

If you qualify, the payment will last at least 52 weeks and it will be of a minimum €20 per week. You may also be eligible for a Back-to-School payment from the HSE, but the means tests are not identical. FIS will not affect your eligibility for a Medical Card. You can claim One Parent Family Payment and your FIS is not counted as means.

  • A widow(er) with children receives a once-off €6,000 in the year of bereavement. A Deceased Person’s Payment continues to be paid for six weeks to their spouse after their death (provided that their spouse is also getting a weekly welfare payment).
  • The Dept of Social Protection pays Domiciliary Care Allowance of €309.50 per month and an annual Respite Grant (being renamed Carer’s Support Grant) of €1,700 up to their 16th birthday for children with a severe disability who require substantial and documented extra care. A half-rate payment is payable to a child in institutional settings who live at home for 2 days or more. At 16, the child may apply for Disability Allowance.
  • Free pre-school is available to any child aged more than 3 years until they are 51/2 or make the transition to primary school and covers 3 hours daily for 38 weeks. An eligible child can start in September, January or April. A new model
    of support in 2016 will facilitate children with special needs availing of this scheme. A pre-school cannot charge parents extra for the hours covered by the scheme, but can charge for extra hours or for additional activities as long as these are optional.
  • Fuel Scheme: A Fuel Allowance of €22.50/week is payable for 26 weeks if you are on long-term Social Welfare with no more than €100 per week in household income over the contributory pension rate. However, to qualify, you must be living alone, or only with dependants or another person on long-term Social Welfare or the JSA.
  • Supplementary Welfare: The Community Welfare Officer may help out with the following:
  • A weekly payment if you are sick or unemployed and have not received Social Welfare.
  • Exceptional heating supplement can be paid in serious medical circumstances.
  • A once-off payment for unforeseen needs such as a funeral, fares to visit or attend hospital, a robbery, fire or flood; or for unaffordable essential needs such as: furniture or kitchen equipment when setting up home; needs associated with pregnancy and a new baby; clothing or replacing essential equipment for older people on low income or in poor health; children’s clothing in exceptional situations.
  • Help if the repayment schedule sought by the Electricity/Gas to sort out a serious arrear causes excessive hardship.


In assessing eligibility, the CWO takes into account all income coming into the house including part-time earnings of a spouse and
income of other adults. Full-time students and persons working over 30 hours are not generally eligible. Decisions can be
appealed to Social Welfare Appeals Office, D’Olier House, D’Olier Street, Dublin 2  (Ph: 01-6732800; LoCall 1890 74 74 34).


  • Treatment Benefit covers free dental, optical examinations and Medical and Surgical Appliances (including half the cost of hearing
    aids, max €500 per aid once every 4 years) for the insured worker, their spouse and retired people who have the required number
    of PRSI contributions. Illness Benefit is only payable after the sixth day of absence from 1 January 2014.
  • To qualify for the State Pension you must be 66. From 1 January 2021, the State Pension age is increasing to 67.
  • Household Benefit Package: If you are 66 or over or permanently incapacitated, and living alone except for dependants, a spouse on Social Welfare, another pensioner, or someone giving you full-time care, you can receive the following concessions along with
    your Irish or British Social Welfare Pension:
  • Electricity or Natural Gas up €35 per month, and
  • Free television licence.

Pensioners who don’t have a Social Welfare pension can qualify at age 66 on the same terms provided their means don’t exceed the Contributory OAP rate by more than €100.

If you are aged 70 or over, you can qualify for all of these free schemes regardless of your income or its source and regardless of who lives with you. If you are widowed and aged 60 or over, you can retain the free schemes and free travel if your late spouse had             them, and you satisfy the other conditions.


  • Part-time Working
  • A person on Jobseeker’s Benefit loses one fifth of your payment for each day you work including work on a Sunday. A person on Jobseeker’s Allowance will have 60% of your daily earnings over €20 deducted from the total weekly payment. In both cases, you get no payment if you work more than 3 days.
  • A Single Parent can claim One Parent Family Allowance until your youngest child reaches 7 years of age. You can earn €90 net per week, claim FIS, and get Maintenance up to €95.23 without affecting your payment. A single parent can claim Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment up until the youngest child reaches 14. The means-test assesses 50% of earnings over €90 per week, and you can still claim part-payment if you work more than 3 days, you can claim while studying, and you will get childcare support and Back to Work Dividend if you find work.
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance is cut by up to €44 if a job offer or activation measure is refused.
  • A person claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance whose spouse is working will be paid the rate for a claimant and an adult dependent less
    60% of their spouse’s earnings (after deduction of pension contribution, PRSI and union subscriptions) in excess of €60 per week.
  • A single person under 25 living at home who has left school can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance, but will be assessed with 34% of their parents’ disposable income (after deduction of tax, PRSI, superannuation, mortgage/rent, Health Insurance, Union Fees, €600 for a two-parent family, €470 for a single parent and €30 per child). Once you qualify for any payment, a minimum €40 per week is paid. The payment is capped at €100 for persons aged 18-24 and €144 aged 25, where they have no children.
  • The duration of Jobseeker’s Benefit is 9 months (6 months for those with less than 260 paid contributions).
  • Returning to Work: A person returning to work after 12 months or more unemployed, or as a lone parent, retains their Medical Card for 3 years. You may also retain Rent Supplement for 1 year, where the Council has deemed you eligible, but the Supplement is recalculated based on your new earnings level. Back to Work Family Dividend allows you retain the Qualified Child weekly payment of €80 in full for 1 year, and half rate for the second year.