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07th May 2024

Three lesser-known social welfare payments many Irish families are eligible for

Sophie Collins

Families across Ireland could be entitled to a number of social welfare benefits that they are not aware of.

The cost of living crisis continues to affect thousands nationwide, and some families are struggling to make ends meet.

If you’re having a particularly difficult time and have not looked into the benefits in place for Irish families, here are three lesser-known social welfare schemes that could be of help.

One-Parent Family Payment

The One-Parent Family (OFP) Payment is a social welfare payment for anyone who is bringing children up without the support of a partner.

Those who are working full time can still qualify for this payment and the maximum weekly rate is up to €220.

To qualify for the One-Parent Family Payment you must:

  • Be aged under 66
  • Be the parent, step-parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian of a child under a certain age – see ‘Age limit for a child’ below
  • Be the main carer of at least one child under the age limit. The child must live with you. OFP is not paid if the parents have joint equal custody of a child or children
  • Pass a means test – a means test looks at any income that you have – see ‘How your income is assessed for the One-Parent
  • Family Payment’ below
  • Live in Ireland and meet the habitual residence condition – find out more about exemptions from the habitual residency condition
  • Not be living with a spouse, civil partner or cohabiting

You can find out more here.

Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD)

The Back to Work Family Dividend is available to support lone parents and long-term jobseeker families with children in finding or returning to work.

If you qualify for this scheme, you will receive a weekly payment for up to two years with rates ranging from €21 to €200 a week.

Your qualifying amount will depend on how many kids you have and their ages.

Woman placing twenty-euro note into her wallet
Credit: iStock

The Back to Work Family Dividend is based on the standard Increase for a Qualified Child.

If you were getting a half-rate IQC with your payment you will get an increase to the standard rate BTWFD.

From January 2023, the BTWFD is €42 for a child aged under 12 and €50 for a child aged 12 and over.

It is paid for each child (up to a limit of 4 children) for one year, then in the second year, it is reduced to €21 for a child aged under 12 and €25 for a child aged 12 and over.

For more information on this, click here.

Homemaker’s Scheme

The Homemaker’s Scheme is in place to make things easier for you as a homemaker to qualify for a higher rate of State Pension (Contributory) when you reach pension age.

A homemaker, under the scheme, is someone who provides full-time care for a child under 12 or an ill or disabled person over 12.

To qualify, the applicant needs to:

  • Be aged under 66
  • Have started insurable employment or self-employment on or after the age of 16 and before the age of 56
  • Not work full-time but you can work and earn less than €38 gross a week
  • Care full-time for a child under 12 or an ill or disabled person

To see the full list of criteria, click here.