Benefits and Allowances
You may be eligible to apply for the following benefits and allowances. The detail below is shared as a general guide. It does not describe all qualifying conditions which can change from time to time. We also include this three-part video series, which will guide you through some of the various benefits and entitlements related to supporting a child or young person with a disability.
Benefits & Entitlements when
Supporting a Child or Young Person with a Disability
Additional Needs Payment
An Additional Needs Payment is a payment available to you if you have essential expenses that you cannot pay from your weekly income.
You may get this payment from the Department of Social Protection even if you are not getting a social welfare payment. It may be available to you if you are working and on a low income regardless of the number of hours that you work.
The Additional Needs Payment does not cover non-essential household or personal expenses, or costs that are the responsibility of another government department or agency.
Additional Needs Payments are paid under Supplementary Welfare Allowance which is administered by the Community Welfare Service (CWS) of the department.
There is no set 'rate of payment' for the Additional Needs Payment. The payment you get will depend on your weekly household income and the type of assistance you need.
Further Information: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/4eb45-additional-needs-payment/
Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is a means-tested once-off payment aimed at helping families with the extra costs of clothing and footwear when children start school each autumn. The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance scheme is open from 1 June to 30 September each year.
To qualify, you must meet the following conditions:
- you must be in receipt of a qualifying social protection payment or participating in an approved employment, education or training support scheme
- you must be in receipt of an increase for a qualified child (IQC) in respect of each child for whom the allowance is being claimed (except in certain circumstances)
- each child being claimed for must be: aged between 4 and 17 or aged between 18 and 22, and returning to second-level education in the autumn
- the assessable income for your household must be within a set income limit
- you and each child in respect of whom the allowance is claimed must be resident in the State.
Further Information: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/41eb8b-back-to-school-clothing-and-footwear-allowance/
Carer’s Allowance is a means-tested payment. It is for people on low incomes who are caring full-time for someone who needs support because of age, disability or illness (including mental illness). The person being cared for must require full-time care and attention.
You may qualify for Carer’s Allowance if:
you are 18 or over
you live with or are able to provide full-time care and attention to a person who needs care
you are not working, self-employed, or on a training or education course for more than 18.5 hours a week.
you live with or are able to provide full-time care and attention to a person who needs care and who does not normally live in an institution.
The person you are caring for must be:
over the age of 16 and need full-time care and attention
or aged under 16 and getting a Domiciliary Care Allowance.
If you are getting certain social welfare payments and providing full-time care and attention to another person whilst also meeting all other conditions for Carer’s Allowance, you can keep your main social welfare payment and get half-rate Carer's Allowance as well.
If you are getting Carer’s Allowance and you also meet the qualifying conditions for another social welfare payment (for example, a State Pension or Illness Benefit) you may apply for the other payment. If awarded, and provided the other payment is a qualifying payment for half-rate Carer’s allowance, you will be paid the other payment in full and also get half your rate of Carer’s Allowance.
Further Information: http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/ca.aspx
Carer's Benefit is a payment made to people who leave the workforce to care for a person(s) in need of full-time care and attention. It is based on your PRSI classification and contributions. You can get Carer’s Benefit for up to 104 weeks (2 years) for each person you care for.
You can claim your payment in a single period or in separate periods for up to 104 weeks. If you claim Carer’s Benefit for less than six weeks in a row in any period, you must wait for a further 6 weeks before you can claim Carer’s Benefit to care for the same person again.
If you are caring for more than one person, you may get a payment for 104 weeks for each person you care for. This may result in the care periods overlapping or running at the same time.
Further Information: http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/carb.aspx
Carer’s GP Visit Card
If you get Carer’s Benefit or Carer’s Allowance, at full or half-rate, you are eligible for a Carer’s GP Visit Card.
Further Information: https://www2.hse.ie/services/schemes-allowances/gp-visit-cards/carers/
The Carer's Leave Act 2001 allows employees to leave their employment temporarily to provide full-time care for someone in need of full-time care and attention. You are entitled to take Carer’s Leave from at least 13 weeks up to a maximum of 104 weeks. Carer's Leave from employment is unpaid but the Carer’s Leave Act ensures that those who avail of it will have their jobs kept open for them for the length of their leave. You may be eligible for Carer's Benefit or Carer's Allowance when you apply for this leave. You can take Carer's Leave even if you do not qualify for either of these payments.
To get Carer’s Leave, you must have worked for your employer for 12 months without a break in employment. As mentioned above, the person you will be caring for must need full-time care and attention. A deciding officer of the Department of Social Protection will decide whether they need this care after checking with their GP.
The person must need someone with them at all times to either:
Keep them safe and help them throughout the day with their normal personal needs, such as eating, drinking, washing and dressing
Protect them from being a danger to themselves.
Carer’s Support Grant
The Carer’s Support Grant is an annual payment made to carers who get Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA). You do not need to apply for it, you are automatically enrolled for this payment, which is made on the first Thursday of June each year. It is a payment for each child that you are a nominated Carer of, and is fully exempt from income tax, PRSI and USC.
If you are not getting Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA), you may still qualify for it if:
you care for the person full-time
you have been caring for the person for at least six months, and this period includes the first Thursday in June
you live with the person you are caring for or you are contactable quickly by a direct system of communication such as a telephone or an alarm.
You do not qualify for the Carer's Support Grant if you are:
working, self-employed, or on a training or education course for more than 18.5 hours a week (you must show that the person you are caring for has adequate care while you are working, on an education course, or both).
getting Jobseeker's Allowance or Jobseeker's Benefit
signing on for credited contributions.
Further Information: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/16220307-carers-support-grant/
This is a monthly payment of €140 paid for each child who:
normally lives with you and is being fully supported by you
is under 16, or under 18 if in full-time education, full-time training or has a disability and cannot support themselves.
This payment is not means-tested.
Further Information: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/f14140-child-benefit/#how-to-qualify
Citizens Information provides comprehensive information on the entitlements of citizens in Ireland. The website gathers information from various government departments and agencies, and presents it in an easy-to-understand way.
Citizens Information has produced this Checklist for Carers, listing the main services and entitlements available to them.
You can drop into your local centre or contact it by phone and email for information, advice and advocacy. Make sure you check your local service's opening hours if you are dropping in. Appointments are offered as needed following an initial assessment. You can also call the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0818 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm.
Further Information: https://www.citizensinformation.ie
Community Welfare Officer
You can contact the Community Welfare Services about the following payments:
Additional Needs Payment
Basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance
Supplementary Welfare Allowance Supplements
Community Welfare Officers (CWOs) are available in 51 Intreo Centres across the country to meet and assist customers during business hours, five days per week.
They can facilitate in-person and emergency meetings:
through the phone
in any Intreo Centre/Branch Office or
if the need arises, a direct home visit appointment can be arranged
Further Information: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/12110-how-to-access-community-welfare-services/
If it is anticipated that your child may be delayed with toilet training or not toilet trained by their 3rd birthday, you can contact your Public Health Nurse (PHN) located in your local health/primary care centre. They will carry out an assessment. If your child is assessed as being unable to toilet train by their 4th birthday or within six months of assessment (whichever is later), they will be assessed for the appropriate containment product to use (either washable or disposable)*.
*In small number of cases, with complex care needs, the child will be treated on an individual basis as per clinical judgement.
Disability Allowance is a weekly allowance paid to people with a disability. You can get it from 16 years of age. If you are in education when you turn 16, you can continue to attend school while receiving this allowance.
Disability Allowance is a means-tested payment for people who are aged between age 16 and under age 66. Your child’s income and savings is taken into account but not your or your partner’s income. If your child is in receipt of any income, inheritance, or has money saved, then this will affect his/her entitlements.
A person in receipt of Disability Allowance can take up employment or self-employment and is means-tested as follows:
the first €165 of weekly income from that employment (after deduction of PRSI, pension contributions and union dues) is disregarded for the purpose of the means-test
50% of their weekly earnings between €165 and €375 is then disregarded for the purpose of the means-test
any further earnings, over €375 per week, are fully assessed for the purpose of the means-test
your entitlement to Disability Allowance will be reduced in line with the appropriate reduced rates of payment for Disability Allowance based on earnings and any other income.
Further Information: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/df6811-disability-allowance/
Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme
The scheme gives a range of tax reliefs linked to the purchase and use of specially constructed or adapted vehicles by drivers and passengers with a disability. There are strict medical criteria, outlined in the further information link below.
If you qualify, you can claim:
Remission or repayment of vehicle registration tax (VRT)
Repayment of value-added tax (VAT) on the purchase of a vehicle
Repayment of VAT on the cost of adapting a vehicle.
If you qualify for the scheme, you may get some additional exemptions and benefits including:
An exemption from motor tax on the vehicle.
An exemption from toll road fees (see www.dtes.ie)
Disabled Parking Card
The Disabled Person's Parking Card or Permit allows you to park in disabled parking spaces in Ireland and the EU if you are a person with severe restricted mobility or are certified as blind. The permit is available if you are a driver or passenger of a vehicle. It is valid for 2 years from the issue date.
The scheme is run in Ireland by the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI) and the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA). It costs €35 to apply and you can apply online to the IWA or the DDAI. They will ask you some questions to check if you qualify and then send you an application form by email or post. You can contact the Disabled Drivers Association by emailing: email@example.com
Domiciliary Care Allowance
Domiciliary Care Allowance is a monthly payment for a child with a severe disability. The payment is not based on the type of disability. It is based on the impact of the disability.
your child must be under 16
the mental or physical disability must be severe
the disability must be likely to last for at least one year
your child must need ongoing care and attention substantially over and above the care and attention usually required by a child of the same age
your child must be resident in the Irish State
your child must live at home with the person claiming the allowance for five or more days a week.
Note: If your child is in full-time residential care, you are not eligible. If your child is in residential care but is at home for two days or more a week, you may get a half-rate payment. For example, you may qualify if your child attends residential services from Monday to Friday and goes home at weekends.
In addition, the person claiming the allowance for the child must:
- provide for the care of the child
- habitually live in the State
If your child has been diagnosed with Autism or another pervasive developmental disorder, you are advised to have the medical professional/specialist/ early intervention team dealing with your child to complete an additional medical form (Dom Care 3).
Further Information: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/30fac9-domiciliary-care-allowance/
Employing a Carer
You can claim a tax allowance at your top rate when you employ a carer for a person with a disability. You may employ the carer directly or through an agency. This relief may be claimed by a family member or divided among a number of family members if they are contributing towards the cost of the carer.
Free Travel Scheme
The Free Travel Scheme allows you to travel, free of charge, on all public transport owned by the State. This includes bus, rail, Local Link and the Luas, with some exceptions.
You will get a Free Travel Card automatically when you are awarded an Invalidity Pension, a Blind Pension, Disability Allowance or Carer's Allowance.
Further Information: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/9bba61-free-travel-scheme/
Fuel Allowance is a payment to help with the cost of heating your home during the winter months. The current season runs from 25th September 2023 until 5th April 2024. You can get it if you are aged 70 or over, or getting long-term social welfare payments, such as Disability Allowance or One-Parent Family Payment. Only one Fuel Allowance is paid to each household.
You should apply before the start of the Fuel Allowance season (late September). If you apply after this, the allowance cannot be backdated. You do not need to reapply for Fuel Allowance each year as long as your circumstances have not changed and you continue to get the same social welfare payment. If your circumstances change you should contact the department as soon as possible to make sure you can still get Fuel Allowance.
Further Information: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/00aa38-fuel-allowance/#how-to-qualify
Fully Funded Energy Upgrades
This was formerly known as the Warmer Homes Scheme. It is operated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). It is available to people who receive certain welfare payments.
The Scheme provides funding for:
Cavity wall insulation
External wall insulation
Internal wall insulation
Secondary work such as lagging jackets, draught proofing and energy efficient lighting
New heating systems and windows are occasionally recommended.
To qualify, you must:
You must own your home and be living in it
Your home must have been built and occupied before 2006
You must be getting one of the following payments:
Fuel Allowance as part of the National Fuel Scheme
Working Family Payment
Jobseeker’s Allowance for over 6 months and have a child aged under 7 years
Domiciliary Care Allowance
One Parent Family Payment
Carer's Allowance and live with the person you care for.
Health Expenses – Tax Relief
You can reclaim some of the medical expenses you and your family incur on medical bills such as:
Doctor and consultant visits
Speech and language therapy
Occupational therapy and physiotherapy
Medical or surgical appliances
You can only claim for medical expenses if you have receipts to prove your claim. All receipts must be kept for 6 years.
You can claim relief on additional expenses in the case of a child with a life-threatening illness or permanent disability, as follows:
Telephone: if a child is treated at home, you may claim a flat rate for telephone rental and calls where the expenses are directly connected with the treatment of the child.
Travel: you can claim tax relief on the costs of excessive travelling to and from the hospital. In particular, if you need to travel outside of your county for treatment.
Overnight accommodation: you can claim for payments made for overnight stays in a hospital, hotel or B&B near the hospital where your child is a patient.
Hygiene products and special clothing: you can claim relief on hygiene products or special clothing if these are necessary for the child's disability. You can claim up to a maximum of €500 for these items.
Under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) scheme, a Heating Supplement may be paid to assist people in certain circumstances that have special heating needs. If a recipient of a social welfare or HSE payment has exceptional heating costs due to ill health, infirmity or a medical condition which s/he is unable to meet out of household income, that person may apply for a Heating Supplement.
Home Carer’s Tax Credit
To claim the Home Carer's Tax Credit you must care for a dependent person. You must also be married or in a civil partnership and be jointly assessed for Income Tax.
The dependent person you care for must be either:
a child for whom you receive the Child Benefit
a person who is permanently incapacitated due to mental or physical disability.
If you earn less than €7,200, then you can claim the full tax credit available. The amount you earn does not include Carer's Allowance. If you earn more than €7,200, you will receive a reduced tax credit. In this case, the total tax credits available will be reduced by one half of the difference between your income and €7,200.
If your income is €10,600 or more during 2023 then you cannot claim the tax credit.
The Homemaker’s Scheme makes it easier for a homemaker to qualify for a higher rate of State Pension Contributory when you reach pension age.
A homemaker, under the Homemaker’s Scheme, is a man or woman who provides full-time care for either:
a child under 12
an ill or disabled person aged 12 or over.
You can claim credits towards your PRSI if you have given up work to take care of your child who has additional needs. Credits are awarded at the same rate as your last paid PRSI contribution. This is important to keep up as it will contribute to your future state pension.
Further Information: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/e216c5-homemakers-scheme/
Household Benefits Package
The Household Benefits Package (HBP) helps towards the costs of your electricity or gas bills. It also includes your television licence. Only one HBP is payable per household.
You may qualify if you are under 66 and get Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension, Blind Pension or Carer's Allowance (if you are living with the person you are caring for).
Further Information: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/e87d27-household-benefits-package/
Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability
A Housing Adaptation Grant provides grant aid to help with works that are reasonably necessary to make a house more suitable for the needs of a person with a disability. This grant is means-tested and is administered by your local authority. The effective maximum grant under the scheme is €30,000, which may cover up to 95% of the approved cost of works.
The types of works allowable under the scheme can be varied and may include:
a ramp or other ways to access your home
bathroom facilities like an accessible shower or a downstairs toilet
a stair lift
space for wheelchair access
an extension (typically for a bedroom or bathroom to accommodate a person with a disability).
Incapacitated Child Tax Credit
A credit can be claimed by a parent in respect of a child who has additional needs. Additional tax credits are available for parents with two or more children with additional needs.
Increase for a Qualified Child
Your social welfare payment is made up of a weekly amount for yourself, called the personal rate. You may also get an extra amount for your child called an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) if you are getting certain payments and if your child meets certain conditions (is resident in the State; not in legal custody; lives with you; and satisfies the age requirement for the payment). In certain circumstances you may only get a half-rate Increase for a Qualified Child.
Your child does not have to be financially dependent on you. Your child can work and earn money and this does not affect the increase paid to you.
An Increase for a Qualified Child can be paid on behalf of foster children.
Further Information: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/b93280-increase-for-a-qualified-child/
Local Property Tax
The Local Property Tax is a tax based on the market value of your home. An exemption or reduction can apply to a residential property bought or adapted for use by a disabled individual. Additional criteria will apply. You must still make a return and then claim this exemption. For those in receipt of Domiciliary Care Allowance you may qualify for an exemption until the child turns 16 years old.
Long Term Illness Scheme
If you (or your child) have certain long-term illnesses or disabilities, you (or your child) may apply to join the Long Term Illness Scheme. If granted you will be supplied with a Long Term Illness green book, which allows you to get drugs, medicines, and medical and surgical appliances directly related to the treatment of your (or your child’s) illness, free of charge. It is not means-tested.
Further Information: https://www2.hse.ie/services/schemes-allowances/lti/about/
A medical card issued by the HSE allows you to receive certain health services free of charge. They are means-tested and/or based on medical need. To qualify, your weekly income must be below a certain figure for your family size. Cash income, savings, investments and property (except for your own home) are taken into account. Reasonable expenses incurred in respect of childcare costs, travel to work and rent/mortgage payments will also be deducted.
Children in receipt of the Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) will automatically be entitled to the medical card.
If you do not qualify for a medical card, you may be eligible for a discretionary medical card. This will be assessed on your child’s disability and not your family income.
See the link below for the full details on medical card applications and options.
Further Information: https://www2.hse.ie/services/schemes-allowances/medical-cards/
Mobility Aids Grant Scheme
The Mobility Aids Grant Scheme helps you pay for basic work to address mobility issues you are having at home. For example, if you are having difficulty getting into the bath or shower, the grant could cover the cost of installing an accessible shower. The scheme is for older people and people with disabilities.
The grant can be used to make basic changes to your home so it is more accessible, like adding:
An accessible shower
The grant does not cover VAT on the work. However, you can apply to Revenue for a VAT refund for any appliances that you need and the cost of installing them.
The maximum grant you can get is €6,000, which may cover 100% of the cost of the works. However, you may not get the maximum grant. This is because the grant is paid by your local authority, and is dependent on what funding they have available. They will decide whether they can pay you the full grant, or a percentage of the grant.
One-Parent Family Payment
One-Parent Family Payment is a payment for parents under 66 who are not cohabiting, and whose youngest child is under 7.
You will stop getting One-Parent Family Payment when your youngest child turns 7.
There are exceptions to this which include:
- Domiciliary Care Allowance: your One-Parent Family Payment may continue until the child you are getting the Domiciliary Care Allowance for turns 16 or your youngest child turns 7, whichever is later
- Carer's Allowance: your One-Parent Family Payment may continue until your youngest child turns 16 or until your Carer’s Allowance stops, whichever is earlier
- Recent Bereavement: if your spouse or civil partner has died, you can claim One-Parent Family Payment for up to two years after the date of death or until your youngest child turns 18, whichever is earlier.
To qualify for One-Parent Family Payment, you must:
- be under 66
- be the parent, step-parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian of a relevant child (this means a child under the relevant age limit)
- be the main carer of at least one relevant child. The child must live with you. You cannot get One-Parent Family Payment if you have joint equal custody of a child or children
- satisfy a means test
- not be living with a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant
If you are separated, divorced or your civil partnership is dissolved, you must be living apart for at least three months before you apply for One-Parent Family Payment.
Further Information: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/d0b018-one-parent-family-payment/
Rent Supplement is a payment for some people living in private rented housing who cannot provide for the cost of their housing from their own income.
You are only eligible for Rent Supplement if you are a genuine (bona fide) tenant and meet one of the following conditions:
- You were getting Rent Supplement in the 12 months before the date of your application.
- You were living in private rented accommodation for at least six months (183 days) of the last 12 months, you could afford the rent at the beginning of your tenancy and you are unable to continue to pay the rent because of a substantial change in your circumstances which occurred after you started renting. You can combine time living in more than one rented accommodation to satisfy the six months (183 days).
In the past, you could apply for Rent Supplement if you were qualified for social housing support and were on the local authority’s housing list. People in this situation should now apply for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).
Further Information: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/fb3b13-rent-supplement/
Under 8s GP Visit Card
All children under 8 years of age living in Ireland can get a GP visit card, which covers:
free GP visits
assessments at age 2 and 5
GP home visits
out-of-hours urgent GP care
care for children with asthma.
Medication costs and hospital charges are not covered.
You may claim a refund on VAT for certain aids and appliances used by your child to help with independent living. The rule is that it must be specifically for your child and assist them in some way.
Examples of eligible aids are:
necessary domestic aids (for example, drinking and eating aids designed solely for persons with disabilities)
walk-in baths designed for persons with disabilities
commode chairs and similar aids
lifting seats and specified chairs designed for persons with disabilities
hoists and lifters designed for invalids, including stairlifts
communication aids designed for those unable to speak.
Working Family Payment
The Working Family Payment is a weekly, tax-free payment available to employees with children. It gives extra financial support to families with children with rates depending on their incomes and family size. The payment was previously called Family Income Supplement.
To qualify for Working Family Payment, you must meet all of these requirements:
- you work in the Irish State and pay tax and social insurance (PRSI) here
- you work 38 or more hours every fortnight
- you can combine hours from different jobs to make up 38 hours each fortnight
- you can also combine your weekly hours with the hours worked by your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant
- you cannot use time spent in self-employment or on Community Employment, Gateway, TÚS, JobBridge or the Rural Social Scheme
- your job is likely to last at least 3 months
- you have at least one child who normally lives with you. Your child must be under 18 years of age or between 18 and 22 years of age and in full-time education.
- you earn less than an amount set according to your family size.
The Working Family Payment you receive is 60% of the difference between your average weekly family income and the income limit that applies to your family. Your average family income is your total earnings less tax, employee social insurance (PRSI), Universal Social Charge (USC), pension/superannuation contributions and any other income your family has.
You will be reassessed once a year. Your payment will not change for a year (52 weeks) even if your income goes up or down. However you can ask for your payment to be reassessed if one of the following applies to you:
- you start to care for an additional child
- your One-Parent Family Payment stops.
Working Family Payment is included when you are assessed for these entitlements:
- rent or mortgage supplement
- local authority housing.
Further Information: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/08bb21-working-family-payment/