Benefits and entitlements

older couple reading bills

A cancer diagnosis can mean financial uncertainty, as many cancer patients face a loss of income along with increased medical expenses. 

You and your family may be entitled to government support such as Illness Benefit, a Medical Card or Carer’s Allowance. 

Carers

Carer's allowance

Carer’s Allowance is for those on a low income caring for someone who needs support because of age, disability or illness (including mental illness). It is a means-tested weekly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

If you are on a low income and you are caring for someone who needs support due to their cancer, you may be eligible for either Carer’s Allowance or Carer's Benefit. 

What is the rate of payment?

Carer’s Allowance rates 

Carer Increase per week for a child dependant Maximum weekly rate
Aged under 66, caring for 1 person € 219 Child under 12 years of age
 
€38.00 (full-rate) €19.00 (half-rate)
Aged under 66, caring for 2 or more people € 328.50 Child aged 12 and over
 
€45.00 (full-rate) €22.50 (half-rate)
Aged 66 or over and caring for 1 person € 257  
Aged 66+, caring for 2 people € 385.50  

If you are receiving Carer’s Allowance, you may also be entitled to:

  • Household Benefits Package
  • A Free Travel Pass 
  • Carer’s Support Grant 

Who can apply?

To qualify for Carer’s Allowance, you must:

  • Live with and care for or be in a position to provide full-time care to a person in need of care who does not normally live in an institution
  • Meet the habitual residence condition - this means that you have lived in Ireland for some time and intend to stay in Ireland for the foreseeable future
  • Not live in a hospital, convalescent home or other similar institution
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Not be engaged in work or education courses outside the home for more than 18.5 hours a week
  • Show that your income is below a certain level (means test)
Sarah’s mum has been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and her doctor has advised that she needs full-time care at home. Sarah (22) had been attending college and living at home. She has decided to take some time off to take care of her mum. As she has no other income currently, Sarah should apply for the Carer’s Allowance. She can get help filling in the application form from her local Citizens Information office.

How do I apply?

You should apply for Carer’s Allowance as soon as possible.

You can apply by filling out a CR1 application form, which is available on the Department of Social Protection website.

With your application you must include a doctor’s medical report that is also signed by the person you will be caring for.

Return your application, with the relevant supporting documentation, to:

Social Welfare Services Office
Government Buildings
Ballinalee Road
Longford, N39 E4E0

OR

You can visit your local Social Welfare Office or Intreo Centre to complete and submit an application.

The information above is an overview of Carers Allowance

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Carer's benefit

Carer’s Benefit is a weekly payment for full-time carers of people with cancer and other illnesses from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

It is for people who pay PRSI and have had to leave the workforce to care for someone who is in need of full-time care.

What is the rate of payment?

Carer’s Benefit rates 

Carer Maximum weekly rate Increase per week for a child dependant
Caring for 1 person € 220 Child under 12 years of age
 
€38 (full-rate) €19 (half-rate)
Child aged 12 and over
€45 (full-rate) €22.50 (half-rate)
Caring for more than 1 person € 330.00 Same

If you are getting Carer’s Benefit, you may also be entitled to:

  • A GP Visit Card  
  • Carer’s Support Grant

Who can apply?

To qualify for Carer’s Benefit, you must:

  • Be aged 16 or over
  • Have been employed for at least 8 weeks in the previous 26-week period and left work in order to be a full-time carer
  • Meet the PRSI contribution conditions
  • Be able to provide medical certification for the person being cared for
  • Not take part in employment, self-employment, training or education courses outside the home for more than 18.5 hours a week
Eoin (54) is a teacher and his wife has been undergoing treatment for colon cancer. Her doctor has advised that she will soon need full-time care at home. Eoin has decided to take Carer’s Leave from work to take care of his wife.  As he has been working in the same school for several years, he has enough PRSI contributions to apply for Carer’s Benefit. Eoin should apply for Carer’s Benefit 10 weeks before he leaves work. He will need his employer’s and his wife’s signatures, as well as a medical report from her doctor. Eoin may qualify for Carer’s Benefit for up to 104 weeks.

How do I apply?

It is recommended that you apply for Carer’s Benefit 10 weeks before you leave work.

To apply, visit the Department of Social Protection website to download and complete form CARB1. You will need your employer’s signature, as well as the signature of the person for whom you are caring and a medical report from their doctor.

Return the application form, and the relevant supporting documentation, to:

Carer’s Benefit Section
Social Welfare Services Office
Government Buildings
Ballinalee Road
Co. Longford

Or

You can visit your local Social Welfare Office or Intreo Centre to complete and submit an application.

The information above is an overview of Carers Benefit

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Carer's support grant

The Carer’s Support Grant (formerly Respite Care Grant) is an annual payment made to carers by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

If you care for someone with cancer and are in receipt of Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allowance, then you will automatically receive a Carer’s Support Grant.

Carers can use the grant in whatever way they wish. You can use the grant to pay for respite care if you wish, but you do not have to do so.

What is the rate of payment?

A Carer's Support Grant of €1,850 is paid once each year, usually on the first Thursday in June, for each person you are caring for. It is not taxable.

Who can apply?

The grant is paid automatically to people getting Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allowance.

It can also be paid to certain other carers. To qualify, you must be:

  • Aged 16 or over
  • Ordinarily resident in the State
  • Living with the person being cared for or, if not, be contactable quickly by a direct system of communication (for example, telephone or alarm)
  • Caring for the person on a full-time basis
  • Caring for the person for at least 6 months

During this 6-month caring period, you cannot:

  • Work more than 18.5 hours per week outside the home
  • Take part in an education or training course for more than 18.5 hours a week
  • Get Jobseeker's Allowance or Jobseeker's Benefit
  • Sign on for credited contributions

or

  • Live in a hospital, convalescent home or similar institution
Monica (37) has been living with and caring for her brother who has lung cancer. She has been receiving Carer’s Benefit, as she left her job to care for him full-time. As a recipient of Carer’s Benefit, she will automatically receive the Carer’s Support Grant in June.

If you are caring for more than one person, a grant is paid for each of them.

How do I apply?

If you are getting Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allowance, you do not need to apply for the Carer's Support Grant. It will be automatically paid to you in June.

If you are not getting one of the above payments, you can visit the Department’s website  to download and complete an application form CSG1.

OR

You can visit your local Social Welfare Office or Intreo Centre to complete and submit an application.

If you were not getting one of the above payments but got the Carer's Support Grant last year, you do not need to re-apply this year. The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection will send you a letter and a short 2-page questionnaire in April. You must return the completed questionnaire as it will be used to assess you for the Carer's Support Grant this year.

The information above is an overview of the Carers Support Grant

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Domiciliary care allowance

Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) is a non-means-tested monthly payment for a child aged under 16 with a severe disability from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Non-means- tested means your income will not affect whether or not you qualify for the payment.

If you have a child under the age of 16 with cancer, you may be entitled to Domiciliary Care Allowance or Carers Allowance. A medical social worker at your child’s treating hospital may be able to provide more information about this. You may also be eligible for Domiciliary Care Allowance if you have a child aged under 16 with a severe disability, who requires ongoing care and attention, substantially over and above the care and attention usually required by a child of the same age.

What is the rate of payment?

The Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) rate is €309.50 per month.

If you are caring for more than one child who qualifies for DCA, you can claim a DCA payment for each child.

Payment is made on the third Tuesday of every month for the current month.

If your child is receiving Domiciliary Care Allowance, you may also be entitled to:

  • A non-means-tested medical card  for your child
  • Carer’s Benefit or Carer’s Allowance 
  • Carer’s Support Grant 

Who can apply?

To qualify for Domiciliary Care Allowance, your child must have a severe disability that is likely to last for at least 1 year and:

  • Be aged under 16 (at 16, the child can apply for a Disability Allowance
  • Live at home with the person claiming the allowance for 5 or more days a week
  • Meet the medical criteria
  • Be ordinarily resident in the State

How do I apply?

To apply, visit the Department of Social Protection website to download and complete a Domiciliary Care Allowance form (DOM CARE 1).

You can also get an application form by texting “FORM DCA” followed by your name and address to 51909 (standard text rates apply). 

Return the application form, and relevant supporting documentation, to:

Domiciliary Care Allowance
Social Welfare Services Office
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
College Road
Sligo

OR

You can visit your local Social Welfare Office or Intreo Centre  to complete and submit an application.

The information above is an overview of Domiciliary Care Allowance

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Families and children

Domiciliary care allowance

Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) is a non-means-tested monthly payment for a child aged under 16 with a severe disability from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Non-means- tested means your income will not affect whether or not you qualify for the payment.

If you have a child under the age of 16 with cancer, you may be entitled to Domiciliary Care Allowance or Carer's Allowance. A medical social worker at your child’s treating hospital may be able to provide more information about this. You may also be eligible for Domiciliary Care Allowance if you have a child aged under 16 with a severe disability, who requires ongoing care and attention, substantially over and above the care and attention usually required by a child of the same age.

What is the rate of payment?

The Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) rate is €309.50 per month.

If you are caring for more than one child who qualifies for DCA, you can claim a DCA payment for each child.

Payment is made on the third Tuesday of every month for the current month.

If your child is receiving Domiciliary Care Allowance, you may also be entitled to:

  • A non-means-tested medical card  for your child
  • Carer’s Benefit or Carer’s Allowance 
  • Carer’s Support Grant 

Who can apply?

To qualify for Domiciliary Care Allowance, your child must have a severe disability that is likely to last for at least 1 year and:

  • Be aged under 16 (at 16, the child can apply for a Disability Allowance)
  • Live at home with the person claiming the allowance for 5 or more days a week
  • Meet the medical criteria
  • Be ordinarily resident in the State

How do I apply?

To apply, visit the Department of Social Protection website to download and complete a Domiciliary Care Allowance form (DOM CARE 1).

You can also get an application form by texting “FORM DCA” followed by your name and address to 51909 (standard text rates apply). 

Return the application form, and relevant supporting documentation, to:

Domiciliary Care Allowance
Social Welfare Services Office
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
College Road
Sligo

OR

You can visit your local Social Welfare Office or Intreo Centre  to complete and submit an application.

The information above is an overview of Domiciliary Care Allowance

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

One-parent family payment

One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) is a payment for men and women under 66 who are bringing children up without the support of a partner. If you have cancer and are the main carer of at least one child under the age of 7, you may qualify for OFP if you meet certain conditions (see below).

Who can apply?

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

  • Be under 66
  • Be the parent, step-parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian of a child under the age of 7.
  • Be the main carer of at least one child under the age of 7. 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. A means test looks at your income to see if it is below a certain level.
  • Not be living with a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant
  • Be living apart from your previous partner for at least three months before you apply for One-Parent Family Payment following separation, divorce or the dissolving of a civil partnership. You may be required to make efforts to seek maintenance payments from your former partner

What is the rate of payment?

One-Parent Family Payment Rates

One-Parent Family Payment
 
Maximum personal weekly rate
Child dependant 
€ 203 Child aged under 12 years
 
€ 38.00
 
Child aged 12 years and over
 
€ 45.00

How do I apply?

Download and complete Form OFP 1 which is available on the Department of Social Protection website. 

You should send your application form along with any relevant supporting documentation to your local Social Welfare of Intreo Office.  

OR

Visit your local Social Welfare or Intreo office to complete and submit an application Form OFP 1. 
 

The information above is an overview of the One-Parent Family Payment

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Tax relief for additional healthcare expenses for a child

Detailed information on claiming tax relief on additional healthcare expenses for a child is available from the Revenue website

You can claim tax relief for additional health expenses if the healthcare is for a child. Additional healthcare expenses are things such as overnight accommodation and travel that you may have to pay for when your child is ill. You can claim for a child under 18, or over 18 if they are in full-time education.

Additional healthcare expenses for children with cancer qualify for this relief.

Overnight accommodation

You can claim relief on the cost of overnight accommodation if you are the parents or guardians of the child. To qualify, your overnight stay must be necessary for your child’s treatment. The accommodation must be near the hospital where your child is being treated.

Travel

You may claim relief for the cost of transporting your child to and from hospital. You may also claim for transport to visit your child, if this is essential to the child’s treatment. You must have proof that these visits are necessary.

Other expenses

You can also claim tax relief on the following expenses related to your child’s healthcare:

  • Telephone rental and call expenses
  • Hygiene products and special clothing
  • Travelling abroad for treatment – travel and accommodation expenses

How to claim

To claim these health expenses, you will need to complete your tax return form. It is important to keep receipts of your expenses in order to claim tax relief.  Detailed information is available from the Revenue  website.

Remember, any claim must be made within 4 years of the end of the tax year that you had the additional healthcare expenses you’re claiming for. You can ask your medical social worker or local Citizens Information Centre for more advice.

Print this article (PDF)

Working family payment

Working Family Payment (WFP) (formerly known as Family Income Supplement) gives extra financial support to employees on low pay who have children. It is a weekly tax-free payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

What is the rate of payment?

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.

If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, the combined financial income of both people is taken into account.

Who can apply?

If you have children and you or a family member has cancer and are receiving low pay, you may be eligible for WFP.

You must be an employee to qualify for WFP and you cannot qualify if you are self-employed.

You must be working 38 hours or more per fortnight. You can combine hours worked with your spouse or partner to meet this condition.

To qualify, your weekly income must be below a certain amount for your family size:

If you have And your weekly family income is less than
1 child € 541
2 children € 642
3 children € 743
4 children € 834
5 children € 960
6 children € 1,076
7 children € 1,212
8 or more children € 1,308
Marie and Donal have four children. Donal has been diagnosed with cancer and has had to cut back on work. Marie works part-time in a shop. Their income has fallen to €600 per week after tax, PRSI and USC. As their income is under the weekly income limit for a family with four children, they can apply for the Working Family Payment. They may qualify for 60% of the difference between their income of €600 and the income limit of €834, which would be a payment €140.40 per week.

How do I apply?

Fill out Form WFP1, which you can download from the Department of Social Protection website.

Send your completed application form along with relevant supporting documentation to:

WFP Renewal Section
Government Buildings
Ballinalee Road
Longford, N39 E4E0

OR

Visit your local Social Welfare or Intreo office to complete and submit an application

The information above is an overview of the Working Family Payment

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Housing

Housing adaptation grant

A Housing Adaptation Grant is available from local authorities if you need to make changes and adaptations to your home to make it suitable for someone with a disability to live in.

For example, making it wheelchair-accessible, extending it to create more space, adding a ground-floor bathroom or toilet or a stair-lift. In some cases, provision for heating can be included, but only under certain conditions.

How do I qualify for a Housing Adaptation Grant?

Your application will be prioritised based on medical need. The more unwell you are, the higher the priority.

The grant is means tested. The grant is available to households whose gross annual household income does not exceed €60,000.

Your total household income will be assessed to find out if you qualify for the grant and the amount payable. You must also prove that you have paid the local property tax, if you are a homeowner.

The grant can be paid to people in:

  • Owner-occupied housing
  • Houses being purchased from a local authority under the Tenant Purchase Scheme
  • Private rented accommodation
  • Accommodation provided under the voluntary housing Capital Assistance and Rental Subsidy schemes
  • Communal residences
Jim (70) is struggling with mobility following his cancer treatment and he cannot make it up the stairs of his home without assistance. He requires a stair-lift to access his upstairs bedroom and bathroom. Jim and his wife own their own home and both receive the state pension which puts their combined income well below the €60,000 limit. Jim should apply for the Housing Adaptation Grant from his local authority.

How do I apply?

Download an application form from your local authority's website or ask for one to be posted to you. The form includes detailed information on the scheme’s conditions and a checklist of documents that you must include.

Fill in the form and return it to your local authority, along with any documents you need to provide. When your local authority receives your application, it may ask for an occupational therapist to assess your home.

The grant will not be paid if you start work before the grant is approved. But it is expected that the work would start within 6 months of your grant being approved.

 The information above is an overview of the Housing Adaptation Grant

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Housing aid for older people scheme

The Housing Aid for Older People Scheme is used to improve the condition of an older person's home. In general, it is aimed at people 66 years of age and older, who are living in poor housing conditions. However, if you are under 66 and are experiencing genuine hardship, the local authority may be able to help you.

What is the rate of payment?

The amount you can receive depends on your household income and the cost of the work needed to improve your home. If you have less income, the maximum grant is higher.

Maximum yearly household income % of costs Maximum grant
Up to €30,000 95% € 8,000
€30,000 - €35,000 85% € 6,800
€35,001 - €40,000 75% € 6,000
€40,001 - €50,000 50% € 4,000
€50,001 - €60,000 30% € 2,400
Over €60,000   No grant payable

Who can apply?

You may be eligible for the Housing Aid for Older People Scheme if you:

  • Have a household income below €60,000
  • Are aged over 66 years, and require necessary repairs or improvements in your home.

Your application will be prioritised based on medical need. Highest priority is given to those who can continue to be cared for at home or can return home from hospital once the work is done.

How do I apply?

Download an application form from your local authority’s website or ask for one to be posted to you. The form contains detailed information on the scheme’s conditions and a checklist of documents that you must include.

The information above is an overview of the Housing Aid for Older People Scheme.

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Illness/Disability

Cross-border healthcare directive

The Cross-Border Healthcare Directive is an EU law that gives you the right to apply for healthcare treatment in any EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway.

How do I qualify for the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive?

The Cross-Border Healthcare Directive only applies if you normally live in Ireland and are entitled to public patient healthcare here.

If you want to get treatment in the EU/EEA you must have a valid referral from your GP, consultant, or HSE clinician.

If you qualify you may have to pay for your treatment upfront. You can then apply for the HSE to pay you back. You will have to pay for your own travel costs. It’s a good idea to get travel insurance if you are travelling for treatment.

How do I apply?

Detailed information on the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive is available on the HSE website

National Contact Point
Cross-Border Healthcare Directive Department
St Canice's Hospital,
Dublin Road,
Kilkenny R95 P231

Tel: 056 778 4546

Email: crossborderdirective@hse.ie

The information above is an overview of the Cross Border Healthcare Directive

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

Visit the HSE website

Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

Print this article (PDF)

Disabled person’s parking card

Disabled person’s parking permits or cards are available if you live in Ireland with certain disabilities, whether you are a driver or passenger, or if you are registered blind. These permits are also known as European parking cards or disabled parking badges.

You can use the parking card in any vehicle in which you are travelling. This means that if you are being driven at different times by different people, you can bring the parking card with you and display it in the appropriate vehicle.

The parking card is valid for 2 years from date of issue. Generally, the card is not issued to anyone under 5 years of age. The scheme applies to public car parking areas only.

How do I qualify for a Parking Card?

You will automatically qualify for a parking card if you hold a Primary Medical Certificate, but you still need to fill in an application form.

How to apply

A parking card costs €35. The scheme is administered by the Disabled Drivers Association and the Irish Wheelchair Association.

To request a parking card application form from the Disabled Drivers Association, you can email parkingcard@ddai.ie

Alternatively, you can apply online on the Irish Wheelchair Association website or email maats@iwa.ie

Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland

Parking Card Section
Ballindine
Claremorris
Co. Mayo

Tel: 094 936 4054

Email: info@ddai.ie

Website: www.ddai.ie

Irish Wheelchair Association

National Mobility Centre
Ballinagappa Road
Clane
Co. Kildare

Tel: 045 893 094

Email: maats@iwa.ie

Website: www.iwa.ie

Print this article (PDF)

Drugs payment scheme

You can get help with the cost of medicines under the Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS). This means that each household will pay no more than €114 each calendar month for approved prescribed drugs, medicines, rental costs for CPAP machines and oxygen.

If your medical needs cost more than €114 you won’t pay any more – the cost will be covered by the scheme. A household can be a single person, a married couple or a family with dependent children.

How do I qualify for the Drugs Payment Scheme?

The scheme is for people who do not have a medical card, including people who have a GP visit card.

The scheme is not means tested − it is for everyone who is ordinarily resident in Ireland, no matter what your income.

How do I apply?

You can apply online at http://www.mydps.ie

You can also apply by contacting your local health office or by filling in a registration form at your local pharmacy. If you have any difficulties filling in the form, the staff at the pharmacy or health office will be happy to help. Send the completed application to your local health office.

It can take up to 4 weeks to process your application for a Drugs Payment Scheme card. If you have to pay for prescription medicines or medical aids while you’re waiting for your card, keep the receipts. Once you get the card, you can send the receipts to the Drugs Payment Scheme section of your local health office. You should get back the money that you have spent.

The information above is an overview of the Drugs Payment Scheme

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit the HSE website
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Emergency medical cards

Emergency Medical Cards can be issued by the HSE as a matter of urgency if:

  • A patient has a terminal illness and is receiving end-of-life treatment
  • A patient needs urgent ongoing care and needs a temporary medical card

Emergency Medical Cards for patients with terminal illness

The HSE will issue a medical card for patients with a terminal illness who are receiving end-of-life treatment. End-of-life treatment means a prognosis of less than 12 months to live.

This medical card will never expire.

Emergency Medical Cards for patients who need urgent care

If you require urgent, ongoing care and need a medical card sooner than the normal processing time, the HSE may issue a temporary medical card for 6 months.

You will still need to apply for a standard means-tested medical card before your temporary card expires within 6 months. The HSE will write to you to remind you to do this.

How to apply

A healthcare professional must apply on your behalf. This is usually a medical social worker, hospital consultant or GP.

They will send the HSE a detailed medical report and a completed application form.

Once the medical card is approved, you will be issued with a medical card number, which will be active within 24 hours. You can then access medical card services. You will receive your medical card in the post within 10 days.

The information above is an overview of the Emergency Medical Card.

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

Visit the HSE online.

  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

COVID-19 enhanced illness benefit

This payment is for workers and self-employed people who cannot work in the short term because they have been medically certified to self-isolate due to exposure to COVID-19 or because they are ill due to COVID-19. 

Who can apply?

If you are suspected of having COVID-19 and have been advised to self-isolate by a doctor or the HSE or if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you can apply for the enhanced Illness Benefit. 

To qualify for the payment, you must:

  • Be aged between 18 and 66
  • Have a medical certificate called a ‘Certificate of incapacity for work’ from a doctor or have a text or letter notification from the HSE to support your application
  • Be employed or self-employed and have worked in the 4 weeks before the date of your medical certification
  • Have a current contract of employment, if you are an employee. 

Sean (24) works in a garage and has been informed by the HSE that he has been exposed to COVID-19 through one of his co-workers, who has tested positive for the virus. Sean will need to self-isolate for 2 weeks. He can apply for the COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit and should include evidence of the notification from the HSE with his application.

What is the rate of payment?

The COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit is a payment of €350 per week. 

If you have a spouse or partner and/or children, you may receive an increase in your payment for these dependents. 

If you need to self-isolate because you have been exposed to COVID-19, the benefit is paid for a maximum of 2 weeks. 

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, it is paid for a maximum of 10 weeks. If your medical certificate is for fewer than 10 weeks, you will be paid for the duration of your medical certificate. 

You should continue to talk to your doctor about your diagnosis and the length of time you are medically unfit for work because of COVID-19. 

How can I apply?

You can apply online at www.mywelfare.ie  

This is the quickest and easiest way to apply. You will need to provide information on the following:

  • Yourself – details about you, your address and your relationship status
  • Children – details of any children you may have, including their PPS numbers
  • Payment method – details of your account in a financial institution, e.g. bank account
  • Employment – details of your current employment

Your doctor will need to complete a medical certificate on your behalf. Your doctor can send the certificate directly to the Department of Social Protection or you can send it by email to illnessenquiry@welfare.ie or by post to:

Dept. of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Illness Benefit – P.O. Box 1650
Dublin 1

If you have been identified during contact tracing as someone who has been in contact with a person with COVID-19, you will get a text or a letter from the HSE with an instruction to self-isolate. You can email an image of this letter or text along with your name and PPS number to illnessenquiry@welfare.ie

I am medically vulnerable and I am not able to work because I am cocooning. Do I qualify for the COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit?

You will not receive the COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit if you are cocooning. However, you can apply for the normal Illness Benefit payment of up to €203 per week. 

The information above is an overview of COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

GP visit cards

A General Practitioner (GP) Visit Card allows you to visit a family doctor free of charge. You will still have to pay for drugs, any outpatient/inpatient charges and medical aids yourself. You qualify in the same way as for a Medical Card except that the income guidelines are higher.

How do I qualify for a GP Visit Card?

To qualify for a GP Visit Card you must:

  • Show that your income is below a certain level (called a ‘means test’)
  • Be living in Ireland continuously (habitual resident)

OR

  • Have financial hardship due to your circumstances.

People aged over 70 or under 6 automatically qualify for a GP visit card, no matter what their income.

If you are over 70, you can apply for a GP Visit Card by visiting the HSE’s website.

To register a child under 6 for a GP Visit Card, visit the HSE’s website.

If you get Carer’s Benefit or Carer’s Allowance, at full or half rate, you can also get a GP Visit Card.

GP Visit Cards for cancer patients

GP Visit Cards can be issued on hardship grounds, even if your income is above the income guidelines. For example, if you have exceptional and regular medical treatment or visits to your doctor or hospital due to your cancer. A card may be granted for your whole family or just for you.

Make sure you attach copies of all relevant evidence about your circumstances when you apply for the card. If there is a medical social worker at the hospital you are attending, you can ask them for advice on the application process.

You may also be entitled to the Drugs Payment Scheme card. Under the Drugs Payment Scheme, you and your family will pay a maximum of €114 each calendar month for approved prescribed drugs and medicines.

How do I apply?

The quickest way to apply for a GP Visit Card is online at www.mymedicalcard.ie.

You can also download an MC1 application form on the HSE website or collect one from your local health office. 

Post the completed form to:

HSE - PCRS
Client Registration Unit
PO Box 11745
Finglas, Dublin D11 XKF3.

For any queries, call LoCall 1890 252 919 or email clientregistration@hse.ie.

 

The information above is an overview of the GP Visit Card

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit the HSE website
  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Housing adaptation grant

A Housing Adaptation Grant is available from local authorities if you need to make changes and adaptations to your home to make it suitable for someone with a disability to live in.

For example, making it wheelchair-accessible, extending it to create more space, adding a ground-floor bathroom or toilet or a stair-lift. In some cases, provision for heating can be included, but only under certain conditions.

How do I qualify for a Housing Adaptation Grant?

Your application will be prioritised based on medical need. The more unwell you are, the higher the priority.

The grant is means tested. The grant is available to households whose gross annual household income does not exceed €60,000.

Your total household income will be assessed to find out if you qualify for the grant and the amount payable. You must also prove that you have paid the local property tax, if you are a homeowner.

The grant can be paid to people in:

  • Owner-occupied housing
  • Houses being purchased from a local authority under the Tenant Purchase Scheme
  • Private rented accommodation
  • Accommodation provided under the voluntary housing Capital Assistance and Rental Subsidy schemes
  • Communal residences
Jim (70) is struggling with mobility following his cancer treatment and he cannot make it up the stairs of his home without assistance. He requires a stair-lift to access his upstairs bedroom and bathroom. Jim and his wife own their own home and both receive the state pension which puts their combined income well below the €60,000 limit. Jim should apply for the Housing Adaptation Grant from his local authority.

How do I apply?

Download an application form from your local authority's website or ask for one to be posted to you. The form includes detailed information on the scheme’s conditions and a checklist of documents that you must include.

Fill in the form and return it to your local authority, along with any documents you need to provide. When your local authority receives your application, it may ask for an occupational therapist to assess your home.

The grant will not be paid if you start work before the grant is approved. But it is expected that the work would start within 6 months of your grant being approved.

 The information above is an overview of the Housing Adaptation Grant

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Illness Benefit

Illness Benefit is a payment for PAYE workers who cannot work due to illness. It is aimed at those with a short-term illness. The benefit is paid for a maximum of two years, and how long you get Illness Benefit depends on how much PRSI you have paid.

Cancer patients who can no longer work due to their diagnosis and/or treatment should apply for Illness Benefit. It is important to apply within 6 weeks of leaving work because of illness.

Who can apply?

To qualify for Illness Benefit you must:

  • Be aged under 66
  • Be certified by a doctor as being medically unfit for work
  • Have at least 104 weeks’ PRSI contributions since you first started work

AND ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:

  • Have 39 weeks’ PRSI contributions paid or credited in the relevant tax year

(13 of these must be paid contributions).

  • Have 26 weeks’ PRSI contributions paid in the tax year immediately before the year in which the claim is being made and 26 weeks’ PRSI contributions paid in the relevant tax year.

The relevant tax year is the second-last complete tax year before the year in which your claim for Illness Benefit begins. For example:

Relevant tax year

If your claim begins in: The relevant tax year is:
2020 2018
2021 2019

Rob (33) is a gym instructor and has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He will need to take some time off work to attend treatment. Although he has been working for several years for the same company, they do not offer any paid sick leave. However, he has enough PRSI contributions to apply for Illness Benefit for the duration of his illness.  He will need to complete the Illness Benefit IB1 application form and request a ‘Certificate of Incapacity for Work’ from his doctor. 

What is the rate of payment?

Weekly payment 

Average weekly earnings  Weekly payment  Increase for an adult dependent 
€300 or more €203 €134.70
€220 - €299.99 €159 €87.20
€150 - €219.99 €131 €87.20
less than €150 €91.10 €87.20

Usually no payment is made for the first 6 days of illness.

You can get an increase in your payment for an adult dependent or child dependent if you meet certain conditions.

How can I apply?

You must apply for Illness Benefit within 6 weeks of leaving work because of illness and you must be medically unfit for work.

You must claim Illness Benefit from the first day you could not work because of illness.

Illness Benefit is not linked to your employer’s policy on pay for sick leave. Whether your employer pays you or not while you are out sick from work you should claim Illness Benefit from the first day of your illness. If you get sick pay from work, you should ask your employer what administrative arrangements are in place while you are claiming Illness Benefit.

To claim Illness Benefit you will need to get a claim form (IB1) and a ‘Certificate of Incapacity for Work’ from your doctor. You will fill out the IB1 form and ask your doctor to complete the ‘Certificate of Incapacity for Work’.

Some doctors can submit the ‘Certificate of Incapacity for Work’ online or you can send it with your IB1 Form to:

Illness Benefit
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
P.O. Box 1650
Dublin 1

Tel: (01) 704 3300

Locall: 1890 928 400

Email: illnessbenefit@welfare.ie

Website: www.welfare.ie

 

The information above is an overview of Illness Benefit

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Invalidity pension

The Invalidity Pension is a long-term weekly payment for those who are unable to work for 12 months or who cannot work permanently due to illness or disability and who have paid the required number of PRSI contributions.

It is usually given to people who have already claimed Illness Benefit or Disability Allowance for at least 12 months. You will also be entitled to a free travel pass, and you may get extra social welfare benefits like the Household Benefits Package.

Who can apply?

To qualify for an Invalidity Pension payment, you must:

Be medically unfit for work for at least 12 months and be likely to be incapable of work for at least another 12 months.

OR

Be permanently incapable of work due to illness or disability.

AND

Have at least 260 weeks’ (5 years’) PRSI contributions since you first started work.

AND

Have 48 weeks’ paid or credited PRSI contributions in the tax year immediately before, or 2 years before, the year in which the claim is being made.

Peter (48) was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2019. He has been unable to work and has received Illness Benefit for 12 months. His treatment has led to reduced mobility and he is not able to return to work as a delivery driver.  He had been working full-time since he was 18 and has more than 260 weeks’ PRSI contributions. He had also been working up to his diagnosis in 2019, and paid 48 weeks’ PRSI contributions in 2018.  He should apply for the Invalidity Pension.

What is the rate of payment?

Invalidity Pension rates 

Weekly maximum payment  Increase for an adult dependant  Increase for a child dependant 
from January 2021
€208.50 €148.90

Child under 12 years of age

€38 (full-rate)       €19 (half-rate)

Child aged 12 and over

€45 (full-rate)       €22.50 (half-rate)

How do I apply?

Visit the Department of Social Protection website to download and fill in an Invalidity Pension (INV 1) application form.

You can also get a form at your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.

You may claim for Supplementary Welfare Allowance while you are waiting for your claim to be processed.

If you have been getting Illness Benefit for a period of 468 days, you will be medically assessed to see if you are still entitled to Illness Benefit and if you might qualify for the Invalidity Pension. If you might qualify for the Invalidity Pension, a form (INV2) will be sent to you. When they get the completed form, a Deciding Officer will examine the claim and determine whether you qualify for Invalidity Pension.

Send your application form to:

Invalidity Pension Section

Social Welfare Services Office
Government Buildings
Ballinalee Road
Longford

Tel: (043) 334 0000 (If calling from outside Ireland please call +353 43 334 0000)

Locall: 1890 92 77 70 (Note: the rates charged for using 1890 (Lo-call) numbers may vary)

 

The information above is an overview of the Invalidity Pension

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Long-term illness scheme

If you have certain long-term conditions, including acute leukaemia, you can get free drugs, medicines and medical and surgical equipment for your treatment.

The scheme does not depend on your income or other circumstances and is separate from the Medical Card and GP Visit Card schemes.

If you qualify, you will get a long-term illness book that lists the drugs and medicines you need. You will receive these medicines free of charge through your local chemist. You will still have to pay for other drugs and medicines not related to your conditions.

Who can apply?

Patients who have acute leukaemia will qualify for the Long-Term Illness Scheme. Other types of cancer are not covered.

How do I apply?

You can download an application form from the HSE website. The form is also available at your local Health Office or from your GP.

More information is available by calling 1890 252 919.

You can send your completed application form to:

Long-Term Illness Scheme
Client Registration Unit
P.O. Box 12962
Dublin 11
D11 XKF3

 

The information above is an overview of the Long-Term Illness Scheme.

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Medical Cards

People who have HSE Medical Cards get free medical care. Medical Cards are means tested. Means tested means that you will qualify for the payment if your income is below a certain level.

A Medical Card is different from a GP Visit Card. A GP Visit Card entitles you to free GP visits only.

A Medical Card entitles you to:

  • Free GP (family doctor) services.
  • Free prescribed drugs and medicines. You may have to pay a prescription charge of €1.50 per item (€1 for those over 70 years), up to a limit of €15 per family per month.
  • Free medical aids (appliances), for example, a walking aid, wheelchair, colostomy bags or wig/hairpiece (up to a certain value).
  • Free inpatient services in a public ward in a public hospital.
  • Dental, optical (eye) and aural (hearing) services.
  • Free outpatient services.
  • Free accident and emergency care.
  • Community care services: public health nursing, home help, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, chiropody, day and respite care.
  • Free maternity and infant care services.
  • Short-term counselling for mild to moderate difficulties.

You may also be entitled to other benefits such as free primary school transport, exemption from Junior Cert. and Leaving Cert. examination fees and financial help with buying school books.

Your local social welfare office or a hospital-based social worker can give you more information about how to claim these benefits.

How do I qualify for a Medical Card?

  • Pass a means test. This means you will have to give details of how much money you and your partner make, any savings and investments you have, and if you own property that is not your own home, to make sure you are eligible for the card.

OR

  • Satisfy EU regulations about EU members receiving medical cards in Ireland
  • Be a child in foster care
  • Be a child under 18 who has been diagnosed with cancer within the last 5 years
  • Be affected by the drug Thalidomide
  • Be a woman who has had a symphysiotomy or who was resident in certain institutions
  • Live in direct provision accommodation

Medical Cards are no longer automatically given to those aged over 70. You will need to pass a means test to show your income is below the limit to qualify for a card. If you are over 70, you are entitled to the GP Visit Card

If you apply for a medical card and do not qualify, you will be automatically assessed for a GP Visit Card 

Paula (47) has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. While her income is above the means test limit, she has increased medical costs, including consultant fees and inpatient charges related to her treatment. She also has increased transportation costs, hospital car parking fees and increased heating costs for her home. Paula should apply for a Medical Card and include evidence of her income, as well as the increased costs she faces due to her diagnosis. 

Medical Cards for cancer patients

A cancer diagnosis does not automatically entitle you to a Medical Card unless you are under the age of 18 and have been diagnosed with cancer within the last 5 years.

Emergency Medical Cards can be issued by the HSE as a matter of urgency if a patient has a terminal illness and is receiving end-of-life treatment or a patient needs urgent ongoing care and needs a temporary medical card.

Discretionary Medical Cards can sometimes be issued on hardship grounds, even if your income is above the income guidelines. If you have a specific hardship, an emergency, personal difficulty, or special circumstances due to your cancer, do apply for a Medical Card. Make sure to attach copies of all requested documents, such as copies of your wage slips, social welfare payment receipts and evidence of medical costs.

Some medical aids are free if you have a medical card. Medical aids are things you may need as the result of cancer or cancer treatment to improve your quality of life. For example, wigs/hairpieces after chemotherapy or colostomy bags after bowel cancer surgery. You may also hear them called ‘appliances’. If your mobility becomes a problem, you may need a walking aid or wheelchair for a time. On discharge home from hospital, your healthcare team will advise you about any medical aids you may need after treatment. They will arrange a visit with your local Public Health Nurse who will organise these necessary medical aids. You might be referred to an occupational therapist, who can see what might be most helpful for you.

How do I apply?

The quickest way to apply for a Medical Card is online at www.medicalcard.ie.

You can also download an MC1 application form from the HSE website or collect one from your local health office. 

Post the completed form to:

HSE - PCRS
Client Registration Unit
PO Box 11745
Finglas, Dublin D11 XKF3.

For any queries, call LoCall 1890 252 919 or email clientregistration@hse.ie.

The information above is an overview of the Medical Card.

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit the HSE online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Tax relief for medical expenses

If you pay medical expenses that are not covered by the State or by private health insurance, you can claim tax relief on some of those expenses. These can be your own health expenses, those of a family member or any individual’s, as long as you paid for them.

You cannot claim tax relief on the following:

  • Any medical expenses that have been, or will be, paid for by the HSE or a private health insurance company.
  • Any medical expenses that have been, or will be, the subject of a compensation payment.
  • Any expenses relating to routine dental and eye care.

How to claim

To claim these health expenses, you will need to complete your tax return form.

Remember, any claim must be made within 4 years of the end of the tax year in which you had the medical expenses you’re claiming for.

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit the Revenue website
  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Living alone

Living alone increase

The Living Alone Increase is an extra payment for people on certain social welfare payments who are living alone.

What is the rate of payment?

The rate of payment is a weekly increase of €14.

If you qualify for the Living Alone Increase, you may also qualify for Telephone Support Allowance

Who can apply?

If you are 66 years or over you may qualify if you live alone and are getting one of the following payments:

  • State Pension (contributory)
  • State Pension (non-contributory)
  • Widow’s/Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension
  • Widow's/Widower's Pension under the Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme
  • Incapacity Supplement under the Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme
  • Deserted Wife's Benefit

If you are under 66 years, you may qualify if you live alone and are getting:

  • Disability Allowance
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Incapacity Supplement
  • Blind Pension

How do I apply?

Visit the Department of Social Protection website to download and complete form LA1.
Send the completed form to the section of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection that pays your main pension or benefit.

Or

Visit your local Social Welfare office or Intreo Centre to complete the LA1 application form.

The information above is an overview of the Living Alone increase.

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

Print this article (PDF)

Telephone support allowance

Telephone Support Allowance is a weekly payment for people who live alone and already receive certain other social welfare payments. It helps with the cost of communications and/or home security solutions.

It is paid at a single rate of €2.50 a week.

If you have cancer and are receiving certain social welfare payments, you may qualify for Telephone Support Allowance.

What is the rate of payment?

The Telephone Support Allowance is a weekly payment of €2.50.

Who can apply?

The allowance is paid automatically to people who receive one of the qualifying payments listed below and who also receive both the Living Alone Allowance and Fuel Allowance. 

  • State Pension (contributory and non-contributory) 
  • Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Disability Allowance
  • Blind Pension
  • Incapacity Supplement
  • Deserted Wife's Benefit

How do I apply?

As the Telephone Support Allowance is paid automatically to people who qualify, you do not need to apply for it. There is no application form.

If you think that you may qualify but haven’t received an automatic payment, you should contact the section in the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection that pays your main social welfare payment.

 

The information above is an overview of the Telephone Support Allowance.

For detailed information, you are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online.
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Widow’s, widower’s or surviving civil partner’s (non-contributory) pension

Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-contributory) Pension is a means-tested payment for those who do not qualify for the Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension.
 

If your spouse or civil partner has died from cancer and you do not have dependent children, you may be eligible for this payment if you can show that your income is below a certain level (means test).

People with dependent children can apply for the One-Parent Family Payment

What is the rate of payment?

Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner’s
(Non-Contributory) Pension

Maximum weekly rate 
Widow, widower or surviving civil partner (under 66) €203

Who can apply?

To qualify for a Widows, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-contributory) Pension, you must:

  • Be a widow, widower or surviving civil partner
  • Not be living together with another person (cohabiting)
  • Pass a means test
  • Be habitually resident in the State  ̶  this means that you have lived in Ireland for some time and intend to stay in Ireland for the foreseeable future.

How do I apply?

Visit your local Social Welfare or Intreo office to complete form WP1

Or

Visit the Department of Social Protection Website to download and complete form WP1.

Send your application form along with any relevant supporting documentation to:

Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension Section
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
College Road
Sligo, F91 T384

The information above is an overview of this pension.

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

Print this article (PDF)

Older and retired people

Free travel scheme

Everyone aged 66 and over, legally resident and living permanently in the State, is entitled to the Free Travel Scheme.

If you have cancer and are receiving certain social welfare payments or if you care for someone with cancer and are in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, you may qualify for the Free Travel Scheme.

If you qualify for free travel, you are issued with a card that you must carry with you when using public transport.

Can my spouse or partner accompany me for free?

If you qualify for the Free Travel Scheme and you are married, in a civil partnership or living together with another person (cohabiting), you are entitled to a Free Travel Card, which allows your partner to accompany you free of charge when travelling (this does not apply to people under 66 who are getting Carer’s Allowance).

If you are unable to travel alone, you may get a Free Travel Companion Card. This allows you to be accompanied by any person over 16 years of age, free of charge. To qualify for a Free Travel Companion Card, you must satisfy certain conditions.

Who can apply?

You may be entitled to free travel if you are legally and permanently living in the State and:

  • You are aged 66 or over

OR

  • You receive one of the following payments:
    • Disability Allowance
    • Blind Pension
    • Carer's Allowance
    • Invalidity Pension 

How do I apply?

You must register for a Public Services Card (PSC) in order to obtain a Free Travel Pass. This includes a process known as ‘SAFE registration’ to establish and verify your identity.

If you don’t yet have a Public Services Card, you can make an appointment to get one either by visiting www.MyWelfare.ie or by calling into your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Office.

If you are entitled to free travel, your new Public Services Card will also be your Free Travel Card.

The information above is an overview of the Free Travel Scheme

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Household benefits package

The Household Benefits Package (HBP) helps with the cost of your TV licence and your electricity or gas bill. Only one person in a household can get the Package.

You can get the Household Benefits Package if you are aged 70 or over. You do not need to be getting a State pension and the package is not affected by your income (not means tested). In certain circumstances, people under 70 can get the HBP.

Carers may also qualify for the HBP if they receive Carer’s Allowance and live with the person they are caring for.

What is the rate of payment?

Household Benefits Package rates in 2020

Allowance  
Electricity Allowance 35 monthly (€1.15 per day)
Gas Allowance €35 monthly (€1.15 per day)
Television Allowance Free from your next renewal date

Who can apply?

To get the Household Benefits Package, you must:

  • Be legally and permanently living in the State (full-time, all year round)
  • Be the only person in your household getting the HBP.
  • Have the electricity or gas bill in your name (if you are applying for an Electricity or Gas Allowance).
  • Be aged 70 or over. If you are under 70, you must also meet certain additional rules.
  • Be a carer. If you receive Carer’s Allowance, you can get the HBP, but you must be living with the person you are caring for.

How do I apply?

Visit your local Social Welfare office or Intreo Centre to complete form HB1

Or

Visit the Department of Social Protection website to download and complete form HB1

Return your completed application form to the Household Benefits Package section:

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Household Benefits Package Section
Social Welfare Services
College Road
Sligo
Ireland

The information above is an overview of the Household Benefits Package.

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Housing aid for older people scheme

The Housing Aid for Older People Scheme is used to improve the condition of an older person's home. In general, it is aimed at people 66 years of age and older, who are living in poor housing conditions. However, if you are under 66 and are experiencing genuine hardship, the local authority may be able to help you.

What is the rate of payment?

The amount you can receive depends on your household income and the cost of the work needed to improve your home. If you have less income, the maximum grant is higher.

Maximum yearly household income % of costs Maximum grant
Up to €30,000 95% € 8,000
€30,000 - €35,000 85% € 6,800
€35,001 - €40,000 75% € 6,000
€40,001 - €50,000 50% € 4,000
€50,001 - €60,000 30% € 2,400
Over €60,000   No grant payable

Who can apply?

You may be eligible for the Housing Aid for Older People Scheme if you:

  • Have a household income below €60,000
  • Are aged over 66 years, and require necessary repairs or improvements in your home.

Your application will be prioritised based on medical need. Highest priority is given to those who can continue to be cared for at home or can return home from hospital once the work is done.

How do I apply?

Download an application form from your local authority’s website or ask for one to be posted to you. The form contains detailed information on the scheme’s conditions and a checklist of documents that you must include.

 

The information above is an overview of the Housing Aid for Older People Scheme

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Living alone increase

The Living Alone Increase is an extra payment for people on certain social welfare payments who are living alone.

What is the rate of payment?

The rate of payment is a weekly increase of €14.

If you qualify for the Living Alone Increase, you may also qualify for Telephone Support Allowance.

Who can apply?

If you are 66 years or over you may qualify if you live alone and are getting one of the following payments:

  • State Pension (Contributory)  
  • State Pension (Non-contributory)
  • Widow’s/Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension
  • Widow's/Widower's Pension under the Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme
  • Incapacity Supplement under the Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme
  • Deserted Wife's Benefit

If you are under 66 years, you may qualify if you live alone and are getting:

  • Disability Allowance
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Incapacity Supplement
  • Blind Pension

How do I apply?

Visit your local Social Welfare office or Intreo Centre  to complete the LA1 application form.

Or

Visit the Department of Social Protection website to download and complete form LA1.

Send the completed form to the section of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection that pays your main pension or benefit.

The information above is an overview of the Living Alone increase.

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

Print this article (PDF)

State pension (contributory)

The State Pension (Contributory) is paid to people from the age of 66 who have enough (PRSI) contributions. It is sometimes called the old-age pension.

The State Pension (Contributory) is not means tested. You can have other income and still get it.

How do I qualify?

As the PRSI conditions are very complex, you should apply for a State Pension (Contributory) if you have ever worked in Ireland and have paid PRSI contributions (stamps) at any time.

To qualify for a State Pension (Contributory) you must be aged 66 or over and have enough Class A, E, F, G, H, N or S social insurance contributions (PRSI). These are also called full-rate PRSI contributions.

You need to:

  1. Have paid PRSI contributions before a certain age and
  2. Have a certain number of paid PRSI contributions and
  3. Have a certain yearly average number of PRSI contributions since you first started to pay PRSI (this is the average rule) OR have a certain total number of PRSI contributions (this is the Total Contributions Approach).

Detailed information on how to qualify is available at Citizens Information .

How do I apply?

You should apply 3 months before you reach the age of 66. If you have paid social insurance contributions in more than one country, you should apply 6 months before you reach the age of 66.

You can visit your local Post Office, Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Office  to pick up the SPC1 form.

Or

You can visit the Department of Social Protection website to download and complete the SPC1 application form.

You should send your completed application form and supporting documentation to:

State Pension (Contributory) Section,
Social Welfare Services,
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection,
College Road,
Sligo F91 T384

The information above is an overview of the State Pension (Contributory)

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

State pension (non-contributory)

The State Pension (Non-Contributory) is a means-tested payment for people aged over 66 who do not qualify for a State Pension (Contributory) or who only qualify for a reduced contributory pension.

What is the rate of payment?

Your rate of payment will depend on your income (means tested). The below shows the maximum personal weekly rate of payment a person can receive if they have no income from any source. If you have a higher income, the payment amount will be lower.

Maximum personal rate Increase for an adult dependant aged under 66
Aged 66 and under 80 

€237

Aged 80+ 

€247.00

€156.60

How do I qualify?

You may qualify for the State Pension (Non-Contributory) if:

  • You are aged 66 or over
  • You can show that your income is below a certain level (means test)
  • You meet the habitual residence condition

How do I apply?

You should apply 3 months before you reach the age of 66.

Visit your local Post Office, Citizens Information Centre , Social Welfare Office or Intreo Centre to get the SPNC1 application form.

Or

Visit the Department of Social Protection website to download the SPNC1 application form.

Send your completed application form with supporting documents to:

State Pension (Non-Contributory) Section
Social Welfare Services
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
College Road
Sligo F91 T384

The information above is an overview of the State Pension (Non-Contributory)

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Telephone support allowance

Telephone Support Allowance is a weekly payment for people who live alone and already receive certain other social welfare payments. It helps with the cost of communications and/or home security solutions.

It is paid at a single rate of €2.50 a week.

If you have cancer and are receiving certain social welfare payments, you may qualify for Telephone Support Allowance.

What is the rate of payment?

The Telephone Support Allowance is a weekly payment of €2.50.

Who can apply?

The allowance is paid automatically to people who receive one of the qualifying payments listed below and who also receive both the Living Alone Allowance  and Fuel Allowance .

  • State Pensions (Contributory and Non-contributory) 
  • Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension
  • Invalidity Pension  
  • Disability Allowance
  • Blind Pension
  • Incapacity Supplement
  • Deserted Wife's Benefit  

How do I apply?

As the Telephone Support Allowance is paid automatically to people who qualify, you do not need to apply for it. There is no application form.

If you think that you may qualify but haven’t received an automatic payment, you should contact the section in the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection that pays your main social welfare payment.

The information above is an overview of the Telephone Support Allowance.

For detailed information, you are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online.
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Widow’s, widower’s or surviving civil partner’s (non-contributory) pension

Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-contributory) Pension is a means-tested payment for those who do not qualify for the Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension.

If your spouse or civil partner has died from cancer and you do not have dependent children, you may be eligible for this payment if you can show that your income is below a certain level (means test).

People with dependent children can apply for the One-Parent Family Payment

What is the rate of payment?

Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil
Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension

Maximum weekly rate 2020
Widow, widower or surviving civil partner (under 66) €203

Who can apply?

To qualify for a Widows, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-contributory) Pension, you must:

  • Be a widow, widower or surviving civil partner
  • Not be living together with another person (cohabiting)
  • Pass a means test
  • Be habitually resident in the State  ̶  this means that you have lived in Ireland for some time and intend to stay in Ireland for the foreseeable future.

How do I apply?

Visit the Department of Social Protection Website to download and complete form WP1.

Send your application form along with any relevant supporting documentation to:

Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension Section
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
College Road
Sligo, F91 T384

Or

Visit your local Social Welfare or Intreo office to complete form WP1

The information above is an overview of this pension.

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

Print this article (PDF)

Out of work benefits

Jobseeker’s allowance

If you are unemployed, you can apply for either Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker's Benefit. 

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance is a weekly, means-tested payment for unemployed people from the Department of Social Protection.

What is the rate of payment?

Jobseeker's Allowance rates 

Age Maximum personal rate Increase for an adult dependent Increase for a child dependent 
 
Aged 25 and over €203 €134.70 Child aged under 12 

€38 (full-rate), €19 (half-rate)

Child aged 12 and over

€45 (full-rate), €22.50 (half-rate)

Aged 18-24 and living independently* €203 €134.70  
Aged 18-24 and not living independently €112.70 €112.70 People aged 18-24 with children qualify for the maximum personal rate €203

If you are getting Jobseeker’s Allowance, you may also be entitled to:

  • Rent Supplement  
  • Fuel Allowance 
  • Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
  • Medical Card 

Who can apply?

To qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance, you must:

  • Be aged between 18 and 66
  • Be fully unemployed (or work for 3 days a week or less)
  • Be capable of work, available for work and genuinely seeking work
  • Pass the means test
  • Meet the habitual residence condition  ̶  this means that you have lived in Ireland for some time and intend to stay in Ireland for the foreseeable future

How do I apply?

You should apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance the first day you become unemployed.

Apply online at www.mywelfare.ie 

Or

Visit your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare office to complete and submit the JA (UP1) application form.

The information above is an overview of Jobseekers Allowance

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

Print this article (PDF)

Jobseeker’s benefit

If you are unemployed, you may be paid either Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance. 

Jobseeker’s Benefit is a weekly payment for people who are out of work and covered by social insurance (PRSI).

Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-employed) gives income support to self-employed people who are no longer engaged in self-employment.

What is the rate of payment?

 Jobseeker's Benefit weekly rate 

Average weekly earnings Maximum personal rate Increase for an adult dependant Increase for a child dependant 
 
Less than €150 €91.10 €87.20 Child aged under 12 

€38 (full rate), €19 (half rate)

Child aged 12 and over 

€45 (full rate), €22.50 (half rate)

€150 - €219.99 €131.00 €87.20  
€220 - €299.99 €159.00 €87.20  
€300 or more €203

€134.70

 

You may also be entitled to:

  • Rent Supplement  
  • Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
  • Medical Card 

Who can apply?

To qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit, you must:

How do I apply?

You should apply for Jobseeker’s Benefit the first day you become unemployed.

You can apply online at www.mywelfare.ie 

Or

You can also visit your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare office to complete and submit a UP1 application form.

The information above is an overview of Jobseekers Benefit

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

Print this article (PDF)

COVID-19 pandemic unemployment payment (PUP)

The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is available to employees and self-employed people who have lost their job or income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the rate of payment?

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment is paid at the following rates:

  • If you previously earned less than €300 per week, you will receive €203 per week
  • If you previously earned over €300 per week, you will receive €250 per week.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will end on 31 March 2021. From 1 April 2021, if you are unemployed, you will have to apply for a jobseeker’s payment.

Who can apply?

If you have been laid off without pay due to COVID-19 you can apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

If you are self-employed and your business has closed and you have no trading income, you can also apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. To qualify you must:

  • Be aged between 18 and 66 years old
  • Be currently living in the Republic of Ireland
  • Have been in employment or self-employment in Ireland on or before 13 March 2020
  • Not be receiving any income from employment
  • Be genuinely seeking work
  • Have at least one PRSI contribution in the 4 weeks before claiming PUP or be in insurable self-employment

How do I apply?

Apply online at www.mywelfare.ie . This is the quickest and most efficient way to apply.

OR

Email forms@welfare.ie to request a form and apply by post

OR

Visit your local Social Welfare office or Intreo Centre to complete and submit an application.

The information above is an overview of the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

Frequently Asked Questions

I have dependants. Should I apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment?

If you have lost your job and have dependants (spouse/partner and/or children), you may get a higher payment if you apply for Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance instead of PUP. This is because PUP does not pay anything extra for dependants.

I already receive a social welfare payment. Can I still apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment?

If you were working and were also receiving any of the payments listed below, you can still apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, provided you have lost your job due to COVID-19. 

  • Carer’s payments
  • Working Family Payment (WFP)
  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Disability Allowance
  • Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment

My hours have been cut due to COVID-19. Can I apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment?

If your days at work have been reduced, you do not qualify for PUP. You can apply for:

  • Short Time Work Support  if you are working 3 days or less per week
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance if you do not satisfy the PRSI conditions for Short Term Work Support

Print this article (PDF)

Short-time work support

Short-Time Work Support is a form of Jobseeker's Benefit. It is an income support payment for people who have been temporarily placed on a shorter working week by their employer.

This payment is made for days of work that have been lost.

Short-Time Work must be systematic and show a clear repetitive pattern of employment. Employees must work at least 1 day in each week.

What is the rate of payment?

Your rate of payment will depend on your average weekly earnings and the change in your work pattern.

For example, if you are placed on a 3-day work week having previously worked 5 days, you may receive Short-Time Work Support for the two days of work lost.

Who can apply?

You may be eligible for Short-Time Work Support if you:

  • Are temporarily working a reduced weekly work pattern
  • Are working 3 days or less per week having previously worked full-time
  • Are under 66 years of age
  • Are capable of work and available for full-time work
  • Have paid enough of certain Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions

How do I apply?

Apply online at www.mywelfare.ie  

Or

Visit your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare office to apply.

The information above is an overview of Short-Time Work Support

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit the Department of Social Protection website
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Supplementary welfare allowance

Supplementary Welfare Allowance is a weekly allowance paid to people who do not have enough income to meet their needs and those of their families. This is a means tested payment.

Cancer patients who are waiting for their Illness Benefit application to be processed or whose income is below the Supplementary Welfare Allowance rate for their family size, may qualify for the Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

What is the rate of payment?

Supplementary Welfare Allowance rates 

Age Maximum personal rate Increase for an adult dependant Increase for a child dependant 
 
Aged 25 and over €201 €134.70 €38 for a child aged under 12 
€45 for a child aged 12 or over
Aged 18-24 and living independently* €201 €112.70 €38 for a child aged under 12 
€45 for a child aged 12 or over
Aged 18-24 and not living independently €112.70   People aged 18-24 with children qualify for the maximum personal rate of €201

*The rate of €201 for people aged under 25 is only for people living independently and getting a state housing support such as Rent Supplement, Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) or Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).

Who can apply?

If you have no income or your weekly income is below the Supplementary Welfare Allowance rate for your family size, a payment may be made to bring your income up to the appropriate Supplementary Welfare Allowance rate.

If you have claimed for a social welfare benefit or pension but it has not yet been paid and you have no other income, you may qualify for the allowance while waiting for the payment. However, the amount paid while you are waiting will be deducted from the arrears of your social welfare payment.

You may qualify for Supplementary Welfare Allowance if you:

  • Are living in the State and satisfy the habitual residence condition
  • Pass the means test
  • Have applied for any other benefit or allowance you may be entitled to
  • Have registered for work with your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare office, if you are of working age

How do I apply?

You can apply for a Supplementary Welfare Allowance from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. This can be done at your local Social Welfare office or Intreo Centre  as soon as the need arises.

You will need to fill in the SWA1 claim form and supply the following:

  • PPS numbers for yourself, your spouse/partner and your children
  • Proof of where you live, e.g. a household bill
  • Proof of your identity
  • Evidence of any household income
  • Birth certificates for any children you include in your application
  • Documents to show your income and financial situation, such as, pay slips, tax and bank statements

The information above is an overview of the Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Return to work or education

Back to education allowance (BTEA)

You may be eligible for a Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) to return to second- or third-level education, if you have been receiving certain payments from the Department of Social Protection (see Who can apply? section below).

What is the rate of payment?

If you are aged over 26, your weekly BTEA rate will be equal to your previous social protection payment (the payment that qualified you for participation in the scheme).

If you are aged under 26 and you were getting a reduced age-related Jobseeker's Allowance payment, you will get a personal maximum BTEA weekly rate of €203. Any income that you have will be deducted from this rate.

Since September 2017, you get an annual Cost of Education Allowance of €500 if you are getting BTEA and you have a dependent child.

Who can apply?

In general, to qualify for the BTEA you must:

  • Be aged between 18 and 21 and out of education for two years

OR

  • Be aged at least 21 (aged at least 24 for postgraduate study)
  • Have been accepted onto a qualifying course
  • Have been in receipt of one of the following social welfare payment for a specified minimum period of time:
    • Jobseeker’s Allowance or Benefit
    • Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment
    • Farm Assist
    • One-Parent Family Payment
    • Deserted Wife’s Benefit or Allowance
    • Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partners Pension (contributory)
    • Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partners Pension (non-contributory)
    • Carer’s Allowance
    • Blind Pension
    • Disability Allowance
    • Invalidity Pension
    • Incapacity Supplement
    • Illness Benefit (2 years or more)

How do I apply?

You must apply for BTEA before your course starts or within 30 days of your course starting.

Visit the Department of Social Protection website to download the BTE1 form.

Or

Visit your local Social Welfare office or Intreo Centre to complete and submit the BTE1 application form.

The information above is an overview of the Back to Education Allowance

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

Print this article (PDF)

Farm assist

  • Farm Assist is a means-tested payment for low-income farmers. It is like Jobseeker’s Allowance but has a more generous means test. You do not need to be available for work to qualify for the scheme.

What is the rate of payment?

Farm Assist Rates 

Maximum weekly personal rate Increase for an adult dependant

Increase for a child dependant 

€203 €134.70

Child under 12 years of age

€38.00 (full-rate)

Child aged 12 and over

€45.00 (full-rate)

Who can apply?

To qualify for Farm Assist, you must:

  • Be a farmer in the State
  • Be aged between 18 and 66
  • Pass a means test

There is also a similar payment for fishermen and women called Fish Assist .

How do I apply?

Visit your local Social Welfare office or Intreo Centre to complete and submit the FARM 1 form.

OR

Visit the Department of Social Protection website to download the FARM 1 form. You can return it to your local Social Welfare office or Intreo Centre.

After you apply for Farm Assist, a social welfare inspector will meet with you. They will ask to see proof of income and expenses. This could include accounts prepared for tax purposes, creamery returns, sale of produce, etc. Costs such as rents, depreciation, labour and necessities like feed or fertiliser will also be assessed.

The information above is an overview of Farm Assist

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

Print this article (PDF)

Partial capacity benefit

Partial Capacity Benefit is a social welfare scheme which allows you to return to work or self-employment if you have reduced capacity to work and continue to receive a payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP).

What is the rate of payment?

Maximum rates of Partial Capacity Benefit 

Medical Assessment

Person previously getting Illness Benefit
at the weekly rate of €203

Person aged under 66 and previously getting
Invalidity Pension at the weekly rate of €208.50

Moderate €101.50 €104.25
Severe €152.25 €156.38
Profound €203 €208.50

Who can apply?

To qualify for Partial Capacity Benefit, you must be currently receiving either:

  • Illness Benefit (for a minimum of 6 months)

Or

  • Invalidity Pension

A Medical Assessor will assess the restriction on your capacity for work. This may require you to attend a medical assessment. You should include all appropriate medical evidence with your application.

Case study

Dermot (36) is a cancer patient who has been receiving Illness Benefit for 8 months while he was on treatment. He has agreed with his employer that he will return to work in a reduced capacity until he is well enough to go back to work full-time. Dermot needs to apply and be approved for Partial Capacity Benefit before returning to work. Part of the application process will involve being medically assessed for the restriction on his ability to work. 

How do I apply?

You should apply for Partial Capacity Benefit before you return to work. Any reduction to your social welfare payment will not apply until you start work. You should not start work until you have received written approval from the Department of Social Protection. You should also get the approval of your doctor before returning to work. 

You can only apply for this benefit through the Partial Capacity Benefit Section of Department of Social Protection. You can contact them online to request an application form. 

Or

Contact:

Partial Benefit Capacity Section
Floor 5 
Áras Mhic Dhiarmada
Store St
Dublin 1
Tel: 01 704 3300/1890 928 400

The information above is an overview of the Partial Capacity Benefit.

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Short-time work support

Short-Time Work Support is a form of Jobseeker's Benefit. It is an income support payment for people who have been temporarily placed on a shorter working week by their employer.

This payment is made for days of work that have been lost.

Short-Time Work must be systematic and show a clear repetitive pattern of employment. Employees must work at least 1 day in each week.

What is the rate of payment?

Your rate of payment will depend on your average weekly earnings and the change in your work pattern.

For example, if you are placed on a 3-day work week having previously worked 5 days, you may receive Short-Time Work Support for the two days of work lost.

Who can apply?

You may be eligible for Short-Time Work Support if you:

  • Are temporarily working a reduced weekly work pattern
  • Are working 3 days or less per week having previously worked full-time
  • Are under 66 years of age
  • Are capable of work and available for full-time work
  • Have paid enough of certain Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions

How do I apply?

Apply online at www.mywelfare.ie   

Or

Visit your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare office to apply.

The information above is an overview of Short-Time Work Support

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit the Department of Social Protection website
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Working family payment

Working Family Payment (WFP) (formerly known as Family Income Supplement) gives extra financial support to employees on low pay who have children. It is a weekly tax-free payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

What is the rate of payment?

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.

If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, the combined financial income of both people is taken into account.

Who can apply?

If you have children and you or a family member has cancer and are receiving low pay, you may be eligible for WFP.

You must be an employee to qualify for WFP and you cannot qualify if you are self-employed.

You must be working 38 hours or more per fortnight. You can combine hours worked with your spouse or partner to meet this condition.

To qualify, your weekly income must be below a certain amount for your family size:

If you have And your weekly family income is less than
1 child €541
2 children €642
3 children €743
4 children €834
5 children €960
6 children €1,076
7 children €1,212
8 or more children €1,308
Marie and Donal have four children. Donal has been diagnosed with cancer and has had to cut back on work. Marie works part-time in a shop. Their income has fallen to €600 per week after tax, PRSI and USC. As their income is under the weekly income limit for a family with four children, they can apply for the Working Family Payment. They may qualify for 60% of the difference between their income of €600 and the income limit of €834, which would be a payment €140.40 per week.

Visit your local Social Welfare or Intreo office  to complete and submit an application

OR

Fill out Form WFP1, which you can download from the Department of Social Protection website.

Send your completed application form along with relevant supporting documentation to:

WFP Renewal Section
Government Buildings
Ballinalee Road
Longford, N39 E4E0

The information above is an overview of the Working Family Payment

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Supplementary allowances

Exceptional needs and urgent needs payments

Exceptional Needs and Urgent Needs Payments are paid under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme.

What is an Exceptional Needs Payment?

An Exceptional Needs Payment is a single payment to help meet essential, once-off, exceptional costs, which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income.

  • For example, the payment can be for bedding or kitchen equipment for somebody who is setting up a home for the first time, funeral costs or for clothing in exceptional circumstances. The payment is subject to a means test. A means test looks at your income to see if it is below a certain level.

What is an Urgent Needs Payment?

An Urgent Needs Payment may be paid to people in emergency situations. For example, in the case of a fire, flood or other disaster, you may get a payment to help with the immediate cost of food and clothing.

Depending on your circumstances, for example, if you are working or when an insurance claim has been settled, you may have to pay some or all of this back at a later date.

What is the rate of payment?

  • The amount of payment depends on a means test and the type of assistance you need.

How do I apply?

You can apply for an Exceptional Needs or an Urgent Needs Payment from the Department of Social Protection. This can be done at your local Social Welfare office or Intreo Centre  as soon as the need arises.

You will need to fill in the claim form and supply the following:

  • PPS numbers for yourself, your spouse/partner and your children
  • Evidence of any household income or social welfare assistance you are getting

The information above is an overview of the Exceptional & Urgent Needs Payments

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Print this article (PDF)

Fuel allowance

A Fuel Allowance is a payment to help with the cost of heating your home during the winter months. It is paid to people who are dependent on long-term social welfare payments and who are unable to provide for their own heating needs.

If you or a household member has cancer and are receiving certain social welfare payments, you may be eligible to apply for a fuel allowance.

What is the rate of payment?

The weekly rate of payment is €24.50, usually payable from October to April.

People getting certain social welfare payments can get their Fuel Allowance paid in two lump sums. The first lump sum is normally paid in early October and the second payment is in January.

Who can apply?

You may be eligible to receive fuel allowance if you:

  • Satisfy a means test. A means test looks at your income to see if it is below a certain level

How do I apply?

You should apply for Fuel Allowance before October.

NSF1 applications forms are available at your local Post Office, Social Welfare office or Intreo Centre .

OR

Visit the Department of Social Protection website to download the NSF1 application form.

Where you send your completed application form will depend on the primary social welfare payment you are receiving. For further details on where to send your application form, visit the Department of Social Protection website.

The information above is an overview of the Fuel Allowance

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Heating supplement

If you have special heating needs due to your cancer diagnosis, you may be able to get additional weekly supplements under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme. This additional weekly payment helps with the cost of heating your home.

Who can apply?

You may qualify for a heating supplement, if you:

  • Can show you have extra heating needs because of your age, medical condition or disability
  • Are living alone or only with a dependent adult or dependent children
  • Satisfy a means test. A means test looks at your income to see if it is below a certain level

What is the rate of payment?

There is no fixed rate for heating supplement. The amount of heating supplement you get is based on your needs, as assessed by the Department Social Protection’s representative.

How do I apply?

Contact the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection representative at your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare office.  

The information above is an overview of the Heating Supplement.

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

Print this article (PDF)

Supplementary welfare allowance

Supplementary Welfare Allowance is a weekly allowance paid to people who do not have enough income to meet their needs and those of their families. This is a means tested payment.

Cancer patients who are waiting for their Illness Benefit application to be processed or whose income is below the Supplementary Welfare Allowance rate for their family size, may qualify for the Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

What is the rate of payment?

Supplementary Welfare Allowance 

Age Maximum personal rate Increase for an adult dependant

Increase for a child dependant

Aged 25 and over €201 €134.70

€38 for a child aged under 12

€45 for a child aged 12 or over

Aged 18-24 and living independently* €201 €112.70

€38 for a child aged under 12

€45 for a child aged 12 or over

Aged 18-24 and not living independently €112.70   People aged 18-24 with children qualify for the maximum personal rate of €201

*The rate of €201 for people aged under 25 is only for people living independently and getting a state housing support such as Rent Supplement, Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) or Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).

Who can apply?

If you have no income or your weekly income is below the Supplementary Welfare Allowance rate for your family size, a payment may be made to bring your income up to the appropriate Supplementary Welfare Allowance rate.

If you have claimed for a social welfare benefit or pension but it has not yet been paid and you have no other income, you may qualify for the allowance while waiting for the payment. However, the amount paid while you are waiting will be deducted from the arrears of your social welfare payment.

You may qualify for Supplementary Welfare Allowance if you:

  • Are living in the State and satisfy the habitual residence condition
  • Pass the means test
  • Have applied for any other benefit or allowance you may be entitled to
  • Have registered for work with your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare officeif you are of working age

How do I apply?

You can apply for a Supplementary Welfare Allowance from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. This can be done at your local Social Welfare office or Intreo Centre as soon as the need arises.

You will need to fill in the SWA1 claim form and supply the following:

  • PPS numbers for yourself, your spouse/partner and your children
  • Proof of where you live, e.g. a household bill
  • Proof of your identity
  • Evidence of any household income
  • Birth certificates for any children you include in your application
  • Documents to show your income and financial situation, such as, pay slips, tax and bank statements

The information above is an overview of the Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

For detailed information, applicants are advised to:

  • Visit Citizens Information online
  • Call Citizens Information on 0761 07 4000 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm
  • Visit your local Citizens Information office
  • Call our Cancer Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Contact your Medical Social Worker

Print this article (PDF)

Contact the Irish Cancer Society Support Line

If you have worries or concerns about cancer, you can speak confidentially to an Irish Cancer Society Cancer Nurse through the Freephone Support Line on 1800 200 700.

Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm