Social Security in Ireland
Department of Social Protection - www.welfare.ie
The Department of Social Protection is responsible for policy on and the administration of social security and welfare payments. Most application forms for benefits are available on-line on their website www.welfare.ie and you may also get application forms and further information about all benefits from local Social Welfare offices.
Social welfare system
With all social welfare payments in Ireland, you must satisfy the rules for each scheme to qualify. You must also be “habitually resident” in Ireland to qualify for social assistance payments. The term "habitually resident" means that you have a proven close link to Ireland. A number of criteria are examined to establish if you are habitually resident in Ireland including length and continuity of residence in Ireland, length and purpose of any absence from Ireland, nature and pattern of employment, your main centre of interest and your future intentions to live in Ireland.
You may qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit if you are under 66 years of age, unemployed (you must be fully unemployed or unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7), be capable of work, available and genuinely seeking work and have enough social insurance (PRSI) contributions.
If you are not entitled to Jobseekers Benefit or you have exhausted your entitlement, you may qualify for Jobseeker Allowance if you are habitually resident in Ireland and unemployed, capable of work, available for work and genuinely seeking work, aged between 18 and 66 and satisfy a means test.
Illness Benefit is a weekly allowance for insured people who cannot work because they are sick or ill. You must be aged under 66, covered by the appropriate class of social insurance (PRSI) and satisfy the PRSI conditions.
Disability Allowance is a weekly allowance that you may get if you have disability that is expected to last at least one year and you are aged between 16 and 66. You must satisfy a means test and a habitual residency test. You are required to have your own doctor complete a medical report, which is part of the application form, on your medical condition. This report is reviewed by one of the Department’s Medical Assessors.
Carer's Allowance is a weekly allowance for Carers who look after certain people who need full time care and attention. You may qualify for Carers Benefit instead of Carers Allowance if you leave the workforce to care for a person in need of full time care and attention.
Maternity Benefit/Adoptive Benefit
Maternity Benefit or Adoptive Benefit is a payment made to women who are on maternity leave from work and covered by social insurance (PRSI). Maternity Benefit is paid for 26 weeks (156 days). At least 2 weeks and not more than 16 weeks leave must be taken before the end of the week in which your baby is due. You can take a further 16 weeks unpaid maternity leave which must be taken immediately after the end of your 26 weeks ‘paid Maternity Benefit.
Child Benefit is payable to the parents or guardians of children under 16 years of age, or under 18 years of age if the child is in full-time education, Youth reach training or has a disability. Child Benefit ceases when you child reaches 18 year of age. If you are a frontier worker, the country of employment is responsible for your family benefits even though you may reside in another EU member State. If one parent works in Northern Ireland and the other parent works in Northern Ireland, the Member State of residence of the children pays the family benefits and the other State will examine if a supplementary payment is due.
One Parent Family Payment
One-Parent Family Payment (OPFP) is a payment for men and women under 66 who are bringing children up without the support of a partner. To get this payment you must meet certain conditions and you must satisfy a means test.
Supplementary Welfare Allowance
Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) scheme is designed for people who are habitually resident in Ireland and who do not have enough income to meet their needs. To apply you should contact the Department of Social Protection's representative at your local health centre or Department of Social Protection Office.