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What social welfare payments am I entitled to?

Social welfare entitlements can be very complex. Before you qualify, your personal circumstances will be taken into consideration before a decision is made. You can check what you may be entitled to here

The social welfare system in Ireland is managed by the Department of Social Protection. Social welfare payments are divided into three different types. These are:

  • Social insurance payments
  • Social assistance payments (means-tested)
  • Universal payments

Social Insurance (PRSI) Payments

To qualify for a social welfare payment you and/or your employer must have paid PRSI on your behalf two years before the tax year in which you are applying. For example, if you apply for a social welfare payment in 2015, PRSI must have been paid on your behalf in 2013.

Payments based on your PRSI contributions include:

  • Illness Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Benefit
  • Maternity Benefit
  • Adoptive Benefit
  • Health and Safety Benefit
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Widow/Widower/Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension
  • Guardian’s Payment (Contributory)
  • State Pension (Contributory)
  • Treatment Benefit
  • Occupational Injuries Benefit
  • Carer’s Benefit

For up-to-date information about each of these payments, please visit your local Department of Social Protection office or Citizens Information Bureau or find further information here.

Habitual Residence

To qualify for social welfare payments in Ireland, you must be a habitual resident. This means that you have a close link to Ireland and that you can prove it. It also means that you have been in Ireland for a length of time and intend to stay here for the foreseeable future.

* For your claim to be processed, you must give the Department of Social Protection all of the necessary documents requested by them.

Social Assistance Payments

Jobseeker’s Benefit & Jobseeker’s Allowance

Social assistance payments are for people who don’t qualify for social insurance payments because they do not have enough PRSI contributions. For example, if you become unemployed and apply for Jobseeker’s Benefit but fail because you have insufficient PRSI contributions, you can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance instead. Jobseeker’s Allowance is a similar payment but is not based on the number of PRSI contributions paid. Jobseeker’s Benefit is a social insurance payment but Jobseeker’s Allowance is a social assistance payment.

* Social assistance payments are means-tested. Meaning that the total amount of income coming into your household will be assessed and your payment will reflect that level of income.

Social assistance payments include:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Farm Assist is an income support scheme for farmers
  • Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension
  • Guardian’s Payment (Non-Contributory)
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance
  • State Pension (Non-Contributory)
  • Blind Pension
  • Disability Allowance
  • One-Parent Family Payment (OFP)

If you qualify for a social assistance payment, you may also be eligible for additional social welfare benefits.

Please visit your local Department of Social Protection office or Citizens Information Bureau for relevant, up-to-date information about each of the payments listed above. You can also find information on here

How do I apply for a social welfare payment?

To apply for a social welfare payment, you must contact your local Department of Social Protection (DSP) office where they will guide and advise you on your social welfare entitlements.

A list of local social welfare offices by county can be found here

Additional benefits

You may be entitled to additional benefits such as:

  • Family Income Supplement (FIS)
  • Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
  • Household Benefits Package
  • Fuel Allowance

Talk to your SII Community Outreach Officer who can help you to investigate this. Or contact your local Citizens Information Centre for advice.

Spinal Injuries Ireland,
Unit G3,
Pottery Business Centre,
Pottery Road,
Dun Laoghaire,
Co. Dublin,

Tel: +353-1-6532180