Mercer Oneview Ireland

Social Welfare and Assistance in Ireland

Most of us will ultimately be eligible for at least one form of social welfare payment: the State Pension. However there are a multiplicity of payments available for people with different categories of need.

Some of the main categories of social welfare payment are detailed below. However this list is far from exhaustive. For greater detail, we recommend that you check through the Citizens Information website.

Citizen's information

Citizens Information will also be able to tell you how to claim your social welfare payments.

Eligibility for many social welfare benefits is determined by your record of paying PRSI contributions and your PRSI class. Eligibility for others is determined by a means test – means tested benefits are only paid out to people with income and assets that fall beneath a certain threshold.

We recommend that you check through the list below and identify any payments that you think you might be entitled to. Then find out the full details on the Citizens Information website.


If you are caring for somebody else, you should examine whether you are eligible for any of the following benefits or reliefs:

  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Half-rate Carer’s Allowance
  • Carer’s Benefit - if you leave the workforce to act as a carer
  • Respite Care Grant - extra annual payment
  • Domiciliary Care Allowance – in respect of children with severe disabilities

Death-related benefits

  • Widow’s/widower’s non-contributory pension
  • Widow’s/widower’s contributory pension
  • Widowed or Surviving Civil Partner Grant
  • Continuing welfare payments for the deceased for up to 6 weeks after death
  • Guardian’s payment (non-contributory) - caring for an orphan
  • Guardian’s payment (contributory) - caring for an orphan
  • Special Funeral Grant - for those who die at work

Disability and illness

  • Illness Benefit - payable while sick if prevented from working
  • Invalidity Pension - payable after illness benefit has been paid
  • Disability Allowance - for people with a disability expected to last one year or more
  • Blind Pension
  • Injury benefit – for 26 weeks after illness or accident prevents work
  • Disablement Benefit – For accidents at work causing disability, even if you do manage to return to work


  • Back to Education Allowance – for unemployed people resuming education
  • Part Time Education Option – Allows you to retain unemployment benefits while taking a part-time course
  • Education, Training and Development Option – Allows you to retain unemployment benefits while taking a full-time course
  • Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme – free courses for unemployed people in receipt of unemployment benefit

Farming and Fishing

  • Farm Assist – For farmers; similar to Jobseekers Allowance but with a lower means test and no requirement to be seeking work
  • Rural Social Scheme – Provides additional work for farmers and fishermen at suitable hours

Families and Children

  • Maternity Benefit - Paid while on maternity leave from work
  • Child Benefit
  • One Parent Family Payment
  • Health and Safety Benefit - For recent mothers or prospective mothers prevented from working in their profession due to health risks related to the work
  • Adoptive benefit - For 24 weeks after adopting a child
  • Family Income Supplement - For low income parents
  • Back to School Clothing and Footwear allowance - Annual payment for low income parents

Older People

  • State pension (non-contributory) - For those aged 66 or over who do not have enough social insurance contributions to qualify for the contributory state pension
  • State pension (transition) – For those aged 65 who are not working – ceases at 66


  • Jobseeker’s Benefit – payable for up to one year to unemployed people
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance – payable to unemployed people who do not qualify for, or have used up their entitlement to, Jobseeker’s Benefit

Other Social Welfare Entitlements

  • Household Benefits Package – Assistance with gas, electricity and television costs for those on low incomes who are old or disabled
  • Living alone increase – For those receiving certain other social welfare payments who are living alone
  • Smokeless Fuel Allowance – For those receiving fuel allowance or certain other social welfare benefits who live in a smokeless fuel area
  • Fuel Allowance – For those receiving certain other social welfare benefits who cannot afford fuel
  • The information contained in this website is for information purposes only. It should not be taken in any way as advice. It should not be relied upon as an offer to purchase or sell any of the products that are discussed.
  • The value of investments can go down as well as up.
  • Investments or products mentioned on this site may or may not be suitable for you.
  • Before investing or purchasing any product you should always seek independent financial advice. Mercer can provide independent financial advice if required.

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