Whether it’s paying the bills, making sure you are receiving the right benefits to maximise your income, or looking for maintenance for your child, money worries are a problem for many people who parent alone. If you are experiencing financial hardship, then see our information on financial help below. Practical, accessible advice about housing options is also offered.
If you are applying for One Parent Family Payment or Jobseeker’s transition payment then you may be asked to seek maintenance from the other parent. This is information that may be helpful to know about social welfare payments and maintenance, especially if you have concerns about your or your childrens safety.
If you need to contact the Department of Social Protection about application for payments, notifying them of a change of circumstances, making an appeal, or any other reason, our Guide can help.
Budget 2018 Factsheet
We have compiled a factsheet for parents that summarises the main changes that may affect people parenting alone or sharing parenting. It is available to read here – Budget 2018
If you are parenting alone or sharing parenting then maximising your income is an all-important need for providing for your family. If you are not currently in work then it is likely that your income will be a social welfare payment. For those with younger children, aged under 7, this may be the One-Parent Family Payment; there are also alternative payments for those whose children are aged between 7 and 14 such as the Jobseeker’s Allowance Transitional payment; for those with dependent children over 14 and seeking work, or for those who have other caring responsibilities or you may have a medical condition, physical or mental disability, which effects your ability to work. If you are in employment then you may still qualify for some social welfare payments such as the One-Parent Family Payment, if your income is less than €425; or the Family Income Supplement. Take a look at the different payments below in the In-Work Benefits section, to see which may apply to you.
One-Parent Family Payment
The One-Parent Family Payment is the main payment made to men and women parenting alone without the support of a partner.
Jobseeker’s Allowance – Transitional (JST)
If your One-Parent Family Payment is ending due to the age of your youngest child and he or she is under the age of 14 then you may qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance – Transitional. This means that you will be exempt from the full Jobseeker’s Allowance conditions of being available for and genuinely seeking full time work.
Back to Education Allowance
This scheme can enable a lone parent to go back to approved second or third level education to study on a full-time basis and retain a social welfare payment.
A one-parent family and a full-time carer
If you are parenting alone and also a full-time carer of another adult or your child,who may have a long-term illness then you may qualify for the One-Parent Family Payment and a half rate Carer’s Allowance.
Child Benefit is a monthly payment made to the parents or guardians of children under 16 years of age, or under 18 if the child is in full-time education, attending Youthreach or has a disability.
There are times for families when there is a struggle to meet everyday living costs and this can be even tougher when there is an unexpected bill or an unanticipated cost arises. Take a look at the information here for the details of some options that may be available.
These are additional benefits that you may be eligible for if you are in receipt of a main social welfare payment, such as the One-Parent Family Payment
Fuel Allowance helps towards the cost of heating your home during the colder months. It is a payment of €22.50 a week to go towards your heating bills and there is a new option of receiving the payment in two lump sums this winter.
Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
This payment aims at supporting families on lower incomes with the cost of school uniforms and footwear.
This means tested payment can help towards paying your rent.
Maternity Benefit is a payment made to women who are on maternity leave from work and covered by social insurance (PRSI). It is paid for a maximum of 26 weeks, however you can take an additional 16 weeks of maternity leave, unpaid.
Paternity Benefit is a new payment for those on paternity leave from work. A parent can take two weeks of leave in the first six months of their baby’s life and may be eligible for this payment, subject to meeting the conditions.
Family Income Supplement (FIS)
If you work 19 hours or more a week you may be eligible for this payment to working families on a lower income.
Back to Work Family Dividend
The Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) is a payment which will offer financial support to jobseekers with children and One Parent Family Payment recipients who end their social welfare claim to start a job, increase their hours at work or start self employment.
Single Person Child Carer Credit (replaced One Parent Family Tax Credit)
Single Person Child Carer Credit (SPCCC) has replaced the One-Parent Family Credit (OPFC) from 1st January 2014. It is different from the One Parent Family Credit as now it is only available to one parent; the parent with whom the child lives with for a majority of the year, whereas previously both parents could each claim the credit for their child. The Credit can be claimed by completing the form, which is available from Revenue. You may be able to claim the credit if you are unmarried, separated, divorced, or widowed and have a dependent child, subject to certain conditions.
If your sole income is social welfare then you will be eligible for a medical card.
GP Visit Card
If you are not eligible for a Medical card, as assessed by the HSE then you may be considered for a GP visit card.
Budget 2016 Social Welfare Changes
There were a small number of changes for some social welfare payments such as an increase in the rate of Fuel Allowance, a increase in the threshold of net income for Family Income Supplement as well as news that the €90 earnings disregard that applies to One-Parent Family Payment will also apply to those on Jobseeker’s Allowance Transition, from January 2016. See our information sheet for more information:
Local Authority Housing
Local authorities are the main providers of housing for people who cannot afford to provide for their own homes from their income. The first step is to apply to the local authority for housing, they will consider whether you are eligible first of all and if so then you may be assessed as to your housing need.
The main criteria for assessment are that your household income is below a set maximum threshold and also that you do not have suitable alternative accommodation.
Alternative accommodation may be considered as such if you have a property that you could live in, even if you currently do not because it is rented out.
There are extensive waiting lists for social housing but if you are considered as in housing need by a local authority then you may be able to apply for Rent Supplement to help towards the cost of renting a house privately.
Some voluntary housing providers provide social housing and tenants must usually be registered as in housing need with their local authority to be eligible for voluntary housing. Some housing associations provide housing for certain target groups such as the elderly or people with disabilities whilst others provide for general needs housing.
Rental Accommodation Scheme
The Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) is a housing initiative introduced in 2004 and is managed by the local housing authority. The scheme provides the option for quality rented housing for those who have been in receipt of Rent Supplement for 18 months or more. It provides a greater security of tenure in that most contracts are for four years duration and at a more affordable rent read more
Irish Council for Social Housing – for lists of housing associations and providers
Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government – for contact details of local authorities in Ireland
Department of Social Protection – community welfare service with information on Supplementary Welfare Allowance and Rent Supplement