One-Parent Family Payment and Half Rate Maternity Benefit

If you are pregnant and expect to be parenting alone then you may be eligible for both the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) and a half rate of Maternity Benefit, once you meet the necessary conditions of each payment.

You can apply for the OFP as soon as your baby is born and if the payment is awarded you may receive a full rate of OFP (dependent on the means test) and half-rate Maternity Benefit for the duration of your maternity leave.

If you return to work after 26 weeks of maternity leave then you may still be eligible for the One-Parent Family Payment, depending on your income from employment. The first €165 you earn is ignored for the purposes of calculating your assessed means for the OFP payment. Half of the balance is assessed as means and a reduced OPF payment may be made, in addition to your earnings from work.

If you take additional unpaid maternity leave of up to 16 weeks, your Maternity Benefit will end after 26 weeks, but you could retain the OPF payment pending your return to work.

One-Parent Family Payment and Half Rate Carer’s Allowance

If you are parenting alone and caring for an adult (such as a parent or sibling) or a child for whom Domiciliary Care Allowance is payable, you may qualify for both One-Parent Family Payment and half-rate Carer’s Allowance provided you continue to meet the qualifying conditions for both payments. You would be paid both payments until your youngest child is 16. You can also receive an increase for any other qualified children up until the age of 18 (or 22 if in full time education), while half-rate Carer’s Allowance and One Parent Family Payment are being paid.

Once the child for whom you are receiving Carer’s Allowance reaches the age of 16, they may qualify for Disability Allowance in their own right. A parent who is still caring full-time for the child may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance without the child who is receipt of Disability Allowance, being included as a qualifying child.

Free Travel Pass

As a carer, you may receive a Free Travel Pass. This allows you to travel free of charge on any public transport. However, it is only for you and does not entitle anyone else to travel free of charge if they are accompanying you.

Household Benefits Package

If you are a carer and living with the person you are caring for, you may qualify for the Household Benefits Package, which includes an allowance towards Electricity, Natural Gas or Bottled Gas Refill Allowance and a Free TV Licence.

Fuel Allowance

You will not qualify for the Fuel Allowance on Carer’s Allowance alone, but if you are on another payment such as OFP you can qualify for it. The person you are caring for may be entitled to Fuel Allowance in their own right also. Fuel Allowance is paid, generally between the months of October and April, to people on certain long term social welfare payments. It is to assist people on low incomes with heating their home. The current rate of fuel allowance (2023-2024) is €33 per week.  If you are getting a social welfare payment, Fuel Allowance is included in your weekly payment. If you are not getting a social welfare payment, the Fuel Allowance can be paid directly to your bank account, or you can collect it from your local post office.

Carer’s Support Grant

While in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, you will also be eligible for the Carer’s Support Grant, which is currently (2023) €1850 per year and paid on the first Thursday in June. 

Carer’s Leave

Carer’s leave allows for employees, who have been working for their employer for a minimum of 12 months, to leave their work on a temporary basis, in order to provide full time care and attention to someone in need. The minimum is 13 weeks and the maximum is 104 weeks. Carer’s leave is unpaid leave however you may be eligible for either Carer’s Benefit, if you meet the requirements for PRSI contributions or you may qualify for Carer’s Allowance, which is means tested. You do not have to be eligible for either of these payments in order to take Carer’s leave.