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Family benefits and entitlements

Information

There is a range of social welfare, tax and employment related benefits and entitlements available to families in Ireland, depending on their circumstances. The following is an overview of some of these benefits and entitlements and leads on to more detailed information on the various supports.

Social welfare supports

The Department of Social Protection provides social welfare payments to support families including cohabiting couples and civil partnerships, particularly those with children. These payments are both means-tested and based on social insurance contributions. Supports are also available for those in low-paid employment and for parents bringing children up without the support of a partner. There are also payments for orphans. Read about the various social welfare payments that are available here.

Under EU regulations EU/EEA citizens and Swiss nationals who are employed or self-employed in Ireland and subject to the Irish Social Insurance system, do not have to satisfy the habitual residence condition to qualify for Family Benefits.

Taxes

In the year of marriage or registration of civil partnership, you are treated as being single for taxation purposes. If however, you would have paid less tax had you been treated as married or a civil partner, you can claim a refund. For subsequent years married people and civil partners can choose from three taxation options.

There are no specific tax reliefs for children. There is, however, an Incapaciated Child Tax Credit if your child is permanently incapacitated and a Home Carer's Tax Credit where one spouse is caring for a dependant such as a child. The Revenue Commissioner's leaflet on the Home Carer's Tax Credit is available here (pdf) while information on tax reliefs for people with disabilities is available here.

There are specific tax reliefs for one-parent families. There are also other tax credits and allowances which families can avail of.

Birth

There are both employment-related entitlements and social welfare payments that you may be able to avail of related to the birth of a child. If you are entitled to parental leave you can take unpaid leave to look after children without affecting most of your employment rights.

Death

There are certain once-off payments provided by Department of Social Protection that are available to help out families around the time of bereavement. There are, for example, grants to help with funeral costs. There are also specific rules about taxation in the year of a person's death and tax credits for widows and surviving civil partners.

Page updated: 10 February 2014

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If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.