How parents' income can affect Supplementary Welfare Allowance

Introduction

When you apply for a social assistance or means-tested payment your income is assessed to see whether you qualify. If you are 24 years of age or under and are living with a parent or a step-parent in the family home your parents' income will also be taken into account. The Department of Social Protection call this an assessment of the benefit and privilege you get from living with your parents.

This means that though you may have no income, your parents' income can affect your social welfare payment. Some people may still refer to benefit and privilege as 'board and lodgings'.

Rules

To be assessed for benefit and privilege you must be:

How to calculate benefit and privilege

Step 1, add together your parents' net income from all sources. (Net income is your gross income less income tax, PRSI, Universal Social Charge, private health insurance contribution, superannuation and union dues).

For example, your parents' net income includes income from:

  • Insurable employment
  • Self-employment
  • Community Employment (CE) schemes and SOLAS (formerly FÁS) training allowances
  • Maintenance payments
  • An occupational pension
  • All social welfare payments with the exception of the following: Fuel Allowance, Child Benefit, Domiciliary Care Allowance and Respite Care Grant.
  • All Health Service Executive Payments except for: Blind Welfare Allowance, Mobility Allowance and Foster Care Alllowance.
  • Net income from property other than the family home. So, for example, rental income (less expenses such as mortgage repayments, insurance costs and repairs) is taken into account. The capital value of any property is not taken into account.

Step 2, deduct the following from your parent’s net income to get their assessable income:

  • Rent or mortgage repayments
  • Standard weekly allowance of €600 for a two-parent family or €470 for a one-parent family
  • €30 for each child up to 18 years of age and for all children over 18 years in full time education. However, you cannot deduct €30 for a child who is getting a social welfare payment in his/her own right. For example, if there is a child 17 years of age and getting Disability Allowance in the household, you cannot deduct €30 from parental weekly income for this child. The child's social welfare payment is not included as income.

Step 3, after you have calculated your parents' assessable income, get 34% of this income. Only 34% of your parents' assessable income is taken into account and assessed as benefit and privilege. You subtract this amount from the standard rate of SWA for your circumstances to find out how much, if any, you qualify for.

An example showing how to calculate benefit and privilege

Example 1

A one-parent family with 4 children. Two of the children are still in school, one child in an apprenticeship and the claimant (that is, the person aged 24 or under who is applying for Supplementary Welfare Allowance).

Parent’s net weekly income €590
Less deductions from net income* €630
Total -€40

*Less weekly mortgage repayments of €100 and weekly disregard for children of €60 (€30 x 2 children) and one-parent standard weekly allowance of €470 (€100 + €60 + €470 = €630).

In this case, parental income of €590 is less than the total amount of deductions, which is €630. Therefore, parental income is assessed as NIL and will not affect the Supplementary Welfare Allowance claim.

Example 2

If we take the same situation of a one-parent family with 4 children. Two of the children are still in school, one child in an apprenticeship and the fourth is the claimant (that is, the person aged 24 or under who is applying for Supplementary Welfare Allowance). If we increase the parent's income to €800 per week, benefit and privilege is calculated as follows:

Parent’s net weekly income €800
Less deductions from net income* €630
Total €170

*Less weekly mortgage repayments of €100 and weekly disregard for children of €60 (€30 x 2 children) and one-parent standard weekly allowance of €470 (€100 + €60 + €470 = €630).

34% of the above total of €144 = €58 (rounded up from €57.80)

Maximum weekly Supplementary Welfare Allowance payment €100 less €58 = €42 (see 'Note' below)

Amount of Supplementary Welfare Allowance payable to claimant = €42

Note: People under 26 get an age related rate of Supplementary Welfare Allowance. More information on the SWA rates for people under 26 can be found in our document on Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

Page edited: 30 May 2017