If you are taking care of an orphan you may get a social welfare payment. It is not necessary to be a legally appointed guardian. You may get such a payment if the orphan lives with you and you are responsible for his or her care. The payment must benefit the orphan.
If an orphan is attending a full-time education course, is aged between 18 and 22 years of age and is not living with or in the care of a guardian, the payment can be paid directly to the orphan.
The payment can be contributory (based on PRSI payments paid by the parent) or non-contributory (based on a means-test).
You can claim only one of the following:
You cannot get one of these payments and a Foster Care Allowance together.
Social welfare payments made for the benefit of an orphan are taxable. However, these payments are regarded as the beneficial property of the orphan and are therefore assessable against their income (if any), not against the income of the guardian.
A child is regarded as an orphan if:
If either parent or step-parent had worked at any time and paid PRSI for 26 weeks, the orphan is entitled to the Guardian's Payment (Contributory). This may be paid for an orphan living in the State or abroad and is not means tested. Payment is made to the orphan's guardian up to the child's 18th birthday or 22nd birthday if they are in full-time education.
This is a non-contributory payment for orphans who are not entitled to the contributory payment. The means test for this is based on the orphan's means. Payment is made to their guardian up to the orphan's 18th birthday or 22nd birthday if they are in full-time education.
You must be 'habitually resident' in Ireland to qualify for Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory). Find out more about habitual residence.
EU citizens who are employed or self-employed in Ireland will satisfy the habitual residence criteria to qualify for Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory) under EU Regulations.
Under the Occupational Injuries Scheme, a slightly higher pension may be payable to the guardian of an orphan if the parent, step-parent or person who was supporting the orphaned child or children:
This payment is not means tested and there are no specific PRSI requirements (as long as at least one week of PRSI has been paid).
From 17 March 2017, the Guardian's Payment (Contributory) is paid at a standard rate of €176 per week (previously €161 per week) and the maximum Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory) is €176 per week (previously €161 per week).
Whether or not you get the maximum Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory) will depend on the means test (this is carried out on the orphan's means - if any). If the orphan has means from work the first €7.60 is not assessed. If the orphan’s weekly means are more than €7.60 the Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory) is reduced by €2.50 for each €2.50 assessed (that is, for each €2.50 or part of €2.50 of means over the amount of €7.60). See SW19 for a table of how an orphan’s means affect a Guardian’s Payment (Non-Contributory).
The Death Benefit/Orphan's Pension payable under the Occupation Injuries Scheme is €179.80 from March 2017 (previously €164.80).
Guardian's Payment (Contributory) and Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)
To apply, fill in Form GP1 (pdf). You can also get an application form at every Post Office.
For Guardian's Payment:
Social Welfare Services
Opening Hours:This office does not offer a service to personal callers. All queries must be made using the online enquiry form, by telephone or in writing.
Tel:(071) 915 7100
Locall:1890 500 000
You can email the Guardian's Payment section using the secure enquiry form.
For Death Benefit/Orphan's Pension:
Social Welfare Services Office
Tel:(043) 334 0000
Locall:1890 927 770
If you wish to talk to someone face-to-face about your entitlements, you can visit your local Citizens Information centre, social welfare local office or Intreo centre.
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.