Guardian's and orphan's payments
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:
- Guardian's Payment (Contributory) previously called Orphan's (Contributory) Allowance
- Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory) previously called Orphan's (Non-Contributory) Pension
- Death Benefit/Orphan's Pension awarded under the Occupational Injuries Scheme.
You cannot get one of these payments and a Foster Care Allowance together.
Taxation of payments to guardians
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.
Budget 2018: the weekly rate of Guardian’s Payment (Contributory), the maximum weekly rate of Guardian’s Payment (Non-Contributory) and the Death Benefit will increase by €5. These increases will take effect from the week beginning 26 March 2018.
A child is regarded as an orphan if:
- They are under 18 (or 22 if in full-time education)
- Both parents are dead, or
- One parent is either dead or unknown or has abandoned and failed to provide for the child, and
- The other parent is unknown or has abandoned and failed to provide for the child.
Guardian's Payment (Contributory)
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.
Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)
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.
Death Benefit/Orphan's Pension awarded under the Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme
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:
- Died as a result of an accident at work
- Died as a result of an occupational disease
- Was getting Disablement Pension assessed at 50% or more at the time of their death.
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).
Since 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).
How to apply
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 your local post office.
Where to apply
For Guardian's Payment:
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
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 (If calling from outside the Republic of Ireland please call + 353 71 915 7100)
Locall: 1890 500 000 (Note: the rates charged for using 1890 (Lo-call) numbers may vary)
You can email the Guardian's Payment section using the secure enquiry form.
For Death Benefit/Orphan's Pension:
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Social Welfare Services Office
Tel: (043) 334 0000 (If calling from outside the Republic of Ireland please call + 353 43 334 0000)
Locall: 1890 927 770 (Note: the rates charged for using 1890 (Lo-call) numbers may vary)
If you wish to talk to someone face-to-face about your entitlements, you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre, Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.