The Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) scheme aims to help families to move from social welfare into employment. It gives financial support to people with qualified children who are in or take up employment or self-employment and as a result stop claiming a jobseeker's payment or a one-parent family payment on or after 5 January 2015.
If you qualify for the scheme you will get a weekly payment for up to 2 years. You will be paid the equivalent of any Increases for Qualified Children that were being paid on your jobseeker or one-parent family payment (up to a maximum of 4 children) for the first year in employment. Half that amount will be paid weekly for the second year.
To qualify, you and all members of your family (including your adult dependant) must sign off all primary social welfare payments. The Back to Work Family Dividend can be paid with Family Income Supplement and some other non-primary social welfare payments. You can also claim certain short-term illness and injury benefits with BTWFD for up to 36 days (see 'Other payments and BTWFD' below). The habitual residence condition applies to BTWFD.
You may be eligible for the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) if you have at least one qualified child and are getting one of the following payments:
You can combine time spent on One-Parent Family Payment or Jobseeker’s Allowance Transition with time on a jobseeker’s payment when calculating the total period of unemployment.
You can also combine time on a jobseeker’s payment with time spent on education, training or employment schemes to meet the eligibility requirements. If you went from a qualifying payment to an education, training or employment scheme and then find work you can go directly onto the BTWFD scheme without having to sign back onto your original payment.
You must exit one of the qualifying payments or schemes to qualify for BTWFD. If you are not already in insurable employment or self-employment you must take up employment within 4 weeks of leaving your original payment or scheme. The employment must be in the State.
Note that if you were employed or self-employed and were getting OFP and your OFP has stopped because your youngest child has reached the age limit you may be eligible for BTWFD – if you do not sign onto another primary social welfare payment.
The Back to Work Family Dividend can be paid with Family Income Supplement (FIS) and is not taken into account in the means test for FIS. It can also be paid if you are getting an Increase for a Qualified Adult on your payment for your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant and they find work (and as a result you sign off your payment). However, you must meet all the conditions above and the Back to Work Family Dividend will be paid to you (as the recipient of the primary social welfare payment).
You are not eligible for BTWFD if you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is getting a primary social welfare payment or is on an employment or training scheme. You cannot get BTWFD for a child on whose behalf an IQC or IQA is being paid or who is getting a payment in their own right. BTWFD is not paid together with the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance.
BTWFD can be paid with the following payments (to you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant):
BTWFD is not assessed as means for Rent Supplement.
You can claim BTWFD and Illness Benefit or Injury Benefit (under the OIB scheme) for 36 days (6 weeks). Your BTWFD will be suspended after the 36th day of your Illness or Injury Benefit claim.
BTWFD will last for up to 2 years, if you remain in employment. If you claim a primary social welfare payment at any time within the 2-year period, the BTWFD payment will stop. If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant claims a payment the BTWFD payment will also stop.
If you lose your job and claim a social welfare payment the BTWFD stops but it may restart if you get a new job – to a maximum of 2 restarts per claim.
BTWFD is based on the standard Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) rate of €29.80. If you were getting a half-rate IQC with your payment you will get a standard rate BTWFD. There is a ceiling of €119.20 per week (4 children). You will be paid weekly by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) in arrears.
BTWFD is not taxable.
Contact your Intreo centre or local social welfare office to get more information on the scheme. They will explain how the application process works and give you the application form. You can also get the form online (pdf).
You can appeal a decision on your claim to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.
The last day for new BTWFD applications will be 31 March 2018. The scheme will end on 31 March 2021.
You are generally paid BTWFD from the date of your claim. Deciding officers can backdate BTWFD for up to 6 months from your claim if there was good cause for the delay.
Send your application for the Back to Work Family Dividend to your Intreo centre or local social welfare office.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000. The Phone Service will operate Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm during January 2017. You can also visit your local Citizens Information Centre.