Family Income Supplement (FIS) is a weekly tax-free payment available to employees with children. It gives extra financial support to people on low pay. You cannot qualify for FIS if you are only self-employed - you must be an employee to qualify.
You must have at least one child who normally lives with you or is financially supported by you. Your child must be under 18 years of age or between 18 and 22 years of age and in full-time education.
To qualify for FIS, your average weekly family income must be below a certain amount for your family size. The FIS you receive is 60% of the difference between your average weekly family income and the income limit which applies to your family. For more information about average family income see ‘Rates’ below.
If you are getting FIS you may also be entitled to the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance. Your FIS payment is not taxed. Your income from FIS is not taken into account in the assessment for a medical card.
FIS is a tax-free weekly payment for employees:
Generally the payment continues for one year and is not affected by, for example, an increase or a decrease in earnings. The only situation in which you can apply for an increase in your FIS rate during the 52 week period is if you start to care for an additional child.
If your pay from work is reduced your Family Income Supplement (FIS) payment will stay the same. It will not increase. However, when your FIS payment ends you can re-apply giving details of your new reduced income. (FIS is usually paid for 52 weeks. At the end of the 52 weeks, you can re-apply for FIS.)
If the number of hours you work each week is reduced to below 19 hours (38 hours per fortnight) you are no longer entitled to FIS. You should notify the FIS section if your hours fall below the minimum requirement.
If you lose your job you are no longer entitled to FIS. You must notify the FIS section.
You cannot get FIS if you are on one of the following schemes or social welfare payments:
Your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant can claim FIS while you are getting one of these payments. However an Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA) will no longer be paid and your social welfare payment will be assessed as income for their FIS payment. Any Increase for a Qualified Child will be affected. Similarly if your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is getting one of these payments, you can qualify for FIS but an IQA will no longer be paid for you.
You can get FIS while you are taking part in the Job Initiative scheme or the Part-Time Job Incentive Scheme.
If you are parenting alone you may be entitled to FIS in addition to your One-Parent Family Payment, Deserted Wife's Benefit or Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory) Pension.
Under the Maternity Protection Act 1994, a woman who qualifies for Maternity Benefit, Adoptive Benefit or Health and Safety Benefit is entitled to claim FIS (provided she meets the conditions of the FIS payment and has a family – a pregnant woman who has no other children does not qualify for FIS until the birth of the baby). Your income must be less than the income limit for your family size. (If you are claiming Maternity Benefit your average weekly earnings are worked out using your gross earnings to date or your P60). Your FIS claim will then be paid for one year from the start of your Maternity Benefit payment (if you have a child already) or from the birth of your baby if it is your first baby. You are not entitled to continue to claim FIS if you take additional unpaid maternity or adoptive leave, if you do not return to work following maternity or adoptive leave or if you lose your job after returning to work.
A separated parent can apply for FIS once he or she meets the qualifying conditions and
Wholly maintaining means that maintenance paid by you, the FIS applicant, must be the sole income of your ex-spouse, ex-civil partner or ex-cohabitant.
Only one FIS payment can be made for a family
If you are a separated parent and paying maintenance you may qualify for FIS. To qualify you must be wholly maintaining the parent with whom the children are living. Only one FIS payment can be made for a family, the parent to whom you are paying maintenance must not be getting FIS.
If you are paying maintenance as a result of a court order or legally binding agreement for a second family, the amount of that maintenance payment will not be deducted from the income to be assessed for FIS.
If you are getting maintenance, your total maintenance payment will be assessed as income for FIS. Only one FIS payment can be made for a family. This means that the parent from whom you are getting maintenance must not be getting FIS.
A parent getting maintenance for a qualified child will also have that maintenance assessed for FIS.
FIS is calculated on the basis of 60% of the difference between the income limit for the family size and the assessable income of the person(s) raising the child(ren). The combined income of a couple (married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting) is taken into account.
Income from any source (excluding the disregards stated below) is assessed as means. However, though there are no rules excluding the assessment of capital, the Department of Social Protection generally does not assess capital or examine your bank account details when you apply for FIS.
The main items counted as income are:
*It was announced in Budget 2012 that income from carer's payments (Carer’s Benefit and Carer’s Allowance) will be included when calculating entitlement to Family Income Supplement. This measure is being implemented over 3 years. In 2013 two thirds (2/3) of any family income (to you or to your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant - including any increases for qualified children) from a carer's payment is assessed (January 2013 for new applicants and on renewal for all others). In 2014 all income from carer's payments will be assessed.
Income from working as a home help for the HSE will be assessed for all new FIS claims from January 2012 and on renewal for other claims.
The following payments do not count as family income:
Calculating income for FIS
The Department of Social Protection calculates your assessable income and your average income over a certain period of time.
If you are paid weekly or fortnightly, your weekly income is taken as your average weekly earnings over four weeks. If you are paid monthly, your weekly income is based on your average weekly earnings in a set two-month period. If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is self-employed, his or her income over the 12-month period before you lodge your claim is used to work out his or her average weekly income. However if it is more appropriate your average weekly income may be worked out on the basis of another period - for example your P60 may be used to calculate your average income from employment.
Again, to qualify, your average weekly family income must be below a certain amount for your family size.
|If you have:||And your weekly family income is less than:|
It's important to be aware, that no matter how little you may qualify for, you will still get a minimum of €20 each week.
If you are getting FIS you may also be entitled to the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance.
To apply fill in an application form for Family Income Supplement (pdf). You can get a copy of this form in your social welfare local office. If you need help to fill in this form, the staff in your social welfare local office or Citizens Information Centre can help you.
To make sure that your application for FIS is processed as quickly as possible, you should include your latest P60 form, 2 recent payslips, and a copy of your Certificate of Tax Credits for the current tax year with your application.
If you think you have been wrongly refused FIS you can appeal this decision.
Send your completed Family Income Supplement application form to:
Department of Social Protection
Social Welfare Services Office
Tel:(043) 334 0000
Locall:1890 92 77 70
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.