Transition from One-Parent Family Payment
On 2 July 2015 the age limit for the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) reduced to 7 years for most claimants. This meant that a large number of people no longer qualified for OFP from July 2015 because their youngest child was over the age limit. There are exemptions to the age limit for people parenting alone who are getting a Domiciliary Care Allowance or Blind Pension, who are caring or who have been recently bereaved.
This document gives an overview of the options open to you. You can also get more information and advice at your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office or your nearest Citizens Information Centre.
Jobseeker’s Transitional payment
Most people who no longer qualify for a One-Parent Family Payment because their youngest child is aged 7 will transfer to the Jobseeker’s Transitional payment (called JST).
JST is paid to people who are not cohabiting and whose youngest child is aged between 7 and 13. It aims to support you into the workforce while also acknowledging that you are caring for young children. You can take part in a course of education and get JST. You can get more information in our document on the Jobseeker’s Transitional payment.
OFP and Family Income Supplement
If you are working and getting Family Income Supplement (FIS) in addition to OFP, your FIS payment will be automatically reviewed when your OFP ends. In most cases this will lead to an increase in your FIS payment.
You may also qualify for the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD). This payment allows parents getting One-Parent Family Payment or a jobseeker’s payment to keep the full Increase for a Qualified Child (€29.80 per week per child) for the first year of employment or self-employment and half that amount in the second year. BTWFD can be paid as well as FIS and it will have no impact on your entitlement to FIS.
If you have a general question about FIS you can call the FIS section at (043) 334 0053 or e-mail FISSection@welfare.ie.
OFP and Carer’s Allowance
People parenting alone, who meet the qualifying criteria for Carer's Allowance, may qualify for both One-Parent Family Payment and half-rate Carer's Allowance (CA). If your youngest child is aged between 7 and 15, you must qualify for Carer's Allowance to continue to get OFP. You will also get an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) for any other children in the family until they reach 18 (or 22 if in full-time education) while CA and OFP is in payment. (See our document on One-Parent Family Payment for more information on other exceptions to the age limits.)
This means that you can claim OFP and a half-rate Carer’s Allowance until your youngest child turns 16 provided you continue to meet the conditions for both schemes.
OFP and Domiciliary Care Allowance
If you are getting Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) for one of your children, the age limit of 7 for the youngest child does not apply, and you can retain your OFP payment. This means that you can continue to qualify for OFP until that child is aged 16 or your DCA stops. You will also get an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) for any other children in the family until they reach 18 (or 22 if in full-time education) while DCA and OFP is in payment. If your youngest child is under 7 years of age when your DCA stops you may also continue to qualify for OFP.
OFP and Blind Pension
Blind Pension is payable with OFP. This means that a person who qualifies for OFP and Blind Pension can get both payments at the full rate. People who qualify for Blind Pension will be exempted from the age conditions for OFP. This means that you can claim both Blind Pension and OFP (and any IQCs payable with both Blind Pension and OFP) together until your youngest child is 16 years of age.
OFP and return to education
If you are taking part in a recognised education course when your entitlement to OFP ends you can finish your course and get a payment. The payment you qualify for depends on your circumstances.
If you are in education and your OFP ends because your youngest child has reached the age limit you can move to the Jobseeker’s Transitional payment (JST) and continue your course. You can claim JST and a student grant at the same time and the grant will not be assessed as means for JST. However, you should note that you cannot claim Rent Supplement if you are getting a student grant or if you are in full-time education. (Entitlement to HAP is not affected by this rule.)
It is important to remember that your entitlement to JST will end when your youngest child reaches the age of 14. If you have not finished your course when your youngest child reaches the age of 14 you will have to either transfer to the Back to Education Allowance to complete your course or opt to remain in receipt of your student grant.
OFP and employment schemes
If you are on an employment scheme (such as Community Employment) when your entitlement to OFP ends you can continue on the scheme until it finishes and get a payment. DSP staff will arrange this for you.
OFP and housing support
Most sources of income (including OFP) are taken into account in the means test for social housing support and the calculation of differential rents.
If you are applying for social housing, you should notify the local authority of any change in your income so that your means can be reassessed.
If you are already renting from a local authority or a housing association, you should notify them of any change in your income so that your rent can be recalculated. If you are renting under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme, you should notify the local authority of any change in your income so that your rent contribution can be recalculated.
If you are on Rent Supplement, any change in your circumstances may affect your entitlement and you should notify the Department of Social Protection office that pays your Rent Supplement. In particular, as noted above, you cannot claim Rent Supplement if you are getting a student grant or if you are in full-time education. There is also a limit to the number of hours you can work per week and continue to get Rent Supplement. (Note, if you transfer to HAP instead, you can work full-time and keep your entitlement to HAP.)