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Calculating Rent Supplement

Introduction

Before you start to calculate your Rent Supplement you must check whether you qualify. Make sure you read our document on Rent Supplement. You should use the worksheet for calculating Rent Supplement with this document.

Calculating Rent Supplement is very complex. The Department of Social Protection's (DSP) representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) will calculate your entitlement to Rent Supplement. If you have any questions about your entitlement to Rent Supplement you should contact your local DSP representative.

This document shows you the steps involved in calculating Rent Supplement. There are 6 steps:

Step 1: Calculate your gross assessable weekly income from all sources

Include all income you and your spouse, partner or cohabitant have from DSP payments, Family Income Supplement, employment or training schemes and gross income from employment or self-employment. Include all income from maintenance if applicable. Include any means from capital that you have (see below).

Some income is not counted for Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) schemes so you do not need to include it when working out your gross income. The following items are not taken into account as income:

  • Child Benefit
  • Mobility Allowance
  • Foster care payments from the Health Service Executive
  • Payments for accommodating children under the Child Care Act
  • Income from Gaeltacht students
  • Grants or allowances from schemes promoting the welfare of blind people
  • Money received from charitable organisations, for example, St Vincent de Paul
  • Compensation awarded by the Compensation Tribunal in respect of Hepatitis C contracted from certain blood products, to those who have disabilities caused by Thalidomide and to those receiving compensation under the Residential Institutions Redress Board
  • Maintenance grants paid for educational purposes
  • Domiciliary Care Allowance
  • Half-rate Carer's Allowance
  • Respite Care Grant
  • Guardian's Payment (Contributory) and Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)

From January 2012 income from working as a home help with the HSE is taken into account.

The capital value of property (except your own home), investments and savings are assessed on a weekly basis as follows:

First €5,000 is not taken into account
Next €10,000 is assessed at €1 per €1,000
Next €25,000 is assessed at €2 per €1,000
Any capital over €40,000 is assessed at €4 per €1,000.

Step 2: Find out what your income in excess of the SWA rate is

To do this you deduct the Over 65 disregard, the Carer’s disregard, travel costs, PRSI and the appropriate basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) rate for your circumstances from your gross assessable income to find out what your income in excess of the SWA rate is.

Over 65 disregard: If you are aged 65 or over (or where one of a couple is of pensionable age) and have a combined household income greater than the rate of SWA appropriate to your household circumstances, you are allowed a disregard. This disregard is equal to the difference between the maximum rate of State Pension (Contributory) appropriate to your circumstances and the rate of SWA appropriate to your circumstances (even if you are not getting a pension). The effect of this is that a person whose only income is a State pension will pay no more than the minimum household contribution towards their rent.

For example, the Over-65 disregard for a person aged 65 or over would be the maximum State Pension (Contributory) rate (€230.60) minus the SWA rate for a single person (€186) which is €44.30.

The Over 65 disregard for a couple who are both aged 66 and getting separate payments or working would be worked out using the maximum State Pension (Contributory) rate for 2 people minus the basic SWA rate for a couple (€460.60 - €310.80 = €149.80). Their Over 65 disregard would be €149.80.

Carer’s disregard: If you are getting a carer's payment, the amount of Carer's Allowance or Benefit in payment above the appropriate SWA rate for your situation (either the adult dependant rate for a couple or the personal rate for a single person) is not taken into account. To get your carer’s disregard you subtract the relevant rate of SWA (either €124.80 or €186) from the actual rate of Carer’s Allowance or Benefit you are getting (not including any Increases for Qualified Children).

Your travel costs will vary depending on where you live – ask your local Community Welfare Office for more information.

See sample SWA rates for different family groupings and circumstances.

The figure for income in excess of the SWA rate is your contribution from means (in addition to your minimum household contribution) if Step 3 does not apply to you

Step 3: Calculate the Additional Income disregard or Rehabilitative Earnings disregard (if applicable)

The Additional Income disregard is a certain amount of your household income which is not taken into account. The first €75 of any additional household income above the SWA rate for your circumstances is not taken into account. Also, 25% of your additional household income over €75 is not taken into account. There is no upper limit on the amount that can be disregarded.

Additional income includes income from the following:

  • Part-time employment or part-time self-employment (under 30 hours per week)
  • Full-time employment or full-time self-employment (30 hours or over per week) where you are accepted as being in need of accommodation under the Rental Accommodation Scheme.
  • SOLAS training allowances or training provided on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills (for example, YouthReach) and ETB/VEC training,
  • Back to Work Allowance and the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance
  • Rural Social Scheme
  • TÚS
  • JobBridge
  • The Part-time Job Incentive Scheme
  • Community Employment
  • Momentum and Skillnets
  • Work Placement Scheme
  • Gateway Scheme
  • Family Income Supplement
  • Maintenance over €95.23*

*Maintenance is assessed as additional income and maintenance payments up to €95.23 per week are assessed in full. (The reason for this is that the first €95.23 per week of maintenance payments are considered to be a contribution towards your housing expenses.) The Additional Income disregard applies to maintenance payments above this amount. If you are getting maintenance under €95.23 do not include it in this step. If your maintenance is over €95.23 you should subtract €95.25 and include the excess maintenance when working out your Additional Income disregard.

You work out your additional income using the formula: (A+B) – C or the value of A – whichever is the smallest amount.

A = income from employment, prescribed employment or training schemes, Family Income Supplement and maintenance payments of over €95.23 a week

B = assessable weekly income from all other sources

C = SWA rate for family circumstances

You subtract PRSI, pension contributions and Revenue-approved income continuance payments from your additional income figure.

You then subtract €75 and get 25% of the remaining figure. Add €75 and 25% of the subtotal together – this is your Additional Income disregard.

For example:

Mary has 1 child. She works and earns €385 weekly in a part-time job. She gets a One-Parent Family payment of €95.30 a week and maintenance of €80 a week. Her additional income is:

A= €385

B= €95.30

C= €215.80

(A+B) – C= €264.50

Subtract PRSI (4% of €385=€15.40)

€249.10 - €75 = €174.10

25% of €174.10 = €43.52

Mary's Additional Income disregard is €118.52

The Rehabilitative Earnings disregard is up to €120 from rehabilitative training or employment which is not taken into account in the assessment for Rent Supplement. All rehabilitative earnings over €120 are taken into account and will affect your Rent Supplement. If your earnings are under €120 then use that figure as your Rehabilitative Earnings disregard.

If you are working and getting Disability Allowance or Blind Pension you can either use the Rehabilitative Earnings disregard or the Additional Income disregard (but not both). Use whichever is in your best interest.

You should always work out what your Additional Income disregard would be and compare it to your Rehabilitative Earnings disregard.

For example:

Jack gets Disability Allowance and earns €180 a week. His Rehabilitative Earnings disregard is €120. His Additional Income disregard would be €101.75 so it is more beneficial for him to use the Rehabilitative Earnings disregard.

Petra gets Disability Allowance and earns €70 a week. Her Rehabilitative Earnings disregard would be €70 a week. Her Additional Income disregard would be €72 so it is more beneficial for her to use the Additional Income disregard.

Step 4: Calculate your contribution from means

You subtract the disregards you calculated in Step 3 from the figure you calculated in Step 2 to get your contribution from means.

Step 5: Find your total contribution to your rent

Find the total amount you must pay towards your rent. To do this, add your contribution from means (this is the total figure after Step 4) and your minimum Household contribution.

Minimum Household contribution

The household (this is the claimant and may also include a qualified adult and qualified children) must contribute at least €30 towards rent. If you are one of a couple you contribute €40.

Non-dependent household members who are solely dependent on a personal social welfare payment must also contribute at least €30. However, if benefit and privilege has been assessed against your social welfare payment you will not have to contribute €30.

The DSP's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) can reduce the amount of Rent Supplement payable by an amount which, in their opinion, is payable by each non-dependent household member in employment. Custom and practice is that the assessable income of the non-dependent household member (that is, gross income less PRSI and travel costs to work) is divided by the appropriate rate of SWA for their situation which is then multiplied by €30 to establish their liability to contribute.

For example:

If your 26 year old daughter is living with you and earning €700 per week:

€700 ÷ €186 (SWA) = €3.76

Multiply €3.76 by €30 = €112.80

In this case, your Rent Supplement is reduced by €112.80

A couple aged over 65 with an income equal or less than the State Pension (Contributory) for their situation will contribute €40 towards their rent. A couple who both have State Pensions (Contributory) and no other income will also contribute €40 towards their rent.

Step 6: Find your Rent Supplement payment

To calculate your Rent Supplement you subtract your total contribution to rent from your weekly rent.

In Step 5, you found your total contribution to your rent. Now you need to find out how much your weekly rent is. You may already know how much your weekly rent is. If you pay your rent by month, you must multiply your monthly rent figure by 12 and divide it by 52 to get your weekly rent figure. Your rent must not be above the maximum limit set for your area.

For example

Susan and Paul are living in Dublin and paying €900 per month for accommodation.

To get the weekly rent figure, multiply €900 by 12 and divide by 52.

Monthly rent €900

(Multiply by 12 months ) x 12 = €10,800 a year

€(Divide by 52 weeks) ÷ 52 = €207.70 a week

Weekly rent is €207.70

A maximum rent level is set for each county. The maximum rent level for your county is set by the Department of Social Protection. The Community Welfare Service may set lower rates within these limits. If your actual rent is higher than the local maximum, you may be refused Rent Supplement.

Where to apply

Contact the Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) at your local health office.

Page updated: 26 March 2014

Language

Gaeilge

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Contact Us

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.