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Diet and heating supplements

Information

If you have special dietary and heating needs you may be able to get additional weekly supplements under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme.

You must satisfy the specific requirements for each supplement - see 'Rules' below.

Rules

Diet supplement

The diet supplement was discontinued for new applicants from 1 February 2014.

However, people who were getting Diet Supplement before 1 February 2014 can continue to keep the payment (for as long as they continue to be entitled to the payment).

You are entitled to retain the diet supplement for a prescribed diet, if you:

  • Have a specified medical condition
  • Meet the conditions for Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) and
  • Satisfy a means test

To get a diet supplement, a hospital consultant or a hospital registrar must certify:

  • That you or your adult dependant or child dependant has been prescribed a diet because of a specified medical condition
  • The type of diet prescribed
  • How long you will need the prescribed diet.

A gluten free diet for an adult or a child aged 18 to 22 may be prescribed by your family doctor (GP).

In the case of diet supplements, for example, for people with cystic fibrosis, the long-term illness scheme book may be accepted as verification that such a diet has been prescribed. The length of time for which the diet is being prescribed and the type of diet must be stated.

Qualifying diets

The weekly cost of each prescribed diet is set by the Department of Social Protection. The following diets qualify for the diet supplement:

Qualifying prescribed diets Cost of diet, €
Low-lactose, milk-free diet 65.43
Gluten-free diet 68.43
High-protein, high-calorie diet 71.43
Altered consistencies (liquidised) diet 74.93

Heating supplement

The heating supplement is an additional weekly payment to help with the cost of heating your home. You may get a heating supplement, if you:

  • Can show you have extra heating needs because of your age, medical condition or disability
  • Are living alone or only with a dependent adult or dependent children
  • Satisfy a means test

Rates

Adult diet supplement

The rate for a single person and lone parent is calculated as follows: The diet cost as set by the Department of Social Protection, less one-third of your social welfare payment at the 2007 rate = the diet supplement to be paid to you. You can check the rates for 2007 in SW19 (pdf).

Example 1:

  • Paul is on a high-protein, high-calorie diet and is getting a One-Parent Family Payment. The Department of Social Protection has set the cost of this diet at €71.43. Take one-third of his social welfare payment (excluding any amount he is getting for a child dependant) from €71.43 to get the amount of diet supplement payable. (€71.43 - €61.93 (or one-third of his One Parent Family Payment at the 2007 rate) = €9.50 paid as diet supplement)

The rate for a married or cohabiting couple is calculated as follows: The diet cost as set by the Department of Social Protection less one-sixth of your social welfare payment at the 2007 rate = the diet supplement to be paid to you.

Example 2:

  • Mary is married and on a high-protein high-calorie diet and is getting Jobseeker's Allowance. The Department of Social Protection has set the cost of this diet at €71.43 . Take one-sixth of her social welfare payment (excluding any amount she is getting for a child dependant) from €71.43 to get the amount of diet supplement payable. (€71.43 - €51.52 (one-sixth of her Jobseeker's Allowance payment including an increase for her adult dependant at the 2007 rate) = €19.91 paid as diet supplement)

People getting Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement

If you are getting Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement, the Supplementary Welfare Allowance personal rate for 2007, and qualified adult rate where applicable, is used to calculate the amount of diet supplement. In assessing your means, any increases in social welfare payments for children are not taken into account.

Child diet supplement

The diet supplement rates for a qualified child are as follows:

  • Low lactose, milk free diet = €3.50
  • Gluten free diet = €6.50
  • High protein, high calorie diet = €9.50
  • Altered consistency (liquidised) diet = €13

A child is considered to be a dependant if they are under 18, or are over 18 and under 22 and in full-time education.

Heating supplement

There is no fixed rate for heating supplement. The amount of heating supplement you get is based on your need as assesed by your Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer).

How to apply

To apply for a heating supplement, fill in a heating supplement form (pdf). The Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) can help you fill in the form.

The diet supplement was discontinued for new applicants from 1 February 2014.

Appeals

You can appeal a decision on a diet supplement to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office.

You can make a request for a review of a decision on a heating supplement to the SWA Reviewing Officer in the Community Welfare Service.

Where to apply

To get a heating supplement, apply to the Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) in your local health centre.

Page updated: 6 February 2014

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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.