Help with the cost of living


Prices have been rising and you may be struggling to pay for the everyday things you need to support yourself and your family.

This page has advice on some of the supports that are available and information about how you can manage your money.

Cost of living measures in Budget 2024

Budget 2024 was announced on 10 October 2023. It included short-term measures to help people with the cost of living.

Once-off payments in winter 2023

Once-off double week in January 2024

A once-off double week for all weekly qualifying social welfare payments was paid in the week beginning 29 January 2024. Payments that qualify for the Christmas Bonus qualified for the once-off double week.

Help with energy costs

You get €450 off your domestic electricity bills. This energy credit was paid in 3 instalments of €150 in:

  • December 2023
  • January 2024
  • March 2024

A €300 once-off lump sum was paid to people getting Fuel Allowance in November 2023.

The reduced 9% VAT rate for gas and electricity will be extended for 12 months to 31 October 2024.

The temporary excise rate reductions on auto diesel, petrol and marked gas oil that were due to expire on 31 October 2023 were extended until 31 March 2024.

Claiming social welfare

You may be able to get social welfare assistance even if you work full-time or have never claimed a payment before. There are many types of social welfare payment and you can find the rules of each payment in our social welfare section.

Additional Needs Payment

The Additional Needs Payment can help you with an expense that you cannot pay from your weekly income. The amount that you can get depends on your circumstances and the type of help you need. You can get the Additional Needs Payment for:

  • An increase in your fuel or electricity costs
  • Essential repairs to property, including motor vehicles and replacing household appliances and furniture
  • Funeral costs
  • Deposits for private rented accommodation
  • Bedding and cooking utensils, if you are setting up home for the first time
  • Food, clothing and shelter after an emergency event such as a fire or flood
  • Recurring travel costs to hospital
  • Visiting a relative in hospital or prison

This is not a complete list, other expenses can be covered too.

Working Family Payment

Working Family Payment (WFP) is a weekly payment for employees with children. It supports people who are on low pay who work at least 38 hours per fortnight. The amount you get depends on how many children you have and the amount of money you take home.

Other social welfare supports

You can get information about:

Housing costs

You could qualify for help with paying your rent through the Housing Assistance Payment. If you have difficulties paying your mortgage, you should talk to your mortgage provider as soon as possible. You can get advice from the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS).

Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a social housing support for people who have a long-term housing need. The rent must be within set rent limits that depend on the size of your family. Local authorities can now go up to 35% above the HAP rent limits.

Rent increases

If you live in a Rent Pressure Zone, your landlord cannot increase the rent by more than 2% per year. Outside of Rent Pressure Zones, your landlord can increase rent in line with the current market value for similar properties in the area.

Your landlord cannot increase the rent more than once per year. Disputes about rent increases can be referred to the Residential Tenancies Board.

Problems paying your rent or mortgage

MABS has advice on dealing with:

Mortgage interest tax credit

A new temporary mortgage interest tax credit was announced in Budget 2024 for homeowners who had an outstanding mortgage balance of between €80,000 and €500,000 on their primary home on 31 December 2022.

The Mortgage Interest Tax Relief is available on the increased interest you pay on your mortgage in 2023 when compared with the amount you paid in 2022. The tax relief on the increase is 20%, which is the standard income tax rate. The relief is capped at €1,250.

This tax credit only applies to tax assessments for 2023.

Rent Tax Credit

A new Rent Tax Credit was introduced in December 2022. The Rent Tax Credit will be available for the years 2022 to 2025.

Childcare and back to school

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme is a free preschool programme for all eligible children before starting primary school. Your child must be between 2 years and 8 months in the September that the ECCE term starts. They cannot be older than 5 years and 6 months by the end of the ECCE term in June. ECCE is normally provided for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week over the school year.

The National Childcare Scheme has 2 types of subsidy for children who are aged over 6 months:

  • A universal subsidy for children under 15. It is not means tested.
  • An income-assessed subsidy for children up to 15. It is means tested.

Back to school costs

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BTSCFA) helps you meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for children going to school. It was paid automatically to some families in July. It is a means-tested payment. If you did not get the automatic payment already, you can check if you qualify. You must apply before the end of September.

It was announced in Budget 2024 that free schoolbooks will be provided to Junior Cycle students from September 2024.

School transport 2023–2024

The fee for the School Transport Scheme has been reduced to €50 per primary school child and €75 per secondary school child, up to a limit of €125 per family.

Energy costs

Increases in energy costs have had a big impact on the cost of living for households. If you are worried about paying your gas or electricity bills, help is available.

You can:

MABS has advice if you have problems paying your bills.

Energy efficiency grants

You could qualify for a grant to upgrade your home energy system and improve the BER rating of your home. This will lower the amount of electricity or gas that you use. There are also grants available for solar panels.

Fuel Allowance

You can get Fuel Allowance if you are getting certain social welfare payments and satisfy the other conditions of the scheme.

Reduced VAT

The VAT rate for gas and electricity is reduced to 9% until the end of October 2024.

Switching energy suppliers

You can save money by changing energy suppliers when your contract expires.


Reduced fares of 20% on public transport will continue until the end of 2024.

New Youth Travel Card

A new Young Adult Leap Card is available to all 19 to 23 year olds (up to their 24th birthday). Fares are reduced by up to 50%. Existing Student Leap cardholders can also get the same discounted rates, without needing to change their card.

Managing your income

MABS has a budget tool that can help you track the money coming in to your household and your weekly, monthly and yearly outgoings. MABS also has advice on managing your money.

You can use the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC)’s money tools to compare financial products like loans, credit cards and savings accounts.

Page edited: 13 March 2024