Help with the cost of living


Prices have risen this year 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 supports announced in February 2023

Some new measures were announced on 21 February 2023.

Once off payments

An extra €200 for anyone who gets a weekly social welfare payment that qualifies for the Christmas Bonus.

An extra €200 to people who get Working Family Payment and do not qualify for the extra payment based on another social welfare payment.

You can only get one €200 payment even if you get more than one social welfare payment. This payment will be made in April 2023.

Child Benefit

An additional once off payment of €100 per child to parents who get Child Benefit will be paid in June 2023.

VAT rates and excise duty

The VAT rate for hospitality services, and for gas and electricity will remain at 9% until the end of August 2023 (hospitality) and the end of October 2023 (gas and electricity).

Excise duty on petrol and diesel will gradually increase over the coming months until it is back to 21 cent per litre in November 2023. It will increase by:

From Petrol Diesel Oil
1 June 2023 6 cent per litre 5 cent per litre 1 cent per litre
1 September 2023 7 cent more 5 cent more 1 cent more
31 October 2023 8 cent more 6 cent more 3 cent more

Exam fees

There will be no exam fees this year.

School transport 2023 - 2024

The fee for the School Transport Scheme will be reduced to €50 per primary school child and €75 per secondary school child. A cap of €125 per family will apply.

Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme

The Scheme has been extended for another 3 months.

Cost of living measures in Budget 2023

Budget 2023 was announced on 27 September 2022. It contained a series of short-term measures to help people with the cost of living.

Electricity account credit

€600 credit will be paid to your electricity account in 3 instalments. The first payment was made in November 2022, the second in January 2023, and the third will be made in March 2023.

Social welfare double payments

Most people on a weekly social welfare payment got a double payment in the week beginning 17 October 2022. People getting Illness Benefit did not get a double payment.

In addition, a double payment of Child Benefit was paid on 1 November 2022.

Once-off payments

A number of extra once-off payments were paid in the weeks beginning 14 and 21 November 2022:

Only one €500 payment was due, even if you are getting more than one of these payments or you are caring for more than one person.

Public transport fares

Reduced fares of 20% on public transport will continue until the end of 2023. The 50% price reduction on the Young Adult Leap Card will continue until the end of 2023. The Young Adult Leap Card will be extended to 16, 17 and 18 year olds in third-level education.

Help for students

Some once-off measures for the 2022/23 academic year were announced:

  • The student contribution is reduced by €1000 for undergraduate students who are eligible for free fees
  • A double Student Grant payment was paid in December 2022
  • Postgraduate students who qualify for the Student Grant got a once-off payment of €1000
  • A payment of €500 was paid to PhD students getting Science Foundation Ireland or Irish Research Council awards

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 on 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:

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.

Energy costs

Recent 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.

€600 credit will be paid to your electricity account in 3 instalments. The first payment was made in November 2022, the second in January 2023, and the third will be made in March 2023.

You can also:

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. This year, extra once off payments of Fuel Allowance were paid on top of the normal seasonal allowance that is paid during the winter months. This year, a €400 once off payment of Fuel Allowance will be paid on top of the normal seasonal allowance that is paid during the winter months.

Switching energy suppliers

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

Public transport reductions

Public transport fares have been reduced by 20% until the end of 2022.

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: 23 February 2023