Disability Allowance

What is Disability Allowance?

Disability Allowance (DA) is a weekly allowance paid to people with a disability. You can get DA from 16 years of age. You can get Disability Allowance even if you are in school.

If you qualify for DA, you may also get extra social welfare benefits with your payment and other supplementary welfare payments.

How to qualify for Disability Allowance

To qualify for Disability Allowance, you must:

  • Have an injury, disease, or physical or mental disability that has continued for at least one year, or is expected to continue for at least one year
  • Be substantially restricted from doing work because of your disability, that would be suitable for a person of your age, experience and qualifications
  • Be aged between 16 and 66
  • Pass a means test (an assessment of any income you have – see ‘How your income is assessed for DA’ below)
  • Live in Ireland and meet the habitual residence condition.

Medical assessment

Your doctor must complete a report on your medical condition as part of the application form. This report is reviewed by one of the DSP’s medical assessors.

The medical report will allow the DSP to determine if you:

  • Have an injury, disease, or physical or mental disability that has continued for at least one year, or is expected to continue for at least one year, and
  • Are substantially restricted from doing work because of your disability, that would be suitable for a person of your age, experience and qualifications.

Can I get Disability Allowance in hospital or residential care?

You can get Disability Allowance if you are in hospital or residential care.

If you are already getting DA and go into hospital or residential care, you will continue to get your payment, as long as you continue to meet the qualifying conditions above.

If you were not getting DA before you started living in residential care, you can apply for DA.

How your income is assessed for Disability Allowance

Disability Allowance (DA) is a means-tested payment.

In a means test, the Department of Social Protection (DSP) examines all your sources of income. To get DA, your income must be below a certain amount.

The main items included in the means test are:

Cash income

The DSP looks at your cash income (such as payment from work), that you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant may have.

Some cash income may not be included in the means test.

Capital

Capital includes your savings, investments, shares, or any property you have (but not your own home). The first €50,000 of your capital is not taken into account for the means test.

Find out more about capital not included in the means test.

Moving from DA to the State Pension (Non Contributory)

The means tests for Disability Allowance (DA) and the State Pension (Non-Contributory) use different rules to assess capital. But, if you are moving from DA to the State Pension (Non-Contributory) at 66, you will not get a lower-rate pension due to a less favourable assessment of capital.

Maintenance

The DSP looks at maintenance paid to you. However, since 5 June 2024, maintenance payments for children are not included in means tests for social welfare payments. Read more in our page, How maintenance is assessed as means.

Halving of means for some couples

If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant has a social welfare payment in their own right (excluding Child Benefit, Domiciliary Care Allowance, and Supplementary Welfare Allowance), your combined means may be halved for the means test. Read more in our page about assessing the means of a couple.

Living with your parent

Your parent’s income is not taken into account when you are assessed for Disability Allowance.

Income from the sale of your home

The means test does not take into account up to €190,500 of the money you get if you sell your home and:

  • Move to different accommodation (you can either buy or rent)
  • Move in with someone who is caring for you and getting a carer's payment
  • Move to sheltered or special housing in the voluntary, co-operative, statutory or private sectors
  • Move into a registered private nursing home.

Income from work

Some of your income from work is not taken into account. This includes self-employed work.

You can work and earn up to €165 a week (after paying PRSI, pension contributions and union dues) without your DA payment being affected.

If you earn more than €165 a week, 50% of your earnings between €165 and €375 will not be taken into account in the DA means test. Any earnings over €375 are assessed in full.

If you start work, you need to tell the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and provide proof of your earnings, such as:

You can read more in our page about how disability payments are affected by work.

If your partner works

If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant works, it can affect your Disability Allowance. While some of their income from employment is not taken into account, the DSP assesses all their income from self-employment.

Your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant's ‘net’ weekly earnings from work as an employee are assessed as follows:

  1. €20 per day (up to a maximum of €60) from work is deducted from your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant’s average net weekly earnings, and
  2. Then 60% of the balance is assessed as weekly means.

The weekly means is then deducted from your rate of Disability Allowance (your rate of DA is your personal rate plus the maximum Increase for a Qualified Adult and any Increases for Qualified Children).

‘Net’ earnings are your total earnings after PRSI, superannuation (pension contributions) and union fees are deducted.

Income from PhD scholarship

PhD scholarship of up to €20,000 per year, for up to 4 years, is not taken into account when you are assessed for Disability Allowance.

Rate of Disability Allowance

Weekly maximum Disability Allowance rate 2024

Personal rate (claimant)

€232

Adult dependant

€154

Child dependant under 12

€46 (full rate), €23 (half rate)

Child dependant aged 12 years or over

€54 (full rate), €27 (half rate)

If you are married, in a civil partnership, or cohabiting, and you both qualify for Disability Allowance, you will each get a weekly personal rate of Disability Allowance. You can both get the maximum rate if you both qualify for it.

If you qualify for DA and you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is getting another social welfare payment, you will each get the weekly personal rate of your own payment.

Payments for dependants

If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, you may get an Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA) in your DA payment. You may also get an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) if you have dependent children.

If you have children living with you and you are parenting alone, you may get an IQA for a person who is caring for your child, if the person is:

  • Aged 16 or over
  • Living with you
  • Being supported by you.

This person could be one of your other children.

How to apply for Disability Allowance

Where to apply for Disability Allowance

Disability Allowance Section

Department of Social Protection
Social Welfare Services Office
Government Buildings
Ballinalee Road
Longford
Ireland

Tel: (043) 334 0000 or 0818 927 770
Page edited: 5 June 2024