Deserted Wife's Benefit


Deserted Wife's Benefit and Deserted Wife’s Allowance are two social welfare payments made to women who were deserted by their husbands. Both of these payments were closed to new applications in January 1997, when the One-Parent Family Payment was introduced.

Some women have continued to get Deserted Wife’s Benefit because they qualified for the payment before 2 January 1997 and have continued to meet the qualifying criteria.


Deserted Wife's Benefit is a payment made to a woman deserted by her husband. Entitlement to the payment is based on social insurance contributions paid by the woman or her husband.

The Benefit closed to new applications in January 1997. Some women have continued to get Deserted Wife’s Benefit because they qualified for the payment before 2 January 1997 and continue to meet the qualifying criteria which include:

  • You must not have earnings of more than €20,000 per year (this applies only to claims for Deserted Wife's Benefit made on or after 31 August 1992)
  • You must not be cohabiting with any person
  • You have not resumed living with your husband

You can find more information about the rules for keeping for your Deserted Wife’s Benefit.

If you have transferred from Deserted Wife’s Benefit to One-Parent Family Payment to be accepted as a participant on a Community Employment Scheme, you can apply to have your entitlement to Deserted Wife's Benefit restored. The maximum weekly rate of payment for Deserted Wife’s Benefit is higher than the maximum weekly rate of One-Parent Family Payment. If you qualify to have your entitlement to Deserted Wife’s Benefit restored, you may also be due arrears.

Women getting Deserted Wife’s Benefit can apply for and transfer to the State Pension (Contributory) when they reach 66.

If you are currently getting a reduced rate of Deserted Wife's Benefit, but have been working, then you may qualify for a higher rate of State Pension (Contributory), based on your own PRSI contributions, when you reach 66. However, if you do not qualify for the State Pension (Contributory) when you reach 66, you will automatically get a higher rate of Deserted Wife's Benefit (see 'Rates' below).


Weekly Deserted Wife’s Benefit rate 2024

PRSI Contributions

Rate per week (aged under 66)

Rate per week (aged 66 or over)

48 or over









You may also get an increase in your payment for child dependants and extra benefits such as Living Alone Allowance and Fuel Allowance.

Reduced rates of Deserted Wife's Benefit:

Any new application for Deserted Wife’s Benefit received on or after 31 August 1992 is subject to an earnings limit as well as satisfying the PRSI contribution condition. You will get one of the rates of Deserted Wife’s Benefit in the table above if your yearly income is less than €20,000. You are not entitled to Deserted Wife’s Benefit if your earnings are over €20,000.

It is important to note, a reduced rate of Deserted Wife's Benefit based on earnings or insufficient PRSI contributions does not apply to claims made before 31 August 1992.

How to apply

It is no longer possible to apply for Deserted Wife's Benefit or Deserted Wife's Allowance - these payments have been closed to new applicants since January 1997.

If you are getting Deserted Wife's Benefit, you may be entitled to extra benefits from the Department of Social Protection, including a Living Alone Allowance and the Household Benefits Package when you turn 66.

Where to apply

For more information about deserted wife's payments contact:

Department of Social Protection

Deserted Wife's Payments Section

College Road

Tel: (071) 915 7100
Locall: 0818 200 400 (Note: the rates charged for using 0818 (Lo-call) numbers may vary)
Page edited: 4 January 2024