Payments to families and children


The Department of Social Protection provides social welfare payments to support families and specifically children. There are many different types of families and social welfare payments are designed to support those most in need of financial assistance.


Child Benefit is the most common payment to families with children. You are entitled to it if you have dependent children that meet the criteria.

Other payments depend on your family circumstances and other factors, such as whether you have enough PRSI contributions or you are on a low income.

Health and Safety Benefit is paid to a woman who has sufficient PRSI contributions and is granted Health and Safety Leave from employment. You may be granted leave if your employer cannot remove a risk to your health while you are pregnant, breastfeeding or involved in night-work, or assign you alternative "risk-free" duties.

Maternity Benefit is paid for 26 weeks to women who are on maternity leave from work and who have paid a certain amount of PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance).

Adoptive Benefit is paid for 24 weeks to a parent of an adopted child. If a couple are adopting a child, one parent can apply for Adoptive Benefit. You must satisfy certain social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions on your own insurance record.

Paternity Benefit is a payment paid to people on paternity leave from work who have paid a certain amount of PRSI.

Parent's Benefit is a payment for people who are on parent’s leave from work and paid a certain amount of PRSI. Each parent gets 7 weeks payment in the child’s first 2 years after birth or adoption. It is available for any child born or adopted on or after 1 July 2022.

One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) is paid to men and women who are bringing children up without the support of a partner. You must satisfy a means test and a habitual residence test. If you are working you may also get a Single Person Child Carer Credit if you meet the criteria. You do not have to get OPF to claim this tax credit.

Jobseeker's Transitional payment is a special payment for lone parents whose youngest child is aged between 7 and 13 years.

A social welfare payment can be paid to the person taking care of an orphaned child up to 18 years of age or up to 22 if he or she is in full-time education. There are three different payments and a child or their guardian may qualify for one of these payments if both parents are dead, or one parent is dead or failed to provide for the child and the other parent is unknown, or has abandoned or failed to provide for the child.

Working Family Payment (WFP) is a weekly tax-free payment available to employees with children. To qualify you must have at least one child who normally lives with you or is financially supported by you and your net average weekly family income must be below a certain amount for your family size.

The Back to Work Family Dividend scheme aims to help families to move from social welfare into employment. It gives financial support to people with qualified children who take up employment or self-employment and as a result stop claiming a jobseeker's payment or a one-parent family payment.

Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is designed to help meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for students attending school. The scheme operates from June to September each year. To qualify, your total household income must be below a certain amount or you must be getting certain social welfare payments.

Deserted wife's payment is paid to women who were deserted by their husband and have no dependent children. This scheme was closed to new applications in January 1997.

Page edited: 4 July 2022