Claiming for a child dependant
What is an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC)?
Your social welfare payment is made up of a weekly amount for yourself, called the personal rate. You may also get an extra amount for your child called, an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC).
You do not get an IQC with certain payments, and in some circumstances you may only get a half-rate IQC – see ‘When is an IQC not paid?’ and 'Full rate and half-rate increases' below.
If you have an adult dependant, you may get an Increase for a Qualified Adult.
How to qualify for an Increase for a Qualified Child
To get an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC), your child must:
- Live with you
- Meet the age requirement for that payment
- Be resident in the State
- Not be in legal custody (detained in a detention school)
Your child does not have to be financially dependent on you. Your child can work and earn money, without affecting the increase paid to you. An IQC can be paid on behalf of foster children.
However, you generally do not get an IQC if your child is getting their own social welfare payment, except in certain circumstances (see ‘If your child is getting a social welfare payment’ below).
Absent from the State
Depending on your social welfare payment, you may continue getting an IQC if your child is absent from the State (abroad).
Children under 18
A child dependant is usually a child up to 18 years of age who lives with you.
Children aged 18 and over
If your child is 18 or over, you can continue getting an IQC for 3 months after they leave second level education, or finish the Leaving Certificate (if they are not getting a social welfare payment in their own right). You can still get an IQC if your child starts work immediately after finishing school.
If your child is in full-time education and you are getting a long-term social welfare payment, or a short-term social welfare payment for at least 156 days, you will get an IQC:
- Until your child turns 22, or
- Until the end of the academic year in which they turn 22
If you are getting a short-term social welfare payment, time spent on other social welfare payments can be combined to meet the 156 days. However, the period between any 2 payments cannot be more than 26 weeks. In the case of Jobseeker's Allowance payments, the period between payments cannot be more than 52 weeks.
What counts as full-time education?
Your child is considered to be in full-time education if they attend a course which awards 60 credits per academic year. There are no rules about the number of ‘class hours’ your child must have. If the institution delivering the course considers it a full-time course, this means the course has a full-time workload.
Full-time education does not include any training provided by SOLAS or an Education and Training Board where:
- Your child is paid an allowance
- Their period of work experience is greater than the period of training or instruction
- The training forms part of an employment or work experience programme
However, YouthReach is the one exception.
When is an IQC not paid?
You do not get an Increase for a Qualified Child with the following payments:
- Working Family Payment
- Guardian's Payment (Contributory)
- Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)
- Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Contributory) Pension
- Death Benefit by way of Orphan’s Payment
You do not get an IQC if the gross income of your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is over €400, and you get one of the following payments:
- Illness Benefit
- Injury Benefit
- Health and Safety Benefit
- Jobseeker's Benefit or Disablement Benefit (Incapacity Supplement)
- Invalidity Pension
- Carer's Benefit
- State Pension (Contributory)
If your child gets a social welfare payment
You do not get an IQC if your child is getting a social welfare payment or Supplementary Welfare Allowance in their own right (with the exception of Disablement Benefit).
However, if you are getting an IQC during the summer holiday period between academic years and your child becomes entitled to a social welfare payment in their own right, you will continue to get the IQC and your child's payment is reduced by the amount of the IQC.
Full-rate and half-rate increases
For most social welfare payments, you get a full-rate Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) if you:
- Get an Increase for a Qualified Adult for your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant, or
- Are parenting alone
You get a half-rate IQC if your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant has an income of between €310 and €400 a week. However, different rules apply to:
- Carer’s Allowance
- Jobseeker's Allowance
- Disability Allowance
- Farm Assist
Only one increase is paid for each qualified child. If you and your spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant are both getting a social welfare payment, you will each get a half-rate IQC for each child.
If you get an Increase for a Qualified Adult with Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA), you get a full-rate IQC. A half-rate IQC is not payable with SWA.
You get a full-rate IQC with Carer's Allowance if you are parenting alone.
You get a half-rate IQC with Carer's Allowance if you are living with your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant.
If you are getting half-rate Carer's Allowance, you do not get an IQC. This is because the IQC is already included in yours, or your partner’s, main social welfare payment.
Jobseeker's Allowance, Disability Allowance, and Farm Assist
Your assessable means are then deducted from the maximum payment for your circumstances, to find the actual amount of JA, DA or FA you are entitled to.
|Example: Means test for Jobseeker's Allowance
Jane is married to John and has 3 children under 12 years of age. If she applies for Jobseeker’s Allowance, the maximum payment for her circumstances is €524.
This is made up of:
The personal rate of JA: €232
An Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA): €154
3 Increases for a Qualified Child (IQC): €46 x 3 = €138
John does some casual work at weekends, so the family’s assessable means are €54. These assessable means are deducted from €524 (€524 - €54 = €470).
Jane qualifies for a Jobseeker’s Allowance payment of €470.
How much is an Increase for a Qualified Child?
Since January 2024, the Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) is:
Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) in 2024
|Age of child
Rate of IQC
|Child under 12
€46 (full rate)
€23 (half rate)
|Child 12 and over
€54 (full rate)
€27 (half rate)
How to apply
To get an Increase for a Qualified Child, you must give details about your child dependant on your claim form when you apply for a social welfare payment.
If you did not claim for your child dependant at the time you made your claim, you should contact the section in the Department of Social Protection which pays your social welfare payment, or your local Intreo or Branch office.