Household Budget Scheme
The Household Budget Scheme is a scheme that helps people getting certain social welfare payments to spread the cost of some household bills over the year. Under this scheme, a fixed amount is deducted from your social welfare payment each week.
The scheme is operated by An Post and in order to qualify, you must be getting a specified social welfare payment and your payment must be paid through your local post office. The Household Budget Scheme is free of charge.
Who can apply for the Household Budget Scheme?
To qualify for the Household Budget Scheme you must be getting one of the following social welfare payments:
- Back to Work Enterprise Allowance
- Disability Allowance
- Blind Pension
- Carer's Allowance
- Carer's Benefit
- Farm Assist
- Invalidity Pension
- Jobseeker’s Benefit
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (and Jobseeker's Transitional payment)
- State Pension (Contributory)
- State Pension (Non–Contributory)
- One-Parent Family Payment
- Pre-Retirement Allowance
- Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory) Pension
- Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non–Contributory) Pension
- Back to Education Allowance
- Supplementary Welfare Allowance (basic payment)
What bills can I pay under the Household Budget Scheme?
Currently you can pay the following service providers under the Scheme:
- Local authority rent and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contributions (for new applications, from 1 January 2014, you cannot withdraw from the scheme without the consent of your housing body)
- Bord Gáis
- Postmobile (prepaid mobile phone services)
- Personal Microcredit Pilot Scheme (It Makes Sense loans)
An Post must have an agreement in place with the supplier to make deductions from your social welfare payment. You should speak to An Post to see if your supplier is part of the Household Budget Scheme.
If your service provider is not listed above, you cannot pay them under the Household Budget Scheme.
You must be getting one of the social welfare payments listed above to apply for the Household Budget Scheme.
How much can I deduct?
You can choose to cover the full amount of the bill. However, you cannot have more than 25% of your total weekly social welfare payment deducted under this scheme. A minimum amount must be deducted each week for each bill to be paid under the Household Budget Scheme.
Rent to a local authority: The amount deducted per week will be equal to your weekly rent payment agreed with your housing provider as long as the total payment is not greater than 25% of your weekly flat payment.
Utilities: The minimum weekly payment to any utility is €5.
The deduction from your payment will be passed on to pay your bill within 4 days of you getting your payment at the post office. However if 25% of your social welfare payment is not enough to meet all your deductions in a particular week the local authority (housing body) deduction will be made first.
Can I change the amount deducted?
Yes. To make changes to current deductions, you must complete a new Household Budget Instruction Form and send it to the address below. If you want to make changes to the deductions paid to a housing body you must include a letter of authorisation from the housing body.
How can I stop a deduction?
To cancel a deduction you must give 2 weeks written notice to An Post (see address below). Remember to give your name, address, PPS number and details of the deductions you want to cancel, including the account number. If you want to cancel the deductions paid to a housing body, you must include a letter of authorisation from the housing body.
How to apply
To open an account, complete a Household Budget Deduction Instruction Form for each bill you want to make a weekly payment towards. Send your completed form marked 'Freepost' (you do not need a stamp) to the address below. Forms are also available in your local Post Office.
It will take about 28 days to process your request to have deductions made from your social welfare payment.
Further information about the Household Budget Scheme is available from An Post at the address below.