Cash income not included in the means test

What is a means test?

If you are applying for a social assistance payment, you must pass a ‘means test’. In the means test, the Department of Social Protection (DSP) looks at all your sources of income, for example:

  • Cash income
  • Employment
  • Capital and
  • Maintenance

However, some income is not counted when your means are assessed. This page looks at cash income not included in the means test. You can find more information on income not taken into account in our page on the means test.

Income from rent

You can get up to €14,000 per year for renting out a room in your own home without it affecting your means-tested:

You should check if renting a room in your home will affect any other payments you’re getting, such as Fuel Allowance.

Do I qualify for the rent income disregard?

The maximum income disregard is €269.23 a week (€14,000 per year). The person renting a room in your home must use the room for a minimum of 28 consecutive days. The income disregard will not apply if you are renting to an employee or to your immediate family members.

Immediate family members are:

  • Your spouse, civil partner or partner
  • Your child, or the spouse of your child
  • Your parent, step-parent or parent-in-law
  • Your sibling, including step-siblings or siblings-in-law
  • Your grandparent or your grandchild
  • Your aunt or uncle
  • Your nephew or niece

If you get a pension

Currently, if you are getting a State Pension (Non-Contributory) or a Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Contributory) Pension and would otherwise be living alone, any income from rent (over €14,000 per year) is not assessed.

If you host people from Ukraine

The Accommodation Recognition Payment for hosting refugees from Ukraine is not assessed in the means test for a weekly social assistance payment, Supplementary Welfare Allowance or Working Family Payment.

Cash income not included in the means test

The Working Family Payment, Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) and Rent Allowance have their own rules for assessing cash income.

However, for all other schemes, the following cash income is not taken into account:

Social welfare payments and pension income

  • Any payment made by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) (except in the case of Jobseeker's Allowance, where a maximum payment applies)
  • Certain social security payments from the UK, or another EU Member State, that is deemed the same as an Irish Social Welfare payment
  • €104 per year from certain army pensions (including a British War Pension)

Income from housing

  • Income from property already assessed on its capital value
  • Certain income from rent (see ‘Income from rent’ above)

Income related to old age, illness or disability

Income related to families

Income related to education and training

  • Allowances under the Home Tuition Scheme from the Department of Education
  • Payments under the Department of Education's school transport scheme for children with special educational needs
  • Grants to parents of children attending primary school in Gaeltacht areas, and income from providing accommodation to students studying Irish in Gaeltacht areas
  • Payments under the 1916 Bursary Fund from the Department of Education
  • Payments under the Tusla Bursary Scheme for Children in Care and Aftercare
  • Uversity payments made under the Higher Education Scholarships for Adult Learners of up to €7,000 per year
  • Scholarship payments under UCD’s Cothrom na Féine Scholarship Programme of up to €7,000 per year
  • Payments under the Probation Service’s KickStart Scholarship scheme
  • Any training allowance received while undergoing rehabilitation training by an organisation approved by the Minister for Health
  • Payments made by Sport Ireland under the International Carding Scheme

Certain payments to your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant:

  • Back to Work Enterprise Allowance
  • Back to Education Allowance
  • Back to Work Allowance or Part-Time Job Incentive
  • FET training allowance or VTOS payments.

However, Community Employment, TÚS, Rural Social Scheme and Gateway are taken into account.

Other payments and contributions not included:

Compensation payments

The following compensation, including income from investment of this money, is not included in the means test for any social assistance schemes (including Working Family Payment and Supplementary Welfare Allowance):

Compensation related to health

  • Compensation to people who have contracted Hepatitis C or HIV from contaminated blood products
  • Compensation to people who have a disability caused by Thalidomide
  • Compensation scheme for young people who suffered harm while in the care of Kerry CAMHS as identified through the Maskey Report
  • Compensation for personal injuries under the Stardust Victim's Compensation Scheme

Compensation related to women’s health

  • Ex gratia payments proposed by the Scoping Inquiry into the CervicalCheck Screening Programme
  • Payments under the package of support measures set up in 2018 for women diagnosed with cervical cancer since 2008
  • Payments under the Symphysiotomy ex Gratia Scheme
  • Payments under the Lourdes Hospital Redress Board and Scheme

Compensation related to abuse

Compensation related to the Troubles in Northern Ireland

  • Payments made by the Northern Ireland Victim and Survivor Service (VSS) in accordance with the Victims and Survivors (Northern Ireland) Order 2006
  • Payments under the Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme (Northern Ireland) - Victims’ Payments Regulations 2020

Compensation related to turf-cutting

  • Payments under the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 compensation scheme for people affected by the cessation of turf cutting.

Other compensation

Depending on the payment you’re applying for, additional cash income may not be taken into account. For example, if you received compensation from the State Claims Agency for the Pandemrix vaccine, it will not be taken into account in the means test for Disability Allowance.

You can find more information about how your means are assessed for particular payments by searching for the payment on our website.

More information

Read our page on the means test for more information about how your means are assessed, and what income can be disregarded (not taken into account).

You can also read about cash income not taken into account in the means test on

Or, you can contact your local Citizens Information Centre to speak with an information officer.

Page edited: 15 April 2024