Diet and heating supplements
If you have special dietary and heating needs you may be able to get additional weekly supplements under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme.
You must satisfy the specific requirements for each supplement - see 'Rules' below.
However, people who were getting Diet Supplement before 1 February 2014 can continue to keep the payment (for as long as they continue to be entitled to the payment).
You are entitled to retain the diet supplement for a prescribed diet, if you:
- Have a specified medical condition
- Meet the conditions for Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) and
- Pass a means test
To get a diet supplement, a hospital consultant or a hospital registrar must certify:
- That you or your adult dependant or child dependant has been prescribed a diet because of a specified medical condition
- The type of diet prescribed
- How long you will need the prescribed diet.
A gluten-free diet for an adult or a child aged 18 to 22 may be prescribed by your family doctor (GP).
In the case of diet supplements, for example, for people with cystic fibrosis, the long-term illness scheme book may be accepted as verification that such a diet has been prescribed. The length of time for which the diet is being prescribed and the type of diet must be stated.
The weekly cost of each prescribed diet is set by the Department of Social Protection. The following diets qualify for the diet supplement:
|Qualifying prescribed diets||Cost of diet, €|
|Low-lactose, milk-free diet||65.43|
|High-protein, high-calorie diet||71.43|
|Altered consistencies (liquidised) diet||74.93|
The heating supplement is an additional weekly payment to help with the cost of heating your home. You may get a heating supplement, if you:
- Can show you have extra heating needs because of your age, medical condition or disability
- Are living alone or only with a dependent adult or dependent children
- Satisfy a means test
Adult diet supplement
The rate for a single person and lone parent is calculated as follows: The diet cost as set by the Department of Social Protection, less one-third of your social welfare payment at the 2007 rate = the diet supplement to be paid to you. You can check the rates for 2007 in SW19 (pdf).
- Paul is on a high-protein, high-calorie diet and is getting a One-Parent Family Payment. The Department of Social Protection has set the cost of this diet at €71.43. Take one-third of his social welfare payment (excluding any amount he is getting for a child dependant) from €71.43 to get the amount of diet supplement payable. (€71.43 - €61.93 (or one-third of his One Parent Family Payment at the 2007 rate) = €9.50 paid as diet supplement)
The rate for a married or cohabiting couple is calculated as follows: The diet cost as set by the Department of Social Protection less one-sixth of your social welfare payment at the 2007 rate = the diet supplement to be paid to you.
- Mary is married and on a high-protein high-calorie diet and is getting Jobseeker's Allowance. The Department of Social Protection has set the cost of this diet at €71.43 . Take one-sixth of her social welfare payment (excluding any amount she is getting for a child dependant) from €71.43 to get the amount of diet supplement payable. (€71.43 - €51.52 (one-sixth of her Jobseeker's Allowance payment including an increase for her adult dependant at the 2007 rate) = €19.91 paid as diet supplement)
People getting Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement
If you are getting Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement, the Supplementary Welfare Allowance personal rate for 2007, and qualified adult rate where applicable, is used to calculate the amount of diet supplement. In assessing your means, any increases in social welfare payments for children are not taken into account.
Child diet supplement
The diet supplement rates for a qualified child are as follows:
- Low-lactose, milk-free diet = €3.50
- Gluten-free diet = €6.50
- High-protein, high-calorie diet = €9.50
- Altered-consistency (liquidised) diet = €13
A child is considered to be a dependant if they are under 18, or are over 18 and under 22 and in full-time education.
There is no fixed rate for heating supplement. The amount of heating supplement you get is based on your need as assesed by your Community Welfare Officer.
How to apply
You can get an application form for the heating supplement at your local Community Welfare Service. The Community Welfare Officer can help you fill in the form.
The diet supplement was discontinued for new applicants from 1 February 2014.
If you are unhappy with the decision of a Community Welfare Officer on your application, you can ask for an internal review to re-examine the decision. You should try to submit as much additional information as possible to help your case.
Where to apply
To get a heating supplement, apply to the CWO at your local Community Welfare Service.