Calculating Rent Supplement

Before you calculate your Rent Supplement

Before you start to calculate your Rent Supplement, you should check whether you qualify.

You can:

Calculating Rent Supplement is very complex. The Department of Social Protection (DSP) will calculate your entitlement to Rent Supplement.

If you have any questions about your entitlement to Rent Supplement, you should contact the Community Welfare Officer (CWO) in your local Intreo Centre or Branch Office.

This page shows you the 6 steps to calculate Rent Supplement.

Step 1: Calculate your gross assessable weekly income from all sources

You should include all income that you and your spouse, partner, or cohabitant have, such as:

  • Social welfare payments, including the Working Family Payment
  • Employment or training schemes
  • Gross income from employment or self-employment
  • Income from maintenance
  • Any means you have from ‘capital’ (see below).

Since January 2012, income from working as a home help with the HSE is taken into account.

How capital is assessed

The capital value of your property (except your own home), investments and savings are assessed on a weekly basis as follows:

  • First €5,000 is not taken into account
  • Next €10,000 is assessed at €1 per €1,000
  • Next €25,000 is assessed at €2 per €1,000
  • Any capital over €40,000 is assessed at €4 per €1,000.

Income not taken into account

Some income is not counted in the means test for Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) schemes, which includes Rent Supplement. So, you don’t need to include it when working out your gross income.

The following items are not taken into account as income:

Step 2: Find out what your income in excess of the SWA rate is

The basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) rate is €230. You will get a higher rate if you have dependants (such as a spouse or child). Read more about the rates of SWA for dependants.

To find out how much of your income is ‘in excess of the SWA rate’, you deduct the following from your gross assessable weekly income:

  • First, deduct any PRSI that you pay and any reasonable travel expenses related to work. Your travel costs will vary depending on where you live and work (ask your local Intreo Centre for more information).
  • Then deduct the basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) Rate, appropriate to your family circumstances. If you are a carer or aged 65 and over, there are additional disregards – see below.

Over-65 disregard

If you are aged 65 or over (or where one of a couple is of aged 65 or over) and have a combined household income greater than the rate of SWA appropriate to your household circumstances, you are allowed a disregard.

This disregard is equal to the difference between the maximum rate of State Pension (Contributory) appropriate to your circumstances, and the rate of SWA appropriate to your circumstances (even if you are not getting a pension).

This means that a person whose only income is a State pension will not pay more than the minimum household contribution towards their rent.

Example of the over-65 disregard

For example, the over-65 disregard for a person aged 65 or over would be the maximum State Pension (Contributory) rate (€277.30) minus the SWA rate for a single person (€230), which is €47.30.

The over-65 disregard for a couple, who are both aged 66 and getting separate payments or working, would be calculated using the maximum State Pension (Contributory) rate for 2 people minus the basic SWA rate for a couple (€554.60 - €384 = €170.60). Their over-65 disregard would be €170.60.

Carer’s disregard

If you are getting a carer's payment, the amount of Carer's Allowance or Carer’s Benefit in payment above the appropriate SWA rate for your situation (either the adult dependant rate for a couple or the personal rate for a single person) is not taken into account.

To calculate your carer’s disregard, you subtract the relevant rate of SWA (either €154 or €230) from the actual rate of Carer’s Allowance or Benefit you are getting (not including any Increases for Qualified Children).

Your ‘income in excess of the SWA rate’ is your contribution to your rent from your means (in addition to your minimum household contribution). If you have no income in excess of the SWA rate, Step 3 does not apply to you.

Step 3: Calculate the ‘additional income disregard’ or Disability Allowance or Blind Pension earnings disregard

The 'additional income disregard' is a certain amount of your household income that is not taken into account.

The first €75 of any additional household income above the SWA rate for your circumstances is not taken into account.

Also, 25% of your additional household income over €75 is not taken into account. There is no upper limit on the 25% that can be disregarded.

Additional income includes income from the following:

  • Part-time employment or part-time self-employment (under 30 hours per week)
  • Full-time employment or full-time self-employment (30 hours or over per week) where you are accepted as being in need of accommodation under the Rental Accommodation Scheme
  • Training schemes provided on behalf of the Department of Education and (for example, Youthreach) and Education and Training Board (ETB) training
  • Back to Work Enterprise Allowance
  • Rural Social Scheme
  • TÚS
  • The Part-time Job Incentive Scheme
  • Community Employment
  • Skillnets
  • Gateway Scheme
  • Working Family Payment
  • Maintenance over €95.23*

*Maintenance is assessed as additional income and maintenance payments up to €95.23 per week are assessed in full. (The reason for this is that the first €95.23 per week of maintenance payments are considered to be a contribution towards your housing expenses.) The additional income disregard applies to maintenance payments above this amount. If you are getting maintenance under €95.23 do not include it in this step. If your maintenance is over €95.23, you should subtract €95.25 and include the excess maintenance when working out your additional income disregard.

You work out your additional income using the formula: (A+B) – C or the value of A – whichever is the smallest amount.

A = income from employment, prescribed employment or training schemes, Working Family Payment and maintenance payments of over €95.23 a week

B = assessable weekly income from all other sources

C = SWA rate for family circumstances

You subtract PRSI, pension contributions and Revenue-approved income continuance payments from your additional income figure.

You then subtract €75 and get 25% of the remaining figure. Add €75 and 25% of the subtotal together – this is your additional income disregard.

For example:

Mary has 1 child aged 5. She works and earns €385 weekly in a part-time job. She gets a One-Parent Family (OFP) payment of €175.50 a week and maintenance of €80 a week. Her additional income is:

A= €385 (Earnings)

B= €175.50 (OFP including Increase for a Qualified Child)

C= €276 (SWA rate)

(A+B) – C= €284.50

Subtract PRSI of €8.90

(PRSI: 4% of €385=€15.40 minus PRSI tapered credit of €6.50) = €8.90)

Balance of €275.60 - €75 = €200.60

Take 25% of €200.60 = €50.15

Add €75 and €50.15 = €125.15

Mary's additional income disregard is €125.15

Disability Allowance or Blind Pension earnings disregard

If you are getting Disability Allowance or Blind Pension and work, up to €165 per week of your earnings from work is not taken into account.

If you are working and getting Disability Allowance or Blind Pension, you can either use this earnings disregard or the additional income disregard (but not both). Use whichever is in your best interest.

Step 4: Calculate your contribution from means

You subtract the disregards you calculated in Step 3 from the figure you calculated in Step 2 to get your 'contribution from means'.

Step 5: Find your total contribution to your rent

Find the total amount you must pay towards your rent. To do this, add your 'contribution from means' (this is the total figure after Step 4) and your 'minimum household contribution'.

Minimum household contribution

In general, a household (this is the claimant and may also include a qualified adult and qualified children) must contribute at least €30 towards rent. A couple contributes at least €40.

A non-dependent household member who is solely dependent on a personal social welfare payment must also contribute at least €30. However, if benefit and privilege has been assessed against your social welfare payment you will not have to contribute €30.

The CWO can reduce the amount of Rent Supplement payable by an amount which, in their opinion, is payable by each non-dependent household member in employment. According to custom and practice, the assessable income of the non-dependent household member (that is, gross income less PRSI and travel costs to work) is divided by the appropriate rate of SWA for their situation which is then multiplied by €30 to establish their liability to contribute.

For example:

If your 26 year-old daughter is living with you and earning €700 per week:

€700 ÷ €230 (SWA) = €3.04

Multiply €3.04 by €30 = €91.20

In this case, your Rent Supplement is reduced by €91.20

A couple aged over 65 with an income equal or less than the State Pension (Contributory) for their situation will contribute €40 towards their rent. A couple who both have State Pensions (Contributory) and no other income will also contribute €40 towards their rent.

Step 6: Find your Rent Supplement payment

To calculate your Rent Supplement, you subtract your 'total contribution to rent' from your weekly rent.

In Step 5, you found your 'total contribution to your rent'. Now you need to find out how much your weekly rent is. You may already know how much your weekly rent is. If you pay your rent by month, you must multiply your monthly rent figure by 12 and divide it by 52 to get your weekly rent figure. Your rent must not be above the maximum limit set for your area.

For example

Susan and Paul are living in Dublin and paying €1,000 per month for accommodation.

To get the weekly rent figure, multiply €1,000 by 12 and divide by 52.

Monthly rent €1,000

(Multiply by 12 months ) x 12 = €12,000 a year

(Divide by 52 weeks) ÷ 52 = €230.76 a week

Weekly rent is €230.76

A maximum rent level is set for each county by the Department of Social Protection. The Department may set lower rates within these limits. If your actual rent is higher than the local maximum, you may be refused Rent Supplement.

The DSP can make additional Rent Supplement payments above rent limits when necessary. This is done on a case-by-case basis, both for people already getting Rent Supplement and for new applicants.

How to apply for Rent Supplement

Page edited: 18 April 2024