Claiming for a child dependant
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). (If you have an adult dependant you may get an Increase for a Qualified Adult.)
This document explains when you may get an increase in your weekly social welfare payment for a child dependant. You do not get an IQC with certain payments and in certain circumstances you may only get a half-rate IQC – see ‘IQC not payable’ and ‘Full-rate and half-rate IQC’ below.
From January 2021, the weekly rate for a qualified child will increase for children under 12 by €2 from €36 to €38. It will increase for children aged 12 and over by €5 from €40 to €45.
To get an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC), your child must:
- Be resident in the State
- Not be in legal custody
- Satisfy the age condition for that payment
- Live with you
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.
Your child does not have to be financially dependent on you. Your child can work and earn money and this does not affect the increase paid to you. An IQC can be paid on behalf of foster children.
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 years of age or over, you can continue to get an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) for three months after he or she leaves second level education or finishes the Leaving Certificate (provided that they are not getting a social welfare payment in their own right). Note that an IQC can continue to be paid if your child starts work immediately after finishing school.
If you are getting a long-term social welfare payment and your child is in full-time education, an IQC will be paid up to 22 years of age or up to the end of the academic year in which he or she reaches 22.
If you are getting a short-term social welfare payment for at least 156 days and your child is in full-time education, an IQC will be paid up to 22 years of age or up to the end of the academic year in which he or she reaches 22. Time spent on other social welfare payments can be combined to meet the 156 days but the period between any two payments must not be more than 26 weeks. The period between Jobseeker's Allowance payments must not be more than 52 weeks.
Full-time education does not include training provided by SOLAS where an allowance is paid or where the period of work experience is greater than the period of training or instruction or where the training forms part of an employment or work experience programme. One exception to this is YouthReach.
No IQC payable
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
You do not get an IQC if you are claiming Illness Benefit, Injury Benefit, Health and Safety Benefit, Jobseeker's Benefit or Disablement Benefit (Incapacity Supplement), Invalidity Pension, Carer's Benefit or State Pension (Transition) and State Pension (Contributory) and the gross income of your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is over €400.
Full-rate and half-rate IQC
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 you 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. (This does not apply to Jobseeker's Allowance (JA), Disability Allowance (DA) and Farm Assist (FA) – see below).
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.
A full-rate IQC is paid with Carer's Allowance if you are parenting alone. A half-rate IQC is paid with Carer's Allowance if you are living with your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant. You do not get an IQC if you are getting half-rate Carer's Allowance.
The income rules are different for Jobseeker's Allowance (JA), Disability Allowance (DA) and Farm Assist (FA). For these payments your total household income is assessed in a means test. 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.
|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 €439.70. This is made up of:
The personal rate of JA: €203
An Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA): €134.70
3 Increases for a Qualified Child (IQC): €36 x 3 = €108
John does some casual work at weekends so the family’s assessable means are €54. These assessable means are deducted from €445.70.
Jane qualifies for a Jobseeker’s Allowance payment of €391.70.
Since January 2020 the Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) is:
|Child under 12||€36 (full rate)
€18 (half rate)
|Child 12 and over||€40 (full rate)
€20 (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, contact the section in the Department of Social Protection which pays your social welfare payment.
The Department provides a Lo-call telephone number: 1890 500 000. Your telephone call will be charged at the price of a local call.