Cash income not included in the means test

Introduction

If you are applying for a social assistance payment you must satisfy a means test. All your sources of income (for example, cash income, employment, capital and maintenance) are assessed in a means test by the Department of Social Protection (DSP).

However, under social welfare legislation certain items are not counted when your means are assessed for a social assistance payment. This page looks at cash income not included in the means test. More information on income not taken into account is available in our page on the means test.

Income from rent

If you are getting a means-tested weekly social assistance payment, Supplementary Welfare Allowance or Working Family Payment, you can get up to €14,000 per year for renting out a room in your own home without it affecting your payment. You should check if renting a room in your home will affect any other payments you are getting such as Fuel Allowance.

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

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.

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 taken into account

The following cash income is not taken into account for all schemes except Working Family Payment, Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) and Rent Allowance which have their own rules for assessing cash income:

  • Any payment made by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) (except in the case of Jobseeker's Allowance where a maximum payment applies)
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA)
  • Domiciliary Care Allowance
  • Income from property already assessed on its capital value
  • Any payment corresponding to Child Benefit from another EU member state
  • Income from recognised non-profit making charitable organisations
  • Mobility Allowance from the Health Service Executive (HSE)
  • Foster Care Allowance from the HSE
  • Consumer Directed Home Support (CDHS) from the HSE
  • 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 €7000 per year
  • Payments under the Probation Service’s KickStart Scholarship scheme
  • Any amount received as a training allowance while undergoing a course of rehabilitation training by an organisation approved by the Minister for Health
  • Payments made by Sport Ireland under the International Carding Scheme
  • Compensation awards to people who have contracted Hepatitis C or HIV from contaminated blood products, together with income from the investment of that money
  • Compensation awards by way of the Residential Institutions Redress Board together with income from the investment of that money
  • Compensation awards to persons who have a disability caused by Thalidomide together with income from the investment of that money
  • €104 per year from certain Army pensions (including a British War Pension)
  • PRSA contributions
  • Any repayments under the Nursing Home Repayments Scheme to the spouse or civil partner of the person overcharged
  • The following 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.)
  • Certain income from rent – see ‘Income from rent’ above

Compensation payments

People who have received certain types of compensation do not have that income assessed in the means test for all social assistance schemes including Working Family Payment and Supplementary Welfare Allowance. The following compensation is not assessed:

  • By various compensation tribunals and the courts for people who have contracted Hepatitis C
  • By the Residential Institutions Redress Board
  • To persons who have disabilities caused by Thalidomide
  • Awards paid to women following the publication of the Magdalen Commission Report
  • Payments awarded by the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board
  • Payments awarded under the Symphysiotomy ex Gratia Scheme
  • Payments awarded under the Lourdes Hospital Redress Scheme 2007
  • Payments awarded under the Lourdes Hospital Payment Scheme
  • Payments awarded under the Stardust Victim's Compensation Scheme
  • 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 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 scheme for young people who suffered harm while in the care of Kerry CAMHS as identified through the Maskey Report

Additional cash income may not be taken into account for individual social welfare payments. For example, a compensation payment made by the State Claims Agency for the Pandemrix vaccine will not be taken into account in the means test for Disability Allowance.

The Department of Social Protection provides more information on additional cash income not taken into account in the means test for social welfare payments.

Page edited: 12 September 2022