Disability Allowance

What is Disability Allowance?

Disability Allowance (DA) is a weekly allowance paid to people with a disability. You can get DA from 16 years of age. You can get Disability Allowance even if you are in school.

If you qualify for DA, you may also get extra social welfare benefits with your payment and other supplementary welfare payments.

Budget 2022

From January 2022, the maximum weekly rate of Disability Allowance will increase by €5 with proportional increases for qualified adults and people on reduced rates of payment. The weekly rate for a qualified child will also increase by €2 from €38 to €40 for children under 12 years of age. It will increase by €3 from €45 to €48 for children aged 12 years and over.

The earnings limit on Disability Allowance will increase by €25 from €350 to €375 and the weekly means disregard will increase from €2.50 to €7.60 in June 2022.

How to qualify for Disability Allowance

To qualify for Disability Allowance you must:

  • Have an injury, disease or physical or mental disability that has continued for at least one year or is expected to continue for at least one year
  • Be substantially restricted because of your disability from doing work that would be suitable for a person of your age, experience and qualifications
  • Be aged between 16 and 66.
  • Pass a means test – a means test looks at any income that you have – see ‘How your income is assessed for DA’ below
  • Live in Ireland and meet the habitual residence condition.

Medical assessment

Your doctor must complete a report on your medical condition as part of the application form. This report is reviewed by one of the DSP’s medical assessors.

The medical report will allow the DSP to determine if you:

  • Have an injury, disease or physical or mental disability that has continued for at least one year or is expected to continue for at least one year

And

  • You are substantially restricted because of your disability from doing work that would be suitable for a person of your age, experience and qualifications

Can I get Disability Allowance in hospital or residential care?

You can get Disability Allowance, if you are in hospital or residential care.

If you are already getting DA and go into hospital or residential care, you will continue to get your payment, as long as you continue to meet the qualifying conditions above.

If you were not getting DA before you started living in residential care, you can apply for DA.

How your income is assessed for Disability Allowance

DA is a means-tested payment.

In a means test the Department of Social Protection examines all your sources of income. To get DA, your income must be below a certain amount.

The main items included in the means test are:

Living with your parent

Your parent’s income is not taken into account when you are assessed for Disability Allowance.

Income from the sale of your home

The means test does not take into account up to €190,500 of the money you get if you sell your home and:

  • Move to different accommodation (you can either buy or rent)
  • Move in with someone who is caring for you and getting a carer's payment
  • Move to sheltered or special housing in the voluntary, co-operative, statutory or private sectors
  • Move into a registered private nursing home

Income from work

Some of your income from work is not taken into account. This includes self-employed work.

You can work and earn up to €140 a week (after paying PRSI, pension contributions and union dues) without your DA payment being affected.

If you earn more than €140 a week, 50% of your earnings between €140 and €350 will not be taken into account in the DA means test. Any earnings over €350 are assessed in full.

If you start work, you need to notify the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and provide proof of your earnings. A wage slip, your contract of employment or a letter from your employer can be used as proof of your earnings.

You can read more in our document about how disability payments are affected by work.

If your partner works

If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant works, it can affect your Disability Allowance. Some of their income from work as an employee is not taken into account, but all income from self-employment is assessed in the means test.

Your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant's net weekly earnings from work as an employee are assessed as follows:

  1. €20 per day (up to a maximum of €60) from work is deducted from your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant’s average net weekly earnings and
  2. Then 60% of the balance is assessed as weekly means.

The weekly means is then deducted from your rate of Disability Allowance (your rate of DA is your personal rate plus the maximum Increase for a Qualified Adult and any Increases for Qualified Children).

Net earnings are your gross (or total) earnings less PRSI, superannuation (pension contributions) and Union dues.

Rate of Disability Allowance

The weekly maximum rate of Disability Allowance is:

Personal rate (claimant) €203
Adult dependant €134.70
Child dependent under 12 €38 (full rate)

€19 (half rate)

Child dependent aged 12 years or over €45 (full rate)

€22.50 (half rate)

If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting and you both qualify for Disability Allowance, you will each get a weekly personal rate of Disability Allowance. You can both get the maximum rate if you both qualify for it.

If you qualify for DA and your or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is getting another social welfare payment, you will each get the weekly personal rate of your own payment.

Payments for dependants

If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, you may get an Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA) in your DA payment. You may also get an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) in your payment for dependent children.

If you have children living with you and you are parenting alone, you may get an IQA for a person who is caring for your child, if the person is aged 16 or over, living with you and being supported by you. This person could be one of your other children.

How to apply for Disability Allowance

You can get an application form for Disability Allowance (pdf) from:

If you think you have been wrongly refused DA you can appeal this decision.

Where to apply for Disability Allowance

Disability Allowance Section

Department of Social Protection
Social Welfare Services Office
Government Buildings
Ballinalee Road
Longford
Ireland

Tel: (043) 334 0000 or 0818 927 770

Page edited: 13 October 2021