Disability Allowance is a weekly allowance paid to people with a disability. You can get Disability Allowance from 16 years of age. If you are in education when you turn 16, you can continue to attend school.
To qualify for Disability Allowance (DA) you must:
- Have an injury, disease or physical or mental disability that has continued, or may be expected to continue, for at least one year
- As a result of this disability be substantially restricted in undertaking work that would otherwise be suitable for a person of your age, experience and qualifications
- Be aged between 16 and 66. When you reach 66 years of age you no longer qualify for DA, but you are assessed for a State pension.
- Satisfy a means test
- Satisfy the habitual residence condition.
If you are getting Disability Allowance and go into hospital or residential care, you will continue to get your payment as long as you meet the qualifying conditions.
If you were not getting Disability Allowance before living in residential care, you can get Disability Allowance if you meet the qualifying conditions.
Disability Allowance is a means-tested payment. To get the allowance your total assessed means must be below a certain amount. The main items that count as means are:
- Cash income that you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant may have. More information is available in our document about cash income not included in the means test.
- Capital, for example, the value of savings, investments, shares or any property you may have (other than your own home). However, the first €50,000 of any capital you have is not taken into account. More information is available in our document about capital and social welfare payments.
- Maintenance paid to you. More information is available in our document about how maintenance is assessed as means.
From 1 September 2020, bursaries or scholarships of up to €20,000 per year for a maximum of 4 years awarded to PhD students by an approved institution are excluded from the means test for Disability Allowance.
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 proceeds of the sale of the house up to €190,500 may not be taken into account when assessing your means if you sell your home and:
- Move to alternative 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 private nursing home that is registered under the Health (Nursing Homes) Act 1990
If you are living in premises, part of which is a business and part of which is used for accommodation, only the proceeds that relate to the part of the premises that has been used for accommodation are not taken into account.
Income from work
You can work (which includes self-employment) and earn up to €120 per week (after deduction of PRSI, any pension contributions and union dues) without your payment being affected. If you start work, you need to notify the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and provide proof of your earnings (a pay slip, your contract of employment or a letter from your employer).
50% of your earnings between €120 and €350 will not be taken into account in the Disability Allowance means test. Any earnings over €350 are fully assessed in the means test.
You can read more about how disability payments are affected by work.
Payments for dependants
If you have children living with you and you are single, widowed, separated or a civil partner who is not living with the other civil partner, you may get an increase in your payment for the person who is caring for your child, provided the person is aged 16 or over, living with and being supported by you.
Income from spouse's, civil partner's or cohabitant's work
If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant works, it can affect your Disability Allowance.
Your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant's weekly earnings are assessed as follows:
Weekly earnings are gross earnings less PRSI, superannuation (pension payments) and union dues.
€20 per day (up to a maximum of €60) from work is deducted from your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant's average weekly earnings and then 60% of the balance is assessed as weekly means. The weekly means is then deducted from the combined total of your personal rate of Disability Allowance and the maximum Increase for a Qualified Adult and any Increases for Qualified Children (if applicable). This formula does not apply to income from self-employment (all income from self-employment is assessed and there are no disregards).
If you were getting Disability Allowance before 26 September 2007 and you were still in payment on 26 September 2007, your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant's earnings will be assessed under the new means assessment to find out whether you are better off. If you would get a greater amount of Disability Allowance on the previous assessment then you will continue to be assessed using the previous method of calculating means from employment.
If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant's means have changed, for any reason, since 26 September 2007, you cannot apply the previous method of calculating means from employment.
You are required to have your own doctor complete a medical report, which is part of the application form, on your medical condition. This report is reviewed by one of the Department’s Medical Assessors.
Disability Allowance rates 2021
|Maximum personal rate||Increase for an adult dependant||Increase for a child dependant
From 6 January 2021
|€203||€134.70||Child aged under 12
€38 (full rate)
€19 (half rate)
Child aged 12 and 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. If you both qualify, you can both get the maximum rate.
If you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant qualifies for Disability Allowance and the other is getting another social welfare payment, you will each get the weekly personal rate of your respective payment.
How to apply
You can get an application form for Disability Allowance (pdf) from the Disability Allowance Section - see 'Where to apply' below. You can also get an application form in your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.
If you think you have been wrongly refused Disability Allowance you can appeal
Where to apply