Help with low pay
There are some tax and social welfare measures which help employees on low pay.
If your employment (or self-employment) has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, or if you are sick or caring for someone who is sick, read our document on COVID-19 (coronavirus) and social welfare payments.
You can read our document on Employment rights during the COVID-19 restrictions.
The DSP announced on 14 March that applications should be made either online or by post where possible. In most cases you will not have to go to an Intreo office in person.
If you have coronavirus symptoms or are medically required to self-isolate,
you should apply for Illness
Working Family Payment
Working Family Payment (formerly known as Family Income Supplement (FIS)) is a weekly tax-free payment that gives help to those on low pay. It is available to employees with children.
Getting social welfare payments
In certain circumstances, you are allowed to keep social welfare payments (or at least part of them) when you start work. For example:
If you work part-time up to 3 days per week you may be entitled to retain part of your Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance. If you are getting One-Parent Family Payment you are allowed to earn a certain amount each week and keep your payment. If you are getting a means-tested disability payment, such as Disability Allowance or Blind Pension, you may earn a certain amount from work without it affecting your payment. If you are getting Illness Benefit (for at least 6 months) or Invalidity Pension you can apply for Partial Capacity Benefit and keep part of your payment, depending on how restricted your capacity for work is.
Back to Work Enterprise Allowance
Under this scheme you can become self-employed and keep a certain amount of your social welfare payment. Find out more about the Back to Enterprise Work Allowance.
Retaining Rent Supplement
If you have been unemployed or not in full-time employment for at least 12 months and are assessed as in need of housing under the Rental Accommodation Scheme you may be entitled to retain your Rent Supplement.
Retaining medical card
If you are unemployed and you are returning to full-time or part-time work, you can keep your medical card for 3 years provided you have been getting one of the following for 12 months or more:
- Jobseeker's Benefit
- Jobseeker's Allowance
- One-Parent Family Payment
- Illness Benefit
- Disability Allowance
- Blind Pension or
- Have been on an employment incentive scheme or educational opportunity scheme
If you take up full-time employment you will retain your medical card for 3 years from the date you start work. If you take up part-time employment the three-year period starts from the date your income exceeds the relevant medical card guideline.
Tax and PRSI
If you are on low pay you may not be liable to pay any tax because your tax credits and reliefs are more than or equal to the amount of tax you are due to pay. People with an income below €13,000 do not pay the Universal Social Charge (USC).
People aged 65 and over are subject to the same general tax rules as everyone else but they do get tax exemption limits below which they pay no tax and some extra tax credits. Revenue's information leaflet Tax Exemption and Marginal Relief (IT 8) (pdf) gives information on available exemption limits and tax relief.