Working Family Payment
Working Family Payment (WFP) (formerly known as Family Income Supplement (FIS)) is a weekly tax-free payment available to employees with children. It gives extra financial support to people on low pay. You must be an employee to qualify for WFP and you cannot qualify if you are only self-employed.
You must have at least one child who normally lives with you or is financially supported by you. Your child must be under 18 years of age or between 18 and 22 years of age and in full-time education. (Your child continues to qualify until the end of the academic year if they turn 22 while in full-time education.)
To qualify for WFP, your average weekly family income must be below a certain amount for your family size. The payment you receive is 60% of the difference between your average weekly family income and the income limit which applies to your family. For more information about average family income see ‘Rates’ below.
Your Working Family Payment is not taxed. If you are getting WFP you may also be entitled to the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance. Your income from WFP is not taken into account in the assessment for a medical card.
The Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) and WFP can be paid together and the BTWFD will not be taken into account in the income test for WFP.
Working Family Payment income thresholds will increase by €10 per week for families with up to 3 children (from January 2021).
Working Family Payment and COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic
If you are getting a Working Family Payment and you have lost your employment due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, you can apply for the new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). If you qualify for PUP, you can get it at the same time as your Working Family Payment.
Read more about COVID-19 (coronavirus).
WFP is a tax-free weekly payment for employees who:
- Work 38 or more hours per fortnight (any combination of hours that reaches 38 hours each fortnight is acceptable). You can combine your weekly hours with your spouse, civil partner, cohabitant's hours to meet this condition. You cannot use time spent in self-employment (or on Community Employment, Gateway, Tús, JobBridge or the Rural Social Scheme) to meet this condition.
- Where the employment is likely to last at least 3 months
- Have one or more children who normally live with you and
- Earn less than an amount set according to your family size
You must be employed in the Irish State and pay tax and PRSI here. Under EU regulations you may be able to claim WFP if your children are living abroad and dependent on you. Generally, the payment continues for one year (52 weeks) and is not affected by, for example, an increase or a decrease in earnings.
However, in the following 2 circumstances, your weekly rate of WFP can be revised during the year:
- If you start to care for an additional child your WFP rate can be increased.
- If you were getting a One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) and your payment stopped because your youngest child reached the relevant OFP age limit, your WFP rate can be revised (by disregarding the rate of OFP assessed in your most recent WFP income test).
If your pay from work is reduced your Working Family Payment will stay the same. It will not increase. However, when your Working Family Payment ends you can re-apply giving details of your new reduced income. (WFP is usually paid for 52 weeks. At the end of the 52 weeks, you can re-apply for WFP.)
If the number of hours you work each week is reduced to below 38 hours per fortnight, you are no longer entitled to WFP. You should notify the WFP section if your hours fall below this minimum requirement.
If you move to a new job, your current entitlement to WFP will cease and you must notify the WFP section. You may re-apply for WFP for your new job.
If you lose your job you are no longer entitled to WFP. You must notify the WFP section.
Getting WFP with other social welfare payments
You cannot get WFP if you are on one of the following schemes or social welfare payments:
- Community Employment Scheme, Gateway, Rural Social Scheme, or the Tús scheme.
- Jobseeker's Benefit, Jobseeker's Allowance, Jobseeker's Transitional payment or Farm Assist
- Part-Time Job Incentive Scheme.
Your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant can claim WFP while you are getting one of these payments. However an Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA) will no longer be paid and your social welfare payment will be assessed as income for their Working Family Payment. Any Increase for a Qualified Child will be affected. Similarly, if your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is getting one of these payments, you can qualify for WFP but an IQA will no longer be paid for you.
If you are parenting alone you may be entitled to WFP in addition to your One-Parent Family Payment, Deserted Wife's Benefit or Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory) Pension.
You can get Illness Benefit or Injury Benefit while you are getting WFP (for 6 consecutive weeks). If you are out of work for more than 6 consecutive weeks, payment of WFP is suspended until you return to work and send a final certificate into the Illness Benefit or Occupational Injury Benefit section or until your WFP award period expires (whichever is the earlier).
Under the Maternity Protection Act 1994, a woman on maternity or adoptive leave is entitled to be treated as if she is in employment. This means that she can claim WFP (provided she meets the conditions of the Working Family Payment and has a family – a pregnant woman who has no other children does not qualify for WFP until the birth of the baby). Your income must be less than the income limit for your family size and is normally calculated using your gross earnings to date. Your WFP claim will then be paid for 52 weeks from the date you applied. You are not entitled to continue to claim WFP if you take additional unpaid maternity or adoptive leave, if you lose your job after returning to work or give up your employment.
A separated parent can apply for WFP once he or she meets the qualifying conditions and
Is living with the children or
Is wholly maintaining the ex-spouse, ex-civil partner or ex-cohabitant with whom the children are living
Wholly maintaining means that maintenance paid by you, the WFP applicant, must be the main income of your ex-spouse, ex-civil partner or ex-cohabitant. Your former spouse or partner cannot have more than €100 a week income in their own right and cannot be married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting.
WFP is awarded for 52 weeks. A person included in your WFP award cannot be paid WFP in their own right or be included in another WFP claim during that 52 week period.
If you are a separated parent and paying maintenance you may qualify for WFP. To qualify, you must be wholly maintaining the parent with whom the children are living. Only one payment can be made for a family so the parent to whom you are paying maintenance must not be getting WFP. You must supply written evidence from this person to show that they are getting maintenance.
If you are paying maintenance as a result of a court order or legally binding agreement for a second family, the amount of that maintenance payment will not be deducted from the income to be assessed for WFP.
All income from maintenance is assessed in the means test for WFP. This includes maintenance for you and maintenance to you for any of your children. If you are getting maintenance from more than one person, all the payments are added together and the total is assessed as means.
Your housing costs (your rent or mortgage repayment) up to a maximum of €95.23 per week can be offset against maintenance payments. Half the balance is then assessed as means. You must provide proof of rent or mortgage payments. You cannot offset your housing costs against maintenance payments for WFP, if you have already done so in the means test for another social welfare payment.
Non-cash benefits are not assessed as means. For example, if your rent or mortgage payments are made by an ex-spouse or partner under a maintenance agreement it is not assessed.
You can get more information on how maintenance is assessed as means.
WFP is calculated on the basis of 60% of the difference between the income limit for the family size and the assessable income of the person(s) raising the child(ren). The combined income of a couple (married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting) is taken into account.
Income from any source (except for the disregards stated below) is assessed. The WFP income test does not assess capital. This includes property you own, bank accounts and cars. The Department of Social Protection (DSP) does assess income you get from tenants who rent a property you own, it may examine your bank accounts to check for other income sources and it may assess income derived from use of a car that you own (for example as a taxi).
The main items counted as income are:
- Your assessable earnings and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant's assessable earnings. (Assessable earnings are gross pay minus tax, employee PRSI, Universal Social Charge and superannuation (including the Public Service Pension Levy and contributions to Personal Retirement Savings Accounts.) Income from working as a home help is included.
- Any extra income you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant have from employment (such as pay for overtime, bonuses, allowances or commission).
- Any income you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant may have from self-employment.
- Income from occupational pensions.
- Income you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant may have including social welfare payments and student grants.
- All family income from carer's payments (Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit).
- Rental income from the letting of property or land (the capital value is not assessed). The gross rental income is assessed and you cannot deduct mortgage payments or other expenses. Rental income from renting a room in your house is included.
Generally, all financial compensation is taken into account. However,certain types of compensation are not assessed as income. You can find a list of compensation payments not assessed as income.
The following payments do not count as family income:
- Child Benefit
- Guardian's payments
- Supplementary Welfare Allowance
- Domiciliary Care Allowance
- Foster Child Allowance
- Rent Allowance for tenants affected by the de-control of rents
- Rent Supplement
- Income from a charitable organisation
- Income from providing accommodation to students studying Irish in Gaeltacht areas under a scheme administered by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
- Payments under the 1916 Bursary Fund from the Department of Education
- Uversity payments made under the Higher Education Scholarships for Adult Learners of up to a maximum of €7000 per year
- Payments under the Department of Education's school transport scheme for children with special educational needs
- Any income your children may have
Calculating income for WFP
The Department of Social Protection (DSP) calculates your assessable earnings over a certain period of time.
Because WFP is paid over 52 weeks, the DSP tries to calculate your average earnings over a similar period of time. Normally they will use your gross earnings up to the date of your application. If you are newly in employment, your average weekly income is calculated from when you started work with that employer.
If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is self-employed, his or her income over the 12-month period before you lodge your claim is used to work out his or her average weekly income.
WFP income limits from 9 January 2020
|If you have:||And your weekly family income is less than:|
|Eight or more children||€1,308|
It's important to be aware, that if you qualify for WFP, you get a minimum of €20 each week. You can use the Department's benefit of work estimator to work out the total amount you would get working (including any Working Family Payment). It also compares this amount to what you are getting in jobseeker payments (including Rent Supplement).
If you are getting WFP you may also be entitled to the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance.
How to apply
To apply fill in an application form for Working Family Payment (pdf). You can get a copy of this form in your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office. If you need help to fill in this form, the staff in your Intreo Centre, Social Welfare Branch Office or Citizens Information Centre can help you.
To make sure that your application for WFP is processed as quickly as possible, you should include your most recent payslips with your application.
If you think you have been wrongly refused WFP you can appeal this decision.