One-Parent Family Payment
What is the One-Parent Family Payment?
The One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) is a payment for men and women under 66 who are bringing children up without the support of a partner.
To get OFP your children must be under a certain age.
You can work and get OFP. However, to get OFP your income must be below a certain amount.
If you get the One-Parent Family Payment you can use the Household Budget Scheme to help you manage your bills. You may also get other benefits such as Fuel Allowance, Working Family Payment, medical card and help with your rent.
Working Family Payment (WFP) is not included when your income is assessed for OFP.
How to qualify for the One-Parent Family Payment
To qualify for the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) you must:
- Be aged under 66
- Be the parent, step-parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian of a child under a certain age - see ‘Age limit for a child’ below
- Be the main carer of at least one child under the age limit. The child must live with you. OFP is not paid if the parents have joint equal custody of a child or children.
- Pass a means test – a means test looks at any income that you have – see ‘How your income is assessed for the One-Parent Family Payment’ below
- Live in Ireland and meet the habitual residence condition – find out more about exemptions from the habitual residency condition.
- Not be living with a spouse, civil partner or cohabiting
If you are separated, divorced or your civil partnership is dissolved you must:
- Have been living apart from your spouse or civil partner for at least 3 months. This does not apply to cohabitants (cohabitants are a couple living together, but not married or in a civil partnership)
- Have made efforts to get maintenance from your spouse or civil partner (if your civil partner is the parent of the child)
- Be inadequately (not properly) maintained by your spouse or civil partner (if your civil partner is the parent of the child)
If your spouse or civil partner is in prison:
- They must be sentenced to at least 6 months in prison or have spent at least 6 months in custody.
If you were not married to the parent of your child:
- You do not need to look for maintenance from the other parent when you first claim OFP. However, you must make efforts to get maintenance from the other parent to continue to qualify for OFP.
Who pays maintenance?
Parents have a responsibility to support their children financially. This applies to all parents. The parent with custody of the children has to take care of them and look after their day-to-day needs. The parent who does not have custody usually has to pay money (maintenance) to the parent with custody. This is to help cover the costs of taking care of the children.
If a child's parent does not pay enough maintenance, they may have to pay the DSP something towards the cost of the One-Parent Family Payment paid to your family.
The Maintenance Recovery Unit of the DSP will contact them if they have not paid enough maintenance. You can contact the Maintenance Recovery Unit on (071) 967 2599 for more information.
Age limit for a child
To get the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) you must have at least one child under 7 years of age.
Exceptions to the age limit
You may get OFP for a child aged 7 or over, in the following cases:
- You are getting Domiciliary Care Allowance, half-rate Carer's Allowance or Blind Pension
- After the death of a spouse, partner or civil partner
Domiciliary Care Allowance
If you are getting Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) for a child, you can get OFP until the child reaches 16 or the DCA stops. You must meet the other qualifying conditions for OFP.
You will also get an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) for any other children in the family until they reach 18 (or 22 if in full-time education) while DCA and OFP are paid.
If you are getting OFP and providing full-time care and attention to one of your children or for an adult (such as a sibling or a parent), you can keep your OFP and also claim half-rate Carer’s Allowance, until your youngest child’s turns 16. You must meet the conditions for both schemes.
You will also get an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) for any other children in the family until they reach 18 (or 22 if in full-time education) as long as you are getting Carer’s Allowance and OFP.
Death of a spouse, partner or civil partner
If you applied for the One-Parent Family Payment because you are parenting alone following the death of your spouse, partner or civil partner, you may get OFP for 2 years from the date of death. You cannot be paid OFP after your youngest child reaches 18 even if it is less than 2 years after the date of death.
Blind Pension can be paid with OFP. This means that a person who qualifies for OFP and Blind Pension can get both payments. You can get both Blind Pension and OFP (and any IQCs paid with both Blind Pension and OFP) until your youngest child turns 16.
What happens when my child is over the age limit?
Your OFP will stop when your youngest child reaches the age limit. The Department of Social Protection (DSP) will inform you of the end date for your payment.
You may get the Jobseeker's Transitional payment. This is a payment for people parenting alone whose children are aged between 7 and 13.
You can find out more about what happens when your OFP ends.
You can also get information and advice about your options from your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office or Citizens Information Centre.
How income is assessed for the One-Parent Family Payment
One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) is a means-tested payment.
In a means test the Department of Social Protection (DSP) examines all your sources of income. To get OFP, your income must be below a certain amount.
The main items included in the means test are:
- Cash income - some cash income may not be included in the means test – see ‘Income from work’ below
- Capital, for example, the value of savings, investments, shares or any property you have (but not your own home). The first €20,000 of your capital is not taken into account. Find out more about capital not included in the means test.
- Maintenance paid to you – some maintenance may not be included in the means test - see ‘Income from maintenance’ below.
Your means is all your sources of income less any income not taken into account by the DSP. The SW 19 Social Welfare Rates of Payment booklet (pdf) shows the amount of OPF payable with your means.
Income from work
The first €165 of your gross weekly earnings (wages and profit from self-employment) is not taken into account in the means test.
Half the remainder of your gross earnings per week is assessed as means and you may get a reduced rate of OFP.
Social insurance contributions, superannuation/PRSA contributions and trade union subscriptions are not taken into account when calculating your gross earnings.
If your pay from work is reduced
You may get an increase in your One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) if your wages are reduced. Send a current payslip (showing your reduced pay) with a letter from your employer, confirming your new work hours and pay, to the Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office dealing with your OFP.
If you are also getting the Working Family Payment (WFP), your WFP rate will stay the same. However, if the number of hours you work is reduced to below 19 hours a week (38 hours a fortnight), you are no longer entitled to WFP.
If you are on the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), you should contact your local authority to find out if you can get a reduction in your weekly HAP rent contribution. If you rent from a local authority or housing association you should contact them to find out if you can get a reduction in your rent.
Income from maintenance
Maintenance payments for you and maintenance to you for any of your children is assessed in the means test. If you are getting maintenance from more than one person, all the payments are added together and the total is assessed. However, only half of your income from maintenance will be deducted from your OFP.
If you have 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 can get more information on how maintenance is assessed as means.
Education and training
You can keep your One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) if you are in education.
You may have the option to transfer to the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) or to stay on your current payment and apply for a student grant. You need to find out which option is of greatest benefit to you.
You cannot get BTEA and a student grant together. Find out more about social welfare payments and student grants.
You can find out if any childcare supports are available to you while studying, training or working.
Rate of the One-Parent Family Payment
Maximum personal weekly rate
|Child aged under 12 years
Child aged 12 years and over
As long as your youngest child is under the age limit, an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) will be paid for other children in the family until they reach 18 (or 22 if in full-time education).
One-Parent Family Payment is a taxable source of income.
How to apply for the One-Parent Family Payment
To apply fill in a One-Parent Family Payment application form (pdf).
Send it with your supporting documents to the Department of Social Protection - see 'Where to apply' below.
When to apply
If you are widowed or a surviving civil partner, you should apply within 3 months of your spouse's or civil partner's death.
If you are single, you should apply within 3 months of the birth of your child.
If you are separated, divorced or no longer in a civil partnership, you must have been living apart for 3 months before applying for the One-Parent Family Payment.
If you are a prisoner's spouse or civil partner, you should apply when your spouse or civil partner:
- Has been in custody for at least 6 months without being sentenced or
- Starts their sentence (they must have been sentenced to at least 6 months)
You can find out about making a late claim for social welfare.
Collecting your payment
Your OFP can be paid directly into your Post Office or into your bank account.
You will need to use your Public Services Card (PSC) to collect your payment at the Post Office. If you do not have a PSC, you will need another form of photographic ID to collect your payment.
If you think you have been wrongly refused the One-Parent Family Payment, or
you are unhappy about a decision of a social welfare Deciding Officer, you can
Where to apply for the One-Parent Family Payment
Send your application for the One-Parent Family Payment to your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office.
If you wish to talk to someone face-to-face about your entitlements, you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre, Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.
The organisations listed below provide support and information to people parenting alone: