Am I entitled to single parent allowance?

You are entitled to a weekly one-parent family payment if you satisfy the following conditions:

  • Be the parent, step-parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian of a qualified child
  • Have the main “care and charge” of at least one qualified child, who is under 18 years of age or aged 18-22 and in full-time education. The child must live with you. One-Parent Family Payment is not payable if a couple has joint equal custody of a child or children.
  • Have earnings of €425 or less per week
  • Satisfy a means test
  • Be habitually resident
  • Not be cohabiting (that is, living with someone as husband and wife).

If you are separated or divorced you must:

  • Have been separated for at least three months
  • Have made efforts to get maintenance from your spouse
  • Be inadequately maintained by your spouse.

If you are unmarried you will:

  • Be required to seek maintenance from the other parent of your child

The one-parent family payment is payable regardless of your age, and whether or not you are living at home with your family. Apply for the one-parent family payment as soon as possible after the birth of your baby. A social welfare officer from the Department of Social Community and Family Affairs will visit you to assess your situation. It will take some time for your application to be dealt with but, meanwhile, if you have no other income you can claim supplementary welfare allowance from the community welfare officer in your local health centre. This payment will be less than the one-parent family payment, but you will receive whatever back money is due. Click here to print out your One Parent Family Payment claim form.


When you apply for the one-parent family payment, you will be asked to try to get maintenance from the other parent, whether or not the name of the other parent is on the birth certificate. This is known as the ‘efforts’ condition. Regular maintenance payments received from the other parent will be taken into account in your means test and the payment will be reduced by the amount of maintenance you receive. However, if you are paying rent or a mortgage payment, your housing costs of up to €95.23 per week will not be taken into account. If your child’s other parent is paying your housing costs, payments over €95.23 per week will be assessed as maintenance. However, maintenance will affect any rent allowance you are receiving. An unmarried parent claiming One-Parent Family Payment will be required to seek maintenance from the other parent and the One Parent Family Payment will be reduced accordingly if maintenance is paid. However, the unmarried parent will be allowed to keep 50% of the maintenance, any rent or mortgage paid can be offset against the other 50% of the maintenance.

Other benefits

If you are receiving the one-parent family payment, you may also qualify for:

  • Fuel allowance
  • Family Income Supplement
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme
  • A Medical card

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