Are you a single mother living in Ireland? If so, this article will be helpful for you!
Being a single mother is undoubtedly a challenging role, but it’s important to recognize the numerous benefits that come along with it.
Let’s take a closer look at the different benefits you’re entitled to and can qualify for.
What’s a single mother entitled to in Ireland?
In Ireland, single mothers are entitled to benefits namely One Parent Family Payment, Increase for a Qualified Child, a medical card, Additional Needs Payment, and assistance with Back to School Clothing and Footwear.
One-Parent Family Payment
Address: Citizens Information Board, Ground Floor, George’s Quay House, 43 Townsend St, Dublin 2, D02 VK65
Phone: 0818 07 4000
Operating hours: Monday to Friday – 9 AM to 8 PM
The One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) is money given to men and women under 66 who are raising children alone without a partner. To get OFP, your kids must be younger than a certain age.
If you receive the One-Parent Family Payment, you can use the Household Budget Scheme to help you handle your bills. You might also qualify for other benefits like Fuel Allowance, Working Family Payment, a medical card, and help with paying your rent.
- You must be a parent, step-parent, adoptive parent, or legal guardian taking care of at least one child under 7 years old.
- The child must live with you, and you can’t receive the payment if both parents have equal custody or if you live with a spouse or partner.
- You can qualify if you are widowed, separated, divorced (living apart for three months), unmarried, or if your spouse/partner is in prison.
- Your earnings from work or self-employment must be €425 or less per week.
- You need to have a means test and be living in Ireland.
If you’re unmarried, you must make continuous efforts to seek child support from the other parent in order to receive ongoing financial assistance.
Additionally, to be recognized as the spouse or partner of someone in prison, they must have been detained for a minimum of 6 months or held in custody without a sentence for that duration.
Increase for a Qualified Child
In addition to your regular social welfare payment, you may be eligible to receive extra financial support for your child, known as an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC).
The IQC provides extra money to support families who rely on social welfare payments and have dependent children. These additional funds are meant to help increase their income and meet the needs of their children.
It’s important to note that your child does not need to rely on you financially to receive the IQC. Even if your child has a job and earns money, it will not affect the additional payment you receive. The IQC can also be provided for foster children.
To be eligible for an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC), your child must:
- Reside in the country
- Not be under legal custody
- Meet the age requirement for the specific payment
- Live with you
The Medical Card is a program run by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland, providing healthcare coverage for individuals who reside in the country for at least a year and meet the eligibility criteria.
It offers free healthcare services, including doctor visits, hospital care, prescription medications, and dental and optical services.
Take note, however, that not everyone automatically qualifies for a medical card. An assessment will be conducted first.
You’ll need to give information about your:
- Marital status
If you don’t qualify for a medical card, your application will be automatically considered for a General Practitioner (GP) visit card instead.
Additional Needs Payment
Phone: 0818 607080
The Additional Needs Payment is money given to help you pay for things that you can’t afford with your regular income. You can get the Additional Needs Payment if you have a low-paying job or if you receive social welfare payments.
When you apply for this payment, the government will look at how much money you make and your situation to decide if you qualify.
The Additional Needs Payment includes two types of payments: one for exceptional needs and one for urgent needs.
Some examples are:
- Paying more for fuel or electricity
- Fixing important things like your home, car, or household items
- Covering the cost of a funeral
- Paying a deposit for a place to live
- Buying things when you’re starting a new home
- Getting food, clothes, or a place to stay after a big problem like a fire or flood
- Paying for travel to the hospital on a regular basis
- Visiting a family member in the hospital or in prison
Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BSCFA) provides financial assistance for school uniforms and footwear expenses for children attending school.
Many families receive the BSCFA payment automatically, without needing to submit an application.
- Children must be between the ages of 4 and 17 as of 30 September of the year you are applying for BSCFA.
- Children aged between 18 and 22 can qualify if they are returning to full-time second-level education in a recognized school or college in the upcoming autumn.
- BSCFA can only be claimed for children who are residents of the State.
- Foster children are not eligible for the BSCFA because foster parents receive financial support from Tusla (Foster Care Allowance), which includes assistance with the cost of clothing and footwear for the child.
How much is a single parent allowance in Ireland?
The table provides information on the maximum personal weekly rates for the One-Parent Family Payment in 2023. The rates are categorized based on the age of the child dependents:
|Maximum personal weekly rate||Child dependant|
|€220||Child aged under 12 years - €42|
|Child aged 12 years and over - €50|
These rates represent the maximum weekly payments provided to single parents for each child dependent, aiming to assist them in meeting their financial responsibilities.
Payments can be received at a chosen post office or deposited directly into a personal or jointly held bank account.
In addition to that, single parents may also be eligible for a full-rate Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC), which is paid along with Carer’s Allowance. However, it’s important to note that only one increase is provided per qualified child.
The amount of the Increase for a Qualified Child varies depending on the age of the child:
|Child under 12||€42 (full rate)
€21 (half rate)
|Child 12 and over||€50 (full rate)
€25 (half rate)
Is there a housing program for single mothers in Ireland?
In Ireland, there are housing programs available to support single mothers who may be facing homelessness or struggling with their current housing situation.
Two prominent programs that offer support in this regard are the Tenancy Protection Service and the Abhaile Scheme.
Tenancy Protection Service
- Freephone: Monday to Friday – 9 AM to 9 PM
- Video call with an advisor: Monday to Friday – 9 AM to 4 PM
- Email an advisor: Monday to Friday – 9:30 AM to 5 PM
The Tenancy Protection Service (TPS) is run by Threshold, a company that helps prevent homelessness through free advice and advocating for fair housing. This program aims to support individuals like single mothers who rent homes.
If you’re having problems with your rental or worried about losing your place, they can offer advice and help.
The main goal of Threshold’s TPS is to protect your tenancy, so you can stay in your home and avoid becoming homeless. Whether you received an eviction notice or had to leave due to a breakup, they’re here to support you.
If you own your home but are struggling to pay your mortgage and have fallen behind on payments, the Abhaile Scheme can assist you. The scheme is managed by the Money Advice & Budgeting Service (MABS).
They provide various services to help you in this situation, like advice on money matters, legal support, and guidance on dealing with debt.
Their goal is to help you find a solution and ease the financial pressure you’re facing.