To qualify for a One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) you must:
- Be under 66 (at 66 you become eligible for a State
- Be the parent, step-parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian of a
- Be the main carer of at least one qualified child and that child must
live with you. OFP is not payable if the parents have joint equal custody
of a child or children.
- Have earnings of €425 or less per week
- Satisfy a means test
- Be habitually
- 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
- Have made efforts to get maintenance from your spouse or civil partner
(if your civil partner is the parent of the child/ren)
- Be inadequately maintained by your spouse or civil partner (if your civil
partner is the parent of the child/ren)
If your spouse or civil partner is in prison:
- He/she must have been sentenced to at least six months in prison or have
spent at least six months in custody.
If you were not married to the parent of your
child/children you do not need to seek maintenance from the
other parent when you first claim OFP. However you must make efforts to seek
maintenance from the other parent to continue to be eligible for OFP.
You can read more about what making an effort to seek maintenance means for
parents and for unmarried
parents. See also 'Liability to maintain family' below.
Income from maintenance
All income from maintenance is assessed as means. This includes maintenance
for you and maintenance to you for any of your children. If you are getting
maintenance from more than one person it will be added together and the total
will be assessed as means. However, 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.
Liability to maintain family
Men and women are required, under the law, to pay maintenance to a dependent
spouse, civil partner or cohabitant and any dependent children who are not
living with them. These people are called 'liable relatives'. If you are a
liable relative and fail to pay enough maintenance to your spouse, civil
partner or cohabitant and dependent child(ren), you must contribute to the cost
of the One-Parent Family Payment, which is paid to your family.
The Maintenance Recovery Unit of the Department of Social Protection will
contact the liable relative if they have not paid enough maintenance, when
One-Parent Family Payment is awarded. You can contact the Maintenance Recovery
Unit on (071) 96 72599 for more information. You can also find out more about
to Maintain Family’.
One-Parent Family Payment and EU Regulations
From 5 May 2005, EU
citizens, EEA citizens and Swiss nationals, who are employed or
self-employed in Ireland and who are paying into the Irish
Social Insurance System do not have to meet the habitual residence
criteria to qualify for One-Parent Family payment.
One-Parent Family Payment and Deserted Wife's Benefit
If you had to transfer from Deserted Wife’s Benefit to
One-Parent Family Payment to be accepted as a participant on a Community
Employment Scheme, you can now apply to have your entitlement to Deserted
Wife's Benefit restored. While Deserted Wife's Benefit is closed to new
applicants, it is still paid to those who had qualified for it before 2 January
The maximum weekly rate of payment for Deserted Wife’s Benefit is higher
than the maximum weekly rate of payment for One-Parent Family Payment. If you
qualify to have your entitlement to Deserted Wife’s Benefit restored you may
also be due arrears.
Age limit for a qualified child
To get a One-Parent Family Payment you must have at least
one qualified child below the relevant age limit.
The age limit is being gradually reduced to 7 years of age. This reduction
to the age limit is being applied to new and existing customers on a phased
Over the period 2012 to 2015 your entitlement to One Parent Family Payment
- When your initial claim for One-Parent Family Payment was made
- The age of your youngest child
||Age threshold reduces to:
|1. If your claim started before 27 April
2011 payment will continue until your youngest child
|2. If your claim started between 27 April
2011 and 2 May 2012 payment will continue until your youngest
|3. If your claim starts on or after 3 May
2012 payment will continue until your youngest child reaches:
Mary started her claim before 27 April 2011. Her youngest child turns 11 in
September 2012. This means that Mary's payment will cease after 2 July 2015
when the age limit drops to 7.
Magda will start her claim after 3 May 2012. Her youngest child is 9 in
September 2012. She will retain the payment until her youngest child’s 10th
birthday in September 2013. From this date she will no longer be eligible for
Exceptions to the age limits
The end date of a payment is based on the information available on the
current claim. If you had an earlier OFP claim prior to your current one the
limits that applied to your earlier claim may apply to you. You should contact
your local social welfare local office without delay if you were previously
getting a One-Parent Family Payment for 52 continuous weeks and you had
terminated your claim for OFP because:
- You were taking part in the Back to Education Allowance scheme or a
Community Employment scheme or
- Your income from earnings was in excess of the amount allowed
Exceptions to the age limits
Domiciliary Care Allowance
If you are getting Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) for a child, then OFP
will continue until the child reaches 16 and can apply for Disability
Allowance. 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) is in payment.
Death of a spouse, partner or civil partner
If you are a new claimant and you are parenting alone because of the death
of your spouse, partner or civil partner you may get the OFP for 2 years from
the date of death or until your youngest child reaches 18.
Payments for older children
If you are entitled to a One-Parent Family Payment based on the age of the
youngest child in the family, payment of an Increase for a Qualified Child
(IQC) will continue for other children in the family until they reach 18 (or 22
if in full-time education).
What happens when your One Parent Family payment ends?
Some people will no longer qualify for the One-Parent Family Payment from 4
July 2013. The Department of Social Protection (DSP) will inform you of the
date of termination of your payment and will outline options under other
schemes and supports which may be available to you. The document Transition from
One-Parent Family Payment also outlines your options.
In all cases you can get more information and advice about your options from
Intreo centre or social welfare local office or Citizens
One-Parent Family Payment and work
You can work and get One-Parent Family Payment. The amount of payment you
get depends on your weekly means.
- The first €110 of your gross weekly earnings is not taken into account
(or disregarded). This means that you can earn up to €110 per
week and qualify for the full One-Parent Family Payment. (This disregard
will reduce to €90 from January 2014).
- Half the remainder of your gross earnings up to €425 per week is
assessed as means. If you earn between €110 and €425 per week you may
qualify for a reduced payment. SW 19 Social
Welfare Rates of Payment booklet shows the amount of OPF payable with
It is proposed to reduce the income disregards for OFP further over the next
Social insurance contributions, superannuation/PRSA
contributions and trade union subscriptions are not taken into
account in the assessment of earnings. However, your gross earnings must be
below €425 before any deductions are allowed.
One-Parent Family Payment and Community Employment (CE) schemes
From 16 January 2012 new participants on CE
schemes cannot get OFP at the same time. However if you take part in a CE
scheme and return immediately to OFP from the CE scheme your entitlement is
based on your original start date.
You may qualify for Family Income Supplement (FIS), if you are working for
at least 19 hours a week. You can continue to claim One-Parent Family Payment
and your FIS payment is not counted as means. Find out more about Family Income Supplement.
If you want to become self-employed, you may qualify for the Back
to Work Enterprise Allowance. People on One-Parent Family Payment are also
eligible for JobBridge
- the National Internship Scheme.
If your pay from work is reduced
You may be entitled to an increase in your One-Parent Family Payment if your
pay is reduced. To get an increase in your One-Parent Family Payment send a
current payslip (showing your reduced pay) with a letter from your employer,
confirming your new work situation, to the social welfare local office dealing
with your claim.
If your pay is reduced and you are getting Family Income Supplement (FIS),
your FIS payment will stay the same. If the number of hours you work each week
is reduced to below 19 hours (38 hour per fortnight) you are no longer entitled
to FIS. You should notify the FIS section if the hours you work fall below the
You may be entitled to an increase in your Rent
Supplement. If you rent from a local authority or housing association you
should contact them to find out if you are entitled to a reduction in your
rent. If you are not getting a medical card or GP visit card you should find
out if you now qualify.
If you are getting a One-Parent Family Payment and take time off work
following the birth of a child you will get credited contributions.
One Parent Family Payment and education or training
You will need to assess whether it is more beneficial for you to transfer
from the One-Parent Family Payment to the Back to
Education Allowance (BTEA) when you go back to education or to remain on
your current payment and apply for a student grant.
From 4 July 2013 if you returned to education and had opted to keep your
One-Parent Family Payment (instead of BTEA) you may be admitted to BTEA ‘mid
course’ if you no longer qualify for OFP because of recent changes in the age
limits. However you cannot get BTEA and a student grant together. Read more in
our document on social
welfare payments and student grants.
You can do a FÁS
training course and keep your One-Parent Family Payment (new applicants in
2014 will no longer be able to get a FÁS training allowance). However your OFP
will be reduced as your FÁS
training allowance will be assessed against it as income. You will not get
a training bonus of €20 per week, unless you are progressing from at least 12
months on a CE Scheme or Job Initiative programme.
How to apply
To apply fill in a One-Parent Family
application form (pdf). Send it with the relevant supporting documents to
the Department of Social Protection at the address below.
If you are widowed or a surviving civil partner, you should apply within
3 months of your spouse's or civil partner's
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
should apply within 6 months of the date you separated from your
spouse or civil partner. You must be separated for 3 months before you can
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
- Starts their sentence, which must be for at least 6 months.
Staff in your social welfare
local office will be happy to help you complete the application form and
answer any questions you may have.
You can have your payment paid directly into your bank account or arrange to
use your Social Services Card at the post office to collect your money. If you
have a Social Services Card, sign the back of it and keep it in a safe
If you get a One-Parent Family Payment you can use the Household
Budget Scheme to help you manage your bills. You may also be eligible for
other benefits such as Fuel Allowance,
Supplement under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme or a medical
If you think you have been wrongly refused a One-Parent Family Payment, or
you are unhappy about a decision of a Social Welfare Deciding Officer about
your entitlements, you can appeal this decision.