What is a means test?


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A means test is a way of checking if you have enough means to support yourself and what amount of payment, if any, you may qualify for. Your means are any income belonging to you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant and property (except your own home) or an asset that could provide you with an income.
You must complete the application form fully so that we can calculate your means. You must give all details of your own means and those of your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant where applicable. You should submit all necessary documents such as bank statements, details of all your earnings or other pension payslips with your application. If you submit an incomplete application form or if you don’t submit the required supporting documents a decision on your application may be delayed or result in your pension being refused.
 
Your claim for pension may be forwarded to a local Social Welfare Inspector for investigation and interview.

What counts as means?

The main items that count are:
  • any income from rehabilitative employment only over €120 a week (you must send us medical evidence from your GP stating that the work is rehabilitative before you
  • start this work),
  • cash income belonging to you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant,
  • the value of any investments, savings and shares that you may have,
  • the value of any property, except your own home,
  • maintenance paid to you,
  • income from employment or self-employment,
  • income from casual employment by the Health Service Executive as a home help.
If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, we will include the means of your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant in the means test.
 
If you own or lease a farm of land, we assess as means the yearly value of any income that you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant have from it. We work out the yearly value by deducting any necessary expenses from the gross income.
 
If you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant deprive yourselves of an income or property (including money) to qualify for Blind Pension or to qualify for this pension at a higher rate, we will include that income or property in the means test. However, this may not apply in the case of certain family settlements involving the transfer of ownership of a farm or business.
 
Note:
If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting,
your means will be calculated as half the joint means
of you and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant.

What does not count as means?

The following are some of the main items that do not count as means:
 
  • The first €120 a week from rehabilitative employment (you must send us medical evidence from your GP stating that the work is rehabilitative before you start this  work),
  • your own home,
  • any payment made by the Department of Social Protection,
  • the value of the first €20,000 of savings or other assets (for more see Section 5),
  • maintenance from a higher education grant paid for you, a qualified adult or qualified children for certain courses,
  • income from rehabilitative training,
  • Domiciliary Care Allowance paid for any qualified children,
  • Child Benefit, Supplementary Welfare Allowance or allowances paid by the Health Service Executive for children who the Health Service Executive places in foster care or with relatives,
  • Mobility Allowance from the Department of Health, and
  • income from certain charities.

Note:

It is essential that you declare full details both of your own means and that of your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant when you apply for a pension. Also if you are awarded a pension, you are legally obliged to report any increase in your means to the Department within a period of three months. If you fail to do so, you may incur an overpayment of pension which you (or your Estate after your death) will have to repay.

Last modified:30/01/2013
 

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