What is the means test?


Print page

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.

To carry out a means test, a Social Welfare Inspector will ask you for details of your means. The Inspector will do this at your local Social Welfare Office or may call to you at your home. They may also ask you to produce documents such as, accounts or bank statements. Please give details of all your means when completing your application form. A Deciding Officer makes a decision on your entitlement to Carer's Allowance based on the means test.

What counts as means?

Your means are any income belonging to you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant, property (except your own home) or an asset that could bring in money or provide you with an income, for example occupational pensions or pensions or benefits from another country.

The first €7.60 of means assessed will not affect your payment, but for every extra €2.50 means you have, your weekly payment will be reduced by €2.50.

Note
We also take into account the total amount of any social security payment made to you from another country.

Investments and savings

When working out your means from savings and investments, also known as capital, we add together the following items and use a special formula:

  • the cash value of investments and property (except your home),
  • money in any savings account or current account, and
  • cash-in-hand.
Capital: Weekly means assessed:
First €20,000 Nil
€20,000 - €30,000 €1 per €1,000
€30,000 - €40,000 €2 per €1,000
Over €40,000 €4 per €1,000

 

If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting with another person, we will assess you based on half of the combined means assessed. See examples below.

Disregarding certain earnings

Single carer

If you are married or living with another person as husband and wife, we will assess you based on half of the combined capital held by both of you. See examples below.

Disregarding certain earnings

Single carer

We will not take into account the first €332.50 of your weekly income when assessing your means.

Example 1:

A single person has a weekly commercial sector pension of €339.50
Minus disregarded earnings €332.50
Weekly means   € 7.00

 

The first €7.60 of weekly means assessed is disregarded. So, in this example, the carer would receive a full Carer's Allowance of €204.00 a week. These rates ar based on current (September 2014) rates.

Married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting carer

We will not take into account the first €665.00 of your combined weekly income when assessing your means.

Example 2:

A carer aged under 66 has weekly earnings of €105 and their spouse, civil partner or cohabitant has gross earnings from employment of €650 a week. The couple have 3 dependent children.

We would work out their means by adding the income of the carer and their spouse's, civil partner's or cohabitant's weekly earnings after PRSI, union dues and superannuation are taken away. We may also make an allowance for travel expenses. We do not take into account the amount of income tax paid.

 

Spouse's, civil partner's or cohabitant's gross weekly earnings  €650.00
Minus PRSI (Subclass A1) €33.92
Union dues   €3.60
Superannuation   €9.80
Travel €15.00
Amount taken away €62.32  - €62.32
Their total reckonable
earnings
 €587.68
Plus carer's own earnings + €105.00
€692.68
Minus disregarded earnings of €665.00 - €665.00
Combined means of couple €27.68
We halve the combined means to give
the carer's weekly means.
€13.84
Weekly Carer's Allowance €196.50
Half-rate increase for 3 children (€14.90 x 3) + €44.70
Total Carer's Allowance €241.20

These figures are based on current (September 2014) rates.

Note:
The above amounts apply to any of you or your spouse's, civil partner's or cohabitant's income, including earnings from employment, an occupational pension, capital or savings.

 
Last modified:24/09/2014
 

 Downloads