Assessment of Means

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To qualify for a social assistance payment you must satisfy a means test. A means test examines all your sources of income. However, some income is not taken into account in the calculation of your means.

Working out your own means is difficult. It is important that you should apply if you think you might qualify for any of the means-tested payments.

Means are taken into account for the following payments

• State Pension (Non-Contributory)
• Carer's Allowance
• One-Parent Family Payment
• Widow's or Widower's (Non-Contributory) Pension
• Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)
• Jobseeker's Allowance
• Pre-Retirement Allowance (PRETA)
• Farm Assist
• Blind Pension
• Disability Allowance
• Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA)2
• Rent Allowance

A Community Welfare Officer from the HSE will work out your means in the case of Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

When you apply for a means-tested payment, a Social Welfare Inspector will ask for details of your means. The Inspector may do this at your local Social Welfare Office or may call to you at your home. The Inspector will need to ask you for details about the items that count as means. You may be asked to produce documents such as accounts or bank statements. Your means decision is made by a separate Deciding Officer.

What counts as Means

The main items that count as means are:
• cash income
• income from employment/self-employment
• the value of any property you have but not your own home
• the value of any investments and capital you have
• for Jobseeker's Allowance or Pre-Retirement Allowance, the value of any 'benefit and privilege' such as board and lodging.

If you are married and living with your spouse or if you are living with someone as husband and wife, the means of your spouse/partner can be taken into account in the means assessment.

For Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory), the items listed are only counted where they belong to the orphan.

Additional Information

If you need information you should contact the office dealing with your claim. Please see the list of contact details for the Department.

If you wish you can also view the Department’s Operational Guideline on Means Assessment or you can view details on Means Assessment on the Citizens Information Website

Go back to Payments Explained Index 

Last modified:22/01/2009

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