Increase for a Qualified Adult


Print page

Index:

Part 1 Legislative Background

Part 2 Payment of an Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA)

  • 2.1 Persons in respect of whom an IQA can be paid
  • 2.2 Wholly or mainly maintained – means-tested schemes
  • 2.3 Wholly or mainly maintained – contribution based schemes - income limit
  • 2.4 Wholly or mainly maintaining - separated, financially dependent, ex-partner
  • 2.5 Wholly or mainly maintaining - carer of children

Part 3 IQA in respect of non-EEA spouse/civil partner/cohabitant of an Irish citizen

  • 3.1 IQA - where a cohabitant is an asylum seeker
  • 3.2 IQA - where an asylum application has been rejected
  • 3.3 IQA for non-EEA cohabitant with a restricted visa

Part 4 Persons not admitted as a Qualified Adult (QA)

Part 5 Disqualifications

Part 6 Calculation of Qualified Adult’s weekly income for the purposes of an IQA on a contribution-based benefit

  • 6.1 Earnings as an employee
  • 6.2 Calculation of earnings in respect of a qualified adult who is on paid/unpaid leave from employment
  • 6.3 Income from qualified adult’s self-employment (where customer in receipt of a contributory-based payment)
  • 6.4 Income from property (including savings)
  • 6.5 Income from any other sources as a qualified adult

Part 7 Disregards from calculation of qualified adult’s weekly income

Part 8 Rates of Payment

  • 8.1 Tapered / reduced rate of increase

1. Legislative background

The main legislative provisions for the payment of Increases for Qualified Adults are:-

  • Part I of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended), see especially Section 2(2), and
  • Section 297 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended).
  • Part I of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, 2007, (SI 142/2007). (as amended), especially Articles 6 to 11.

 


2. Payment of an increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA)

Subject to the following conditions and those applying to the different schemes*, an Increase for a Qualified Adult ( IQA) is payable in respect of a person who is wholly or mainly maintained by the claimant, and is either:

2.1 Persons in respect of whom an IQA can be paid (who may receive IQA)

  • A spouse (husband or wife) / civil partner / cohabitant – includes those married / divorced / dissolved
  • A person over 16 years of age who resides with and cares for a qualified child of the customer, and the customer is wholly or mainly maintaining that person (see 2.5 below..

Note:*State Pension (Non-contributory) Scheme and Blind Person's pension in particular have different rules. See the appropriate guidelines dealing with these schemes.

2.2 Wholly or mainly maintained – means tested schemes

A spouse/civil partner/cohabitant of the customer is only regarded as being wholly or mainly maintained by the customer, where that person’s weekly income, calculated as shown in "Calculation of Weekly Income" in section 6, does not exceed €100 per week. When this limit applies, a full rate of increase for a qualified adult rate is payable. If the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant’s weekly income exceeds this limit but is less than or equal to €310.00 per week, a lower (tapered) rate of increase is payable.

2.4 Wholly or mainly maintaining separated, financially dependent, ex-partner

A person over 16 years who has the care of one or more of the claimant's children, may be regarded as being wholly or mainly maintained by the customer, i.e. regarded as a Qualified Adult, in certain limited circumstances. The dependant adult must co-reside with the customer, to provide support with childcare, and must also not have an income in excess of €100 per week. The customer must be single and not maintaining any other person.

The child who is in the care of this person must be a qualified child of the customer, i.e. a child in respect of whom an IQC is payable to the claimant.

An example of this form of co-resident relationship could apply to sitatuions where an older child - or another relative - of a widowed or a single parent, is caring to the customer’s younger children.

3. IQA in respect of non-EU spouse/civil partner/cohabitant of an Irish citizen

Entitlement to payment of an increase for a qualified adult in respect of a non-EU spouse/civil partner/cohabitant of an Irish national should be determined in exactly the same way as if the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant was an EU national.

3.1 IQA - Where a cohabitant is an asylum seeker:

An IQA is payable provided that the normal conditions for payment of an IQA are satisfied.

3.2 IQA - Where an asylum application has been rejected

An adverse decision on an application for asylum may be appealed.

 

  • If an appeal fails, a Deportation Order is issued.
  • The applicant may then apply for a Judicial Review.

The IQA remains payable while the above procedures are in process, provided the remaining conditions continue to be satisfied.

3.3 IQA for non-EEA cohabitant with a restricted visa:

When a non-EU national enters the country for a specific period of time and for a specific purpose, e.g. on a student visa, s/he is obliged to show, before s/he is allowed to enter the State, that s/he has sufficient funds to support him/herself for the duration of the stay.

In a cohabitation case, an application for an IQA in respect of this person should be referred to a SWI to establish the details of the person’s income. When it is established that normal statutory conditions for payment of IQA are satisfied, then IQA may be paid.

Notification of the IQA award should be issued to the Department of Justice and Equality.


4. Persons not admitted as a qualified adult (QA)

• A spouse/civil partner/cohabitant who is employed or self-employed and/or who has a gross income from any other source that exceeds the relevant limit is not admitted as a qualified adult.

• A spouse/civil partner/cohabitant who is in receipt of a social welfare payment in his/her own right *except where that person is entitled to one of the following social welfare payments and to no others (other than Supplementary Welfare Allowance or Child Benefit).

  • a) Disablement Benefit
  • b) Death Benefit in respect of an Orphan
  • c) Domiciliary Care Allowance
  • d) Guardian's Payment (Contributory)
  • e) Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)

Note* This bar also applies to spouse/civil partner/cohabitant’s in receipt of an equivalent social security payment from another EEA State, in his/her own right. The EU Regulations 883/2004 provisions on overlapping payments apply to qualified adult allowances (only) in an Irish context. However, these rules do not apply to certain types of Invalidity, State Pension (Contributory), and Survivor’s Benefit payments. Refer to Part 7 of   Part 7 of EU Guidelines on Regulation 883/2004 on www.welfare.ie. For more information about comparative EEA payments, see the MISSOC database.

• A spouse/civil partner/cohabitant who is receiving a Working Family Payment (WFP) *while the customer is in receipt of a Jobseeker's Allowance, Jobseeker's Benefit, Pre-Retirement Allowance, or Farm Assist payment.

• A spouse/civil partner/cohabitant who is disqualified from receiving Jobseeker’s Benefit or Allowance because of involvement in a trade dispute.

• A spouse/civil partner/cohabitant in receipt of an allowance in respect of an approved course of training provided by or on behalf of Solas or an Education and Training Board.

• A spouse/civil partner/cohabitant in receipt of a Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) training allowance.

• A spouse/civil partner/cohabitant in receipt of an allowance in respect of:

  • a) Back To Education Allowance (BTEA) scheme
  • b) Back To Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) scheme
  • c) Part-Time Job Incentive Scheme, or
  • d) JobBridge (the national internship scheme).

Note:  A spouse/civil partner/cohabitant who is participating in the Community Employment (CE) scheme, TÚS, the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) or Gateway CAN be admitted as a qualified adult provided s/he meets the other conditions for qualification (i.e. is wholly or mainly maintained by the claimant, with a weekly income (from any source) under the under the prescribed limit, for example a spouse earning under €100 a week on the CE course).

*The payment formerly known as the Family Income Supplement (FIS) has been renamed the Working Family Payment (WFP), effective from 1 January 2018.


5. Disqualifications

The IQA is not normally payable in respect of a spouse or civil partner who is absent from the State or imprisoned. However, the increases for qualified adult and qualified children may be paid while the customer himself/herself is disqualified by reason of imprisonment.

Please see the ‘Absence from the State' and ‘Imprisonment’ guidelines for details of schemes in which the disqualification does not apply, and for schemes that have limited exceptions.*

*At time of writing (April 2018), the legislation re. disqualifications arising from imprisonment is under review. Please check for current situation if you have a case in this category.


6. Calculation of Qualified Adult’s weekly income for the purposes of an IQA on a contribution-based benefit

The weekly income of a qualified adult of a customer in receipt of a contribution-based benefit is calculated in the following manner:

6.1 Earnings as an employee :

The gross income figure is used, no deductions are allowed in respect of, for example, tax, PRSI, VHI, superannuation and the Universal Social Charge (USC) etc..

  • Where earnings are received at monthly intervals, the weekly average over the previous 2 months is taken.
  • Where payment is received weekly or fortnightly, the weekly average over the previous 6 weeks* is taken.

Note: *The Regulations allow a Deciding Officer to choose another period to calculate the average weekly income of a spouse/civil partner/cohabitant where this appears more appropriate. (For example, if the standard period was unrepresentative because of sickness or unusual overtime earnings, a longer period would be chosen. Or if the employment has just started, the current earnings are assessed).

6.2 Calculation of earnings in respect of a qualified adult who is on paid/unpaid leave from employment

Where the qualified adult avails of either paid or unpaid leave, the estimate of gross weekly income should reflect the level of income likely to be received by the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant in the coming year.

Where this information is not available, income for the coming year should be estimated by reference to income in the past 52 weeks to the end of the leave period.

Example:

While employed the qualified adult has a weekly income of €400.00. S/he takes Term Time Leave for 13 weeks from 1 June 2017. In order to ascertain the amount of earnings which s/he is likely to receive in the 52 weeks from the start of the leave, her weekly income should be multiplied by 39 (52 - 13) and divided by 52:

€400 x 39 = €15,600/52 = €300.00. IQA is payable at a tapered rate in this case as the gross income of the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant does not exceed €310.00.

This approach ensures that, irrespective of whether the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant opts to take paid or unpaid leave, e.g. Term-Time, Parental Leave, Special Unpaid Leave, leave from employment, unpaid Maternity Leave, there is no difference in the way the customer is treated for IQA purposes. It also ensures that a spouse/civil partner/cohabitant who decides to forego salary for the duration of the leave period, is not being treated more favourably for IQA purposes than a spouse/civil partner/cohabitant who opts to have his/her salary spread over 52 weeks.

6.3 Income from qualified adult’s self-employment (where customer in receipt of a contributory-based payment)

Weekly income from self-employment is estimated by reference to the income received in the last complete tax year i.e. annual income divided by 52.

In the main, income from self-employment should derive from an SW Inspector’s report. Every report should summarise the gross income less allowable, work-related expenses for the 12 month period prior to the investigation in order to arrive at the net income for that period. Drawings should be assessed if this figure is higher than the net profit reported. A report should outline the documentation examined to support the assertion as presented so that it is clear to a Deciding Officer how the final assessment has been arrived at.

Where an inspector forms the view that the level and volume of trade has remained consistent during the preceding year, it is reasonable to assess the same level of income for the succeeding year. This approach also holds true in cases where the level of trade, although not constant, is maintained at a steady pace over the year.

If the income and expenditure accounts for the previous 12 months demonstrate an incremental and sustained downturn over a period of time; the projected net income for the succeeding 12 months should take account of this and be reflective of the diminishing trade on a proportionate basis.

Please Note:
(1) The gross income figure is used - i.e. total receipts less work-related expenses.
(2) No deductions are allowed in respect of personal expenses such as tax, PRSI, or VHI etc.

6.4 Income from property (including savings)

The legislation does not contain a definition of “property” so the term is given its ordinary meaning – basically any asset the customer owns and could derive benefit from, including::

(1) Houses, other buildings, yards, farmland or other property which is invested or put to profitable use, or is capable of being invested or put to profitable use but is not.

(2) Savings, deposits in banks, building societies, Post Office, credit unions or other financial institutions, shares, bonds etc.

NOTE:
(1) Where property is held jointly (e.g. by a couple), half the value of the asset is taken as belonging to each.
(2) The amount of any mortgage or loan outstanding is allowed as a deduction in estimating the net weekly value of the property.
(3) Where an asset is not put to a ‘profitable use’, the current market value is determined and used as the basis for assessment.

Method of calculation

The method of calculating the weekly income from any form of property is as follows:

First €20,000

Nil

Next €10,000

€1 per €1,000

Next €10,000

€2 per €1,000

Excess €40,000

€4 per €1,000


Amounts less than €1,000
The assessment only applies to units of €1,000. Therefore all amounts should be rounded to the nearest unit of €1,000.

This assessment of income limits has applied to the following benefit schemes since 2005: Blind Pension, Carer’s Benefit, Disablement Pension, Health & Safety Benefit, Illness Benefit, Incapacity Supplement, Invalidity Pension; Jobseeker’s Benefit, Occupational Injury Benefit, and State Pension Contributory.

Saver clause for persons in receipt of pension payments at date of change:
A saver clause applies to the effect that where a person was in receipt of a pension payment at a date of change* and the previous assessment was more favourable to the person; his or her entitlement will not be reduced because of the change of formula. The saver clause ceases to apply when the capital increases.

*The method of calculation changed in October 2000 and January 2002 and details are in earlier versions of this Guideline. Contact the DAO for archived versions of these guidelines if needed.

6.5 Income from any other sources as a qualified adult

The provision for assessing income from any other sources (in Article 8.1(d) of the Regulations) is deliberately broadly defined. It is intended to encompass any form of income generated from ownership of assets other than those specified above. These include income from: rental properties or leases, occupational pensions, insurance policies including life assurance, a trust fund, a deed of covenant, foreign social welfare payments; maintenance payments from a former spouse/civil partner, and various other forms of periodic payment. This list is not exhaustive.

This form of income is also calculated on a weekly basis.


7. Disregards from calculation of qualified adult’s weekly income

When calculating the average weekly income of a qualified adult, the following payments are excluded:

  • (1) Disablement Benefit (under Section 75)
  • (2) Death Benefit in respect of an Orphan (under Section 83)
  • (3) Guardian's Payment (Contributory)
  • (4) Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)
  • (5) Half-rate Carer’s Allowance
  • (6) Domiciliary Care Allowance
  • (7) a payment from Tusla (Child and Family Agency) in respect of a child who is boarded out (Foster Care Allowance)
  • (8) And/or Child Benefit.

All other social welfare benefits disqualify.

Legislation in Article 8(2) of SI 142/2007 provides for some other payments from public sources also to be disregarded.

These include:
(1) any compensation awards related to -

  • Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal or related court of competent jurisdiction to compensate for State’s use of Human Immunoglobulin Anti-D blood products,
  • Residential Institutions Redress Board,
  • Disability caused by Thalidomide,
  • provisions of the Health (Repayment Scheme) Act 2006

(2) any ex gratia payments -

  • to women who were admitted to and worked in the Magdalen Laundries
  • under the Lourdes Hospital Redress Scheme 2007, or Lourdes Hospital Payments Scheme, or the Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme
  • awarded by the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board
  • awarded to Stardust Victims' Compensation Tribunal.

8. Rates of Payment

The current rates of Increase vary according to the Scheme under which the claim is made, Refer to relevant scheme guidelines in association with published Rates Booklet SW 19.

8.1 Tapered / reduced rate of increase

Tapered (reduced) rates are payable in certain schemes where the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant’s weekly income exceeds €100 per week but is less than €310 weekly.

A lower (tapered) rate of increase is payable in the case of:

  • Illness Benefit
  • Partial Capacity Benefit
  • Incapacity Supplement
  • Invalidity Pension (from 6th April 2000 only)
  • Jobseeker's Benefit
  • Occupational Injury Benefit
  • State Pension (Contributory) (from 7th April 2000 only).

The legislative provisions are in Articles 9-11 of SI 142/2007 and Sections 46A and B of the 2005 Act (for Partial Capacity Benefit only).

Details of the tapered Rates of Payment for past years from 1982 to 2016 are available on an archived list here. The archive is divided into Pre 2003 and Post 2003 periods.

Last modified:12/04/2018