To claim an Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA) you must be getting a
social welfare personal payment. Your adult dependant must not have a social
welfare payment in his or her own right except for:
residence condition does not apply to increases for qualified dependents
(spouses, civil partners, cohabitants or children). This means that dependents
do not have to satisfy the habitual residence condition in their own right.
An IQA is not normally payable on behalf of a spouse or civil partner who is
absent from the State or in prison. However Jobseeker's Benefit claimants can
claim an IQA for an adult dependent living in another EEA state if the
dependent adult meets the criteria.
For most social welfare payments your adult dependant
cannot have gross weekly earnings or income
(before tax and PRSI deductions) of more than €310. If your adult dependant
earns less than €100 you will get a full Increase for a Qualified Adult
(IQA). If your adult dependant earns between €100 and €310 you will get a
reduced rate of IQA (sometimes called a tapered rate of IQA). If your adult
dependant is earning more than €310 you will not get an IQA. You can find out
what the tapered rate of IQA for your payment is in the Department of Social
Protection's SW19 (Rates of
The rules are different for Jobseeker's
Allowance (JA), Pre-Retirement Allowance
Allowance (DA) and Farm Assist
(FA). For these payments your household income is assessed in the means
test. Your total household means are then deducted from the maximum payment
(this is the personal rate including any increases for adult and child
dependants) to find the actual amount of JA, DA, PRETA or FA you are entitled
If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant has a social welfare payment
(see exceptions above) in their own right or is on a FET or VTOS course and
getting an allowance in his or her own right, you cannot get an IQA on their
behalf but you can get a half-rate increase for each qualified child.
Separation, civil partners not living together, divorce or a dissolved
If you are separated but giving your spouse or civil partner a weekly
maintenance payment which is at least €124.80 per week (the same as the
current rate of IQA for Jobseeker's Allowance) you can get an IQA with your
personal social welfare payment. Your spouse or civil partner must not be
cohabiting with someone else. To get the full rate of IQA your spouse or civil
partner must not have weekly income above €100 excluding maintenance. If your
spouse or civil partner has income between €100 and €310 you may get a
reduced rate of IQA. There are no reduced rates of IQA for JA, PRETA, DA and FA
Adult dependants who are not your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant
If you are single, widowed, divorced, separated, a former civil partner or
not living with your civil partner, and living with a person aged 16 or over
who does not have weekly income above €100, you can claim an increase for
them if he or she is caring for a child dependant of yours.
If he or she has income between €100 and €310 you may get a reduced rate
of IQA. If you are separated or not living with your civil partner, you must
not be living with or be wholly maintained by your spouse or civil partner.
There are no reduced rates of IQA for JA, PRETA, DA and FA (see above).
Means test for social assistance payments
If you are getting a social
assistance (means-tested) payment, your adult dependant's income is
assessed in the means test for your payment. You can find out more in our
the means of a couple for social assistance payments.
Means test for social insurance payments
Social insurance payments are based on PRSI contributions and so your
payment is not means tested. However if you wish to claim for a dependent their
income will be assessed. An adult dependant's income is assessed for social
insurance payments as follows:
Employment and self-employment
Your spouse's, civil partner's or cohabitant's average weekly income from
employment or self-employment is assessed (the gross weekly income is assessed,
no deductions are allowed for tax, PRSI contributions or personal expenses). If
paid on a monthly basis, the weekly average income over the previous two months
is calculated. If he or she is paid weekly or fortnightly, the weekly average
over the previous six weeks is used.
For self-employment the income received in the last completed tax year is
divided by 52 to get the average weekly income.
Income from capital, for example, property, savings and investments, is
included in the mean test. If you and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant
hold capital jointly, half of the value is assessed as belonging to your
spouse, civil partner or cohabitant.
If property is owned jointly or only by your spouse, civil partner or
cohabitant the rental income from the property is assessed for payment of an
Increase for a Qualified Adult with your social insurance payment. However, the
capital value will be assessed if the property is not rented.
You can find out more about how capital is valued in the means test in our
and social welfare payments.
Income from other sources
Income from other sources includes rental income from the letting of
property, income from an occupational pension, foreign social welfare payments,
income from a trust fund, income under a deed of covenant, other cash income,
It is calculated on a weekly basis. Some social welfare payments are not
taken into account as income including Child Benefit, Domiciliary Care
Allowance and Supplementary Welfare Allowance. You can read more about income
not counted in the means test in our document, Cash
income not included in the means test.