SWA - Means Assessment

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What Counts as Means

Income from Employment or Self-Employment

Property & Capital

Non-Assessable Means

Means Assessment

The following is a brief summary of how means are assessed for the listed SWA payments. The effective Guidelines used in the calculation of means are those issued to the Department’s representatives.

  • Basic SWA payments
  • Supplements e.g. Rent/Mortgage, Diet, special heating needs
  • Exceptional Needs Payments
  • Urgent Needs Payments
  • Back-to-School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

NOTE: A claim for an Urgent Needs Payment may be processed without means assessment where necessity exists (e.g. aftermath of fire, flood).


  • Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005, as amended
  • Part IV of the Third Schedule of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005 - Rules as to calculation of means.
  • Social Welfare (Consolidated Supplementary Welfare Allowance) Regulations 2007 to 2011.

What counts as means

  • Income from employment or self-employment.
  • The capital value of property, other than the claimant's own home.
  • The value of any investments or savings (capital).
  • All income and the value of all property of which the claimant deprived himself/herself in order to qualify for SWA.
  • Income in cash e.g. maintenance payments.
  • Benefit & Privilege for person's aged under 25

Income from Employment or Self-Employment

Subject to certain conditions, a claimant may work up to 30 hours per week in insurable employment and still qualify for SWA.

Gross income less PRSI and reasonable travel expenses is taken into account for the means test.

Other necessary expenses may be allowed in the case of self-employment.

Property & Capital

Section 35 of Social Welfare & Pensions Act 2007 provides for an amendment in the manner that capital is assessed for the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme. Property/Savings will be assessed on a weekly basis as follows:

  • Disregard first € 5,000 of capital value of property/savings
  • Assess next € 10,000 @ € 1 per € 1,000
  • Assess next € 25,000 @ € 2 per € 1,000
  • Assess remaining capital over € 40,000 @ € 4 per € 1,000.

Non-assessable means

In general the following items are not counted in the means test for SWA:

  • Child benefit, including equivalent payments from other EU countries
  • €120.00 of earnings from rehabilitative employment
  • Mobility Allowance
  • Payments received from Health Service Executive for foster children.
  • Payments received from the Health Service Executive for accommodating children under the Child Care Act.
  • Income from Gaeltacht students
  • Domiciliary Care Allowance
  • Grants or allowances arising in pursuance of a scheme promoting the welfare of blind people.
  • Money received from charitable organisations e.g. St. Vincent de Paul
  • Compensation awarded by the Compensation Tribunal in respect of Hepatitis C contracted from certain blood products, to those who have disabilities caused by Thalidomide, and to those receiving compensation under the Residential Institutions Redress Board.
  • Maintenance grants paid by Local Authorities for Higher Education.
  • Any income paid as a Respite Care Grant should be disregarded as means for the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme
  • Any income paid by way of Guardian's Payment (Contributory or Non-Contributory)
  • Fuel Allowance


Last modified:12/01/2012

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