Part 1 Legislative Background
Part 2 Payment of an Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA)
- Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant
- Care of Children
- Wholly or mainly maintained - Income limit
- Reduced rate of Increase
Part 3 Persons not admitted as a Qualified Adult
Part 4 Disqualifications
Part 5 Non-EU Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant of an Irish citizen
Part 6 IQA in respect of non-EU cohabitant
- Where a cohabitant is an asylum seeker
- IQA Where an Asylum Application has been Rejected
- IQA for Non-EU cohabitant with a restricted visa
Part 7 Calculation of Weekly Income
- Earnings As An Employee
- Paid/Unpaid Leave
- Income from Self-Employment
- Income From Property (including Savings) and method of calculation
- Income From Other Sources as a Qualified Adult
Part 8 Rates of Payment
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, (S.I. 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:
- a spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant or
- a person over 16 years of age who is caring for a child dependant of the claimant.
* State Pension (Non-contributory) Scheme and Blind Person's pension in particular have different rules. See the appropriate guidelines dealing with these schemes.
2.1 Persons in respect of whom an IQA can be paid (who may receive IQA)
- Civil Partner
- Divorced Husband
- Divorced Wife
- Dissolved Civil Partner
- A person over 16 years of age who is caring for a qualified child of the claimant
Where a married couple have separated or are divorced or where a Civil Partnership has been dissolved the claimant's ex-spouse or ex-civil partner may be regarded as a qualified adult where s/he
- is not cohabiting with another person
- does not have a weekly income in excess of the specified limit, and
- is in receipt of weekly maintenance from the claimant at least equal to the current rate of Increase for a Qualified Adult for Jobseeker's Allowance purposes (for current rates, see Rates Booklet, SW19 available at www.welfare.ie.
2.2 Care of Children
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 claimant, i.e. regarded as a Qualified Adult where that person is:-
- a single person or
- a widow/widower/surviving civil partner, or
- a married person or civil partner who is not living with his her spouse/civil partner and is not being maintained by that person or
- is not maintaining that spouse
- does not have weekly income in excess of €100.
The child who is in the care of this person must be a qualified child of the claimant, i.e. a child in respect of whom Increase for a Qualified Child is payable to the claimant.
2.3 Wholly or mainly maintained - Income limit
A spouse/civil partner/cohabitant of the claimant is only regarded as being wholly or mainly maintained by the claimant where the weekly income of that person, calculated as shown in "Calculation of Weekly Income" below, does not exceed €100.00 per week.
2.4 Reduced rate of Increase
Where the weekly income of a spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is in excess of €100.00*, but less than or equal to €310*, a lower (tapered) rate of increase is payable in the case of:
- Disability Allowance
- Farm Assist, (from 6th April 1999 only)
- Illness Benefit
- Partial Capacity Benefit
- Incapacity Supplement
- Invalidity Pension (from 6th April 2000 only)
- Jobseeker's Allowance
- Jobseeker's Benefit
- Injury Benefit,
- Pre-Retirement Allowance
- State Pension (Contributory) (from 7th April 2000 only) and
- State Pension (Transition) (from 6th April 2000 only)
The main legislative provisions in respect of these tapered rate increases are set out in Articles 9-11 of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, 2007, (S.I. 142/2007) (as amended) and – for Partial Capacity Benefit – in Sections 46A and 46B of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended).
A family rate of payment applies to Jobseeker's Allowance, Pre Retirement Allowance and Farm Assist. The reduced rate of increase for a qualified adult (for JA, Preta and FA) only applies if the claim was in payment previous to 26 September 2007 and was a saved case.
* Note - This rate is effective from the following dates:
|Jobseeker's Allowance, PRETA & Farm Assist
26 December 2007
27 December 2007
4 January 2008
Health & Safety Benefit,
Occupational Injury Benefit
7 January 2008
3 January 2008
2 January 2008
State Pension (Transition)
3 January 2008
|State Pension Non-Contributory Scheme
4 January 2008
Previous income limits:
Prior to May 2006 and in some cases, still relevant, the income levels were:
- from November/December 1997 between €60.00 and €90.00
- from October 1999 between €60.00 and €105.00.
- from May 2000 between €70.00 and €135.00.
- from April 2001 between €70.00 and €145.00.
- from January 2002 between €88.88 and €196.81.
- from January 2003 between €88.88 and €203.16.
- from January 2004 between €88.88 and €210.00.
- from January 2005 between €88.88 and €220.00.
- from January 2006 between €88.88 and €240.00.
- from January 2007 between €100.00 and €280.00
- from January 2008 between €100.00 and €300.00
- from January 2009 between €100.00 and €310.00
3. Persons not admitted as a Qualified Adult
- A spouse/civil partner/cohabitant who is employed or self employed and who has a gross income exceeding the relevant limit.
Note: A reduced QA rate is paid where the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant’s weekly income is more than €100 but does not exceed €310. A family rate of payment applies to JA, Preta and Farm Assist. The reduced rate of increase for a qualified adult (for JA, Preta and FA) only applies if the claim was in payment previous to 26 September 2007 and was a saved case.
- 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 spouse/civil partner/cohabitant in receipt of Family Income Supplement (FIS), in respect of claims for Jobseeker's Allowance, Jobseeker's Benefit, Pre-Retirement Allowance, Farm Assist. (In the case of other claims, the income limit is calculated by reference to the spouse's earnings plus the FIS income.)
A spouse/civil partner/cohabitant in receipt of any Social Welfare payment in his/her own right except where:
- Back To Education Allowance (BTEA) Scheme
- Back To Work Allowance (BTWA) Scheme
- Back To Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) Scheme
- Part-Time Job Incentive Scheme, or
- JobBridge (the national internship scheme).
S/he is entitled to or in receipt of one of the following social welfare payments and to no other benefit or assistance (other than Supplementary Welfare Allowance or Child Benefit):
- Disablement Benefit
- Occupational Injuries Death Benefit in respect of an Orphan.
- Domiciliary Care Allowance.
- Guardian's Payment (Contributory)
- Guardian's Payment (Non-contributory)
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 and a qualified adult increase IS payable, provided the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant meets the other conditions to be treated as a qualified adult (e.g. they are wholly or mainly maintained by the person making the claim).
The Increase for a Qualified Adult is not normally payable in respect of a spouse or civil partner who is absent from the State or imprisoned.
Please see " Absence from the State" and " Imprisonment" Guidelines for details of schemes in which the disqualification does not apply, and of schemes that have limited exceptions.
Note however that the increases for qualified adult and qualified children may be paid while the claimant himself/herself is disqualified by reason of imprisonment.
5. 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. The qualified adult must have a right to reside in the state
6. IQA in respect of Non-EU Partner (Cohabitant)
6.1 Where a cohabitant is an asylum seeker:
IQA is payable provided that the normal conditions for payment of an IQA are satisfied.
The person being considered as a Qualified Adult does not need to have a right to reside in the State.
6.2 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
While undergoing the above procedures, the IQA remains payable provided the remaining conditions continue to be satisfied.
6.3 IQA for Non-EU 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, IQA may be paid.
Notification of the IQA award should be issued to the Department of Justice and Law Reform.
7. Calculation of Weekly Income
The weekly income of a Qualified Adult is calculated in the following manner:
7.1 Earnings As An Employee
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.
The gross income figure is used, no deductions are allowed in respect of, for example, tax, PRSI, superannuation and the Universal Social Charge (USC) etc.
USC and Income Tax are allowed as deductions from gross earnings in the assessment of benefit and privilege for JA and SWA.
*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.)
7.2 Calculations of earnings in respect of a spouse/civil partner/cohabitant who is on paid/unpaid leave from employment.
Where the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant avails of either paid or unpaid leave, in estimating the revised gross weekly income of the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant, regard should be had to 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 52 weeks to the end of the leave period.
While employed the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant has a weekly income of €400.00. S/he takes Term Time Leave for 13 weeks from 1st June 2014. 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. IQA is payable 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 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 forgo 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.
7.3 Income from Self-Employment
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 Inspector's report.
Reports should not simply conclude that income from self-employment is estimated to be a specified amount or has been stated by the customer to be a certain figure. Every report should summarise the gross income less expenses for the 12 month period prior to the investigation in order to arrive at the net income for that period. 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.
- The gross income figure is used - i.e. total receipts less work-related expenses.
- No deductions are allowed in respect of personal expenses such as tax, PRSI, or VHI etc.
Rule (1) (2) of part 2 of the Third Schedule of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended) states that account shall be taken of: ‘all income in cash and any non-cash benefits that may be prescribed which the person or his or her spouse may reasonably expect to receive during the succeeding year'. In accordance with this legislation, customers' means from self- employment are to be taken as being the net income they will earn from the business or enterprise, including farming, in the 12 months succeeding the investigation.
While the income from the previous 12 months1 is used as an indicator to estimate the likely future income, it is not simply assumed that the same level of income will be generated in the succeeding year. An individual's particular situation and the prevailing economic environment can change from one year to the next and account is taken of the potential for significant downward or upward variations in income.
1 When referring to the previous 12 months, this timeline covers the 12 month period directly preceding the investigation.
7.4 Income From Property (including Savings)
(1) savings, deposits in banks, building societies, Post Office, credit unions or other financial institutions, shares, bonds etc.
(2) 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. (unless there is a rental income). For property that is rented see paragraph 'Income From Other Sources as a Qualified Adult'.
(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 value of the property.
Method of calculation
The method of calculating the weekly income from property described above is as follows:
€1 per €1,000
€2 per €1,000
€4 per €1,000
The above assessment is effective from:
Carer's Benefit/Carer's Allowance
7 April 2005
JA/Disability All./ PRETA/Farm Assist
1 June 2005
State Pension (Transition)
2 June 2005
State Pension Contributory
State Pension Non-Contributory
Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partners Non-Contributory Pension (previously Widow's Non-Contributory Pension)
One-Parent Family Payment
3 June 2005
Health & Safety Benefit
Occupational Injury Benefit and
6 June 2005
NOTE: See below for details of previous assessments.
Amounts Less Than €1,000
The new assessment only applies to units of €1,000. Therefore all amounts should be rounded down to the nearest unit of €1,000.
A saver clause applies to the effect that where a person was in receipt of a pension or assistance payment at the 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.
Previous method of Assessment
From January 2002, the following method of calculation was used:
€1.27 per €1,269.74
€2.54 per €1,269.74
€5.08 per €1,269.74
From October 2000, the following method of calculation was used:
- The first €10,000 of the capital is disregarded.
- Amounts exceeding €10,000 up to €20,000 (inclusive), the value is assessed at €1 per week for every €1,000.
- Amounts exceeding €20,000 up to €30,000 (inclusive), the value is assessed at €2 per week for every €1,000.
- Amounts exceeding €30,000, the value is assessed at €4 per week for every €1,000.
Amounts Less Than £1,000
As this assessment only applies to units of £1,000, all amounts should be rounded down to the nearest thousand pounds.
Prior to October 2000, the following method of calculation was used:
- the first £2,000 of the capital value was disregarded
- the yearly value of the next £20,000 was assessed at 7.5%
- the balance over £22,000 was assessed at 15%.
7.5 Income From Other Sources as a Qualified Adult
This includes rents from the letting of property (e.g. long-term letting of a house or apartment, holiday home, other buildings, yards or farmland), income from an occupational pension, foreign social welfare payments, income from a trust fund, income under a deed of covenant etc.
The income from these sources is calculated on a weekly basis. In relation to property not rented, the current market value is taken into account.
NOTE: When calculating the average income of a spouse/civil partner/cohabitant, the following Social Protection and Health Board payments are disregarded:
- Occupational Injusries Benefit - Disablement Benefit
- Occupational Injuries Benefit - Death Benefit in respect of an Orphan.
- Guardian's Payment (Contributory)
- Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)
- Carer's Allowance - Payment of Carer's Allowance in certain circumstances
- Child Benefit
- Domiciliary Care Allowance.
- a payment from the Health Service Executive in respect of a child who is boarded out.
(Other Social Welfare Benefits disqualify.)
8. Rates of Payment
The current rates of Increase vary according to the Scheme under which the claim is made, and are published in the Rates Booklet SW 19.
Reduced rates are payable in certain schemes where the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant's income exceeds €100.00 weekly but does not exceed €310.00 weekly. See "Reduced rate of Increase" above for more detail.