N�l an leathanach seo ar f�il as Gaeilge f�s


Print page

Section 5 - Widows, Widowers and One-Parent Families

This section gives details of payments available to support families.

It outlines:

  • Widow�s or Widower�s Contributory Pension
  • Widow�s or Widower�s Non-Contributory Pension
  • Widowed Parent Grant
  • One-Parent Family Payment

Your duty to support your family is also covered.Contents

5.1 Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension

5.2 Widow's or Widower's Non-Contributory Pension

5.3 Widowed Parent Grant

5.4 One-Parent Family Payment

5.5 Your duty to support your family

Return to Main Table of Contents


5.1 Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension

Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension is a payment for widows and widowers. It is not means-tested and so is not affected by other income you might have such as earnings, an occupational pension or a pension from your late spouse's employment. If you are getting a Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension you do not have to pay the 2% Health Contribution.

Note:
If you are widowed and you do not qualify for a Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension, you should apply for a One-Parent Family Payment if you have dependent children, or a Widow's or Widower's Non-Contributory Pension if you do not have dependent children.


A separate pension is available if your spouse died from an accident at work or an occupational disease (see Section 7.11 for details).

How do I qualify?

You may qualify if:

  • you are the legal Widow or Widower,
  • you are divorced from your late spouse and have not remarried,
  • you are not cohabiting (living with someone as husband and wife),

    and
  • you satisfy the PRSI contribution conditions,

    or
  • your late spouse got either a standard State Pension (Transition) or a standard State Pension (Contributory) that included an increase for you as a qualified adult or would have included such an increase except that you were getting a State Pension (Non-Contributory), Blind Pension or a Carer's Allowance in your own right.

Note:
If you were widowed before but remarried and either do not qualify for a pension on the death of your second spouse or qualify for a pension at a lower rate than you received before you remarried, you may requalify for a pension at the rate you received before you remarried.



PRSI
contribution conditions

A Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension may be based on either your own or your late spouse's PRSI record. You cannot combine the two records to qualify.

Whichever record you use must have:

  • 156 weeks paid PRSI contributions
    and
  • a yearly average of 39 paid or credited PRSI contributions over the 3 or 5 tax years (whichever helps you achieve the yearly average) immediately before reaching 66 or immediately before your spouse died, if earlier.
    or
  • for a minimum pension, a yearly average of 24 paid or credited PRSI contributions since starting work or for a maximum pension, a yearly average of 48 paid or credited PRSI contributions.

Note:
The social insurance record is based on PRSI contributions paid or credited to the date of reaching 66 (the current pension age) or the date your spouse died, if earlier.

PRSI contribution Classes A, B, C, D, E, H and S count.

You may also use social insurance contributions paid and credited under the Widows' and Orphans' Pension Acts 1935 to 1952.

Social insurance or residence outside Ireland

If you or your late spouse worked in a country covered by EC Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement, you may combine your or your late spouse's social insurance record in that country with the Irish insurance record to help you qualify for a reduced Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension (see Section 3).

Special partial pension

If you or your spouse paid PRSI contributions early in your career(s) and then came back into social insurance on or from 1 April 1974 and the yearly average number of contributions is too low to qualify you for a standard pension, you may qualify for a partial Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension based on a reduced yearly average. However, to qualify this average must be at least 5 PRSI contributions a year.

How Much Can I Get?

Your payment is made up of a personal rate for yourself and extra amounts for your qualified children. You may get extra weekly allowances if you are:

  • aged 66 or over,
  • aged 66 or over and living alone,
  • aged 66 or over and living on an offshore island, or
  • aged 80 or over.

The rates of Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension are shown in the Rates of Payment booklet SW 19.

Your pension is not affected by any other income, whether from employment or another source, but it is liable for income tax. You should contact your local tax office for details.

Can I get another social welfare payment while receiving a Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension?

You can only receive one social welfare payment at a time except in the following circumstances.

In addition to your Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension you may get for a limited period, half the personal rate of:

  • Jobseeker's Benefit,
  • Illness Benefit,
  • Health and Safety Benefit,
  • Occupational Injury Benefit,
  • Maternity Benefit,
  • Adoptive Benefit,
  • or Carer's Benefit 

If you are getting an Invalidity Pension and you satisfy the conditions for a Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension, you may receive, instead of Invalidity Pension, half the personal rate of Illness Benefit to which you are entitled, for a limited period. This is paid in addition to the Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension.

If you are the guardian of an orphan, you may get Guardian's Payment (Contributory) or Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory). These payments were formerly called Orphan's Contributory Allowance and Orphan's Non-Contributory Payment.

Note:
Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension is not paid in addition to State Pension (Transition) or State Pension (Contributory).

How do I get my payment?

You can get Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension by:

  • direct payment into an account in a financial institution,
    or
  • using a Social Services Card at a chosen post office,
How long does payment last?

Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension is paid as long as you remain widowed. The pension stops however, if you re-marry or live with someone as husband and wife.

Going abroad

You can receive Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension while abroad. If you intend going abroad to live, you should continue to cash your pension until the Friday before you leave. Then send details to:

Social Welfare Services
Department Of Social And Family Affairs
College Road
Sligo

of your new address and details of the financial institution account abroad where payment is to be made.

If you are already being paid by direct payment you should notify the Social Welfare Services Office at least 4 weeks before going abroad.

Extra benefits

If you are getting a Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension you may also qualify for:

  • Widowed Parent Grant (see Section 5.3),
  • Fuel Allowance (see Section 10.4),
  • Living Alone Increase (see Section 10.8),
  • Increase for living on an Island - which you get automatically if you are aged 66 or over and live on one of a number of off-shore islands (see Section 10.9 for details),
  • assistance under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme (see Section 11), and
  • a medical Card from your local office of the Health Service Executive.

You may also receive a Bereavement Grant ( see Section 10.2), and may qualify for Treatment Benefit ( see Section 10.1).

If you are aged 66 or over and living in the State you can get free travel. You may also qualify for the Household Benefits Package.

See Section 10 for details of these extra benefits, including concessions for widows and widowers aged 60 to 65.

When and how do I apply?

You should apply within 3 months of your spouse's death. Application forms are available from your local Social Welfare Office, Post Office, Citizens Information Centre or use the SMS (Text) Messaging Service. Application forms may also be downloaded from our website at forms or from:

Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension Section
Social Welfare Services
College Road
Sligo

Telephone LoCall: 1890 50 00 00 - from the Republic of Ireland
or
+353 71 913 5200 - from Northern Ireland or overseas

For further details see information booklet SW 25 or contact Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension Section at the address above.

5.2 Widow's or Widower's Non-Contributory Pension

If you are widowed and do not qualify for a Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension based on either your own or your late spouse's insurance record, you may qualify for a Widow's or Widower's Non-Contributory Pension. This is a means-tested payment and we consider any income and capital (i.e. savings, investments, cash-in-hand and the value of property you own except your own home) you have when working out your means.

If you have qualified children, you may qualify for a One-Parent Family Payment (see Section 5.4).

How do I Qualify

You may qualify if you:

  • are under 66 years of age*,
  • have a valid Personal Public Service (PPS) Number
  • satisfy a means test,
  • are habitually resident in the State (see information booklet SW 108),
    and
  • are widowed,
  • are divorced from your late spouse and have not remarried,
  • are not cohabiting (living with someone as husband and wife).

* If you are aged 66 or over, you may be entitled to State Pension (Contributory or Non-Contributory) - See Section 4 for more details.

Widow's or Widower's Non-Contributory Pension is not payable while you are absent from the State.

Means test

What counts as means?

Your means are any income, savings or property you have (except your family home) or an asset that could provide you with an income.

The main items are:

  • cash income (including occupational pensions or pensions from another country),
  • the value of any property you have, (except your own home), and
  • the value of any investments and savings.

What does not count as means?

Some of the items that do not count as means include.

  • the first �100 a week of earnings from employment, but not self emoloyment
  • your own home,
  • the first �20,000 of savings,
  • any payment from this Department,
  • a certain amount of income from employment by the Health Service Executive as a home help,
  • Foster Child Allowance,
  • income from a charity,
  • rental income from a person who lives with you, if otherwise you would live alone,
  • income from providing accommodation to students studying Irish in Gaeltacht areas under a scheme run by the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

How do you assess my savings and investments?

The actual income from investments and money in a savings account is not taken as your weekly means. Instead we add together the investment items (listed below) when calculating your weekly means:

  • cash value of investments and property (except your home),
  • money in a savings account, and
  • cash-in-hand.

We use the following calculation to work out your weekly means from capital.

Capital

Weekly means assessed

First �20,000

�20,000 - �30,000

�30,000 - �40,000

Over �40,000

Nil

�1.00 per �1,000

�2.00 per �1,000

�4.00 per �1,000

See information booklet SW 60 for more details on the effect of savings on a Widow's or Widower's Non-Contributory Pension.

How much can you get?

Your payment depends on your means. The rates of Widow's and Widower's Non-Contributory Pension are shown in the Rates of Payment booklet SW 19.

If your means increase, you must tell the Department. Otherwise an overpayment of pension may arise which you will have to repay.

How do I get my payment?

Widow's or Widower's Non-Contributory Pension is paid by:

  • direct payment into an account in a financial institution, or
  • using a Social Services Card at a chosen post office,
How Long Does my Payment Last?

You may get Widow's or Widower's Non-Contributory Pension as long as you satisfy the qualifying conditions. It stops, however, if you remarry or live with someone as husband and wife. Widow's or Widower's Non-Contributory Pension stops at age 66. You should apply for a State Pension (Non-Contributory) three months before you reach that age (See Section 4 for more details).

Additional Increases

In addition to your Widow's or Widower's Non-Contributory Pension, you may get half the personal rate of:

  • Jobseeker's Benefit,
  • Illness Benefit,
  • Health and Safety Benefit,
  • Occupational Injuries Benefit,
  • Maternity Benefit, or
  • Adoptive Benefit.

If you are getting an Invalidity Pension and you satisfy the conditions for a Widow's or Widower's Non-Contributory Pension, you may receive, instead of Invalidity Pension, half the personal rate of Illness Benefit to which you are entitled, for a limited period. This is paid in addition to the Widow's or Widower's Non-Contributory Pension.

If you are the guardian of an orphan, you may get Guardian's Payment (Contributory) or Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory) for them. In this case, you may qualify for the personal rate of One-Parent Family Payment instead of Widow's or Widower's Non-Contributory Pension.

Extra benefits

If you are getting a Widow's or Widower's Non-Contributory Pension you may also qualify for:

  • Fuel Allowance (see Section 10.4),
  • assistance under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme (see Section 11), and
  • a medical card from the Health Service Executive.

See Section 10 for details of these extra benefits including concessions for widows and widowers aged 60 to 65.

You may also receive a Bereavement Grant on your own or your late spouse's PRSI record (see Section 10.2), and may qualify for Treatment Benefit (see Section 10.1).

When and how do I apply?

You should apply within 3 months of your spouse's death. Application forms are available from your local Social Welfare Office, Post Office, Citizens Information Centre or use the SMS (Text) Messaging Service. Application forms may also be downloaded from our website at forms or from:

Widow's and Widower's Non-Contributory Pension Section

Social Welfare Services
College Road
Sligo

Telephone:

LoCall: 1890 50 00 00 - from the Republic of Ireland
or
Telephone:+353 71 913 5200 - from Northern Ireland or overseas

For further details, see information booklet SW 26 or contact Widow's or Widower's Non-Contributory Pension Section at the address above.

5.3 Widowed Parent Grant

The Widowed Parent Grant is a payment following the death of a spouse to help with the income support needs of widows and widower's with qualified children.

The payment applies to those who were widowed on or after 1st December 1999 with at least one qualified child.

Note:
You may get the Widowed Parent Grant as well as the Bereavement Grant (see
Section 10.2 for more information on Bereavement Grant).

How do I qualify

You may qualify if you:

  • have at least one qualified child who normally lives with you, and
  • qualify for or already receive,

    - Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension,

    - Death Benefit (Widow's or Widower's Pension under the Occupational Injuries Scheme),

    - Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension from a country covered by EC Regulations,

    - Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension from a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement (see Section 3),

    - One-Parent Family Payment - Widowed,

    - State Pension (Non-Contributory) - Widowed - See Section 4 for more details, or

    - Bereavement Grant.
Who is a Qualified Child

A qualified child is:

  • a child up to the age of 18 and living with you, or
  • a child between age 18 and 22 who is in full time education and is dependent upon you.
When and how do I apply?

If you have applied for Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension, you do not need to apply separately for the Widowed Parent Grant.

If you are not applying for the Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension, you should complete form WPG 1 and return it with any necessary documents to:

Social Welfare Services
Department of Social and Family Affairs
College Road
Sligo

How do I get my payment?

You get your Widowed Parent Grant by cheque.

You can get form WPG 1 at your local post office or online at www.welfare.ie.

5.4 One-Parent Family Payment

One-Parent Family Payment is a payment for men and women who are bringing up a child without the support of a partner.

If you are unmarried, widowed, a prisoner's spouse, separated, divorced or your marriage has been annulled and you are no longer living with your spouse, you may apply for this payment.

If you are widowed, you may qualify for a Widow's or Widower's Contributory Pension based on your own or your late spouse's PRSI contributions. If you feel you are entitled to this payment, complete application form WCP 1.

How do I qualify

you may qualify if you:

  • are under 66 years of age*,
  • are the main carer of at least one child and that child is living with you,
  • are not cohabiting (living with someone as husband and wife),
  • have earnings of �425.00 or less a week,
  • satisfy a means test, and
  • live in the State.

* if you are over 66 years of age, you may be entitled to State Pension (Contributory or Non-Contributory) - See Section 4 for more details.

If you are separated or divorced, you must have:

  • been separated for at least 3 months, and
  • tried to get maintenance from your spouse or former spouse.

If you are unmarried, you must:

  • be the parent of a qualified child, and seek maintenance from the other parent of your child.

If your spouse is in prison they must have:

  • been sentenced to prison for a term of at least 6 months, or
  • been in custody for at least 6 months without being sentenced.
Means Test

Your means are any income you have or property (except your own home) or an asset that could provide you with an income.

What counts as means?

The main items that count are:

  • income from employment (including that received while participating on Community Employment Schemes) or self employment,
  • maintenance payments, including maintenance paid to or for a qualified child,
  • the value of any property you have other than your own home,
  • the value of any investments or savings you may have, and
  • cash income.

What does not count as means?

The following are some of the items not counted as means:

  • your own home,
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance or Rent Supplement,
  • Family Income Supplement,
  • Child Benefit,
  • Illness Benefit, and
  • Jobseeker's Benefit.

How do you assess earnings?

If you are working, we assess your income from employment (including that received while participating on a Community Employment Scheme) or self employment as follows:

  • we ignore the first �146.50 of weekly earnings, known as weekly disregard,
  • we also disregard superannuation contributions, social insurance contributions, health contributions, trade union subscriptions and additional voluntary contributions (AVC�s) made in respect of personal retirement savings accounts (PRSA�s) which are deducted from wages/salary,
  • we assess half the remainder of your earnings up to �425.00 a week as means.

If you are a new applicant with earnings of more than �425.00 a week, you will not qualify for One-Parent Family Payment.

If you get One-Parent Family Payment for 52 weeks in a row and your earnings then go up to more than �425.00 a week, you may get half of your One-Parent Family Payment for a maximum of 26 weeks, starting immediately after your earnings exceed �425.00 a week, as long as you satisfy all the other qualifying conditions. At the end of this 26 week period, your payment will end.

How do you assess maintenance payments?

We assess personal and child maintenance payments as means. We will add up maintenance from more than one person and assess the total amount.

You can pay rent or a mortgage of up to �95.23 a week, without it affecting maintenance payments. However, we assess half the balance of any maintenance payments.

You must give evidence of housing costs, such as a rent receipt or book from your landlord or a statement of your mortgage repayments.

How do you assess savings and investments?

When we work out your means from savings and investments, we add up the following items and use a formula (see below) to work out your means:

  • cash value of investments and property (excluding your family home),
  • money in accounts in a financial institution, and
  • cash-in-hand

Capital

Weekly means assessed

First �20,000

�20,000 - �30,000

�30,000 - �40,000

Over �40,000

Nil

�1 per �1,000

�2 per �1,000

�4 per �1,000

How much can I get?

Your payment is made up of a personal rate and extra amounts for your qualified child(ren). The amount you receive depends on your weekly means. Rates of One-Parent Family Payment are shown in the Rates of Payment booklet SW 19.

How do I get my payment?

You can get One-Parent Family Payment weekly by:

  • using a Social Services Card at a chosen post office, or
  • by Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) directly into your account in a financial institution,
Household Budget Scheme

The Household Budget Scheme is available to One-Parent Family Payment recipients who are being paid by EIT (see Section Section 1.4)

How long does payment last?

You may get One-Parent Family Payment for as long as you satisfy the qualifying conditions.

Your payment stops if:

  • you marry or live with someone as husband and wife,
  • you no longer have qualifed children, or
  • If you are getting One-Parent Family Payment for less than 52 consecutive weeks and earnings exceed �425.00 a week.
Extra benefits

If you are getting One-Parent Family Payment, you may be entitled to:

  • Fuel Allowance (see Section 10.4)
  • Family Income Supplement (FIS) (see Section 9.1)
  • Increase for living on an Island, which you get automatically if you live on one of a number of off-shore islands (see Section 10.9 for details)
  • assistance under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme (for example, Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement) (see Section 11), and
  • a Medical Card from your local office of the Health Service Executive.
  • if you are caring for another person, you may be entitled to receive a half rate Carer�s Allowance in addition to your One-Parent Family Payment (See Section 7.6 for details).
Additional social welfare payments

You may qualify for half of the personal rate of Jobseeker's, Illness, Maternity, Adoptive, Health and Safety, or Occupational Injury Benefit for a limited period in addition to your One-Parent Family Payment.

Work and Training options

As a lone parent you can take up a range of employment supports and educational and training options operated by the Department of Social and Family Affairs and other agencies (see Section 9 for details).

When and how do I apply?

To apply for One-Parent Family Payment, complete application form ( OFP 1) and send it with the relevant certificates and documents to your Local Social Welfare Office.

If you are widowed, you should apply to:

Social Welfare Services Office
Department of Social and Family Affairs
College Road
Sligo

Telephone: LoCall: 1890 50 00 00 - from the Republic of Ireland

  • If you are widowed, you should apply within 3 months of your spouse's death.
  • If you are unmarried, you should apply within 3 months of the birth of your child.
  • If you are separated or divorced, you should claim within 6 months of the date you separated from your spouse. However, you must be separated 3 months before you apply.
  • If you are a prisoner's spouse, you may apply when your spouse:
    - has been in custody for at least 6 months without being sentenced, or
    - starts their sentence, which must be for at least 6 months.

Note:
If you fail to apply within 3 months of becoming eligible, you may lose payments.

For further details, see information booklet SW 82 or contact your local Social Welfare Office.

Note:
If you are getting Deserted Wife's Benefit, Deserted Wife's Allowance or Prisoner's Wife's Allowance, you will continue to get that payment for the duration of your claim.

If you are in employment you do not have to pay the 2% Health Contribution, regardless of your earnings, for as long as you are getting One-Parent Family Payment. You should give proof of your payment to your employer.

What happens to Maintenance Orders?

If you are getting Deserted Wife's Benefit or Allowance or One-Parent Family Payment you must transfer any maintenance payments under a Court Order to the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, including maintenance paid to children.

The risk of maintenance default is carried by the Department rather than the lone parent. There is no loss of payment if the liable parent fails to pay the Department.

Requests for contributions

All requests made by the Maintenance Recovery Unit are carried out under Section 346(1) of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005. If you fail to make these contributions, we may take legal action against you.

For more information contact:

Maintenance Recovery Section
Social Welfare Services Office
Shannon Lodge
Carrick on Shannon
Co. Leitrim

Telephone: 071 9672599

5.5 Your duty to support your family

As a liable relative you are required under law to maintain your dependent spouse and child(ren). If you fail to do this you must contribute to the cost of any One-Parent Family Payment (OFP), Deserted Wife's Allowance or Benefit or Supplementary Welfare Allowance that we pay to your family as a result.

How does the system operate?

The Department's Maintenance Recovery Section:

  • decides whether a spouse or parent must make a contribution,
  • determines the amount to be contributed,
  • makes arrangements for the contributions to be paid, and
  • takes action, if necessary, to ensure the contributions are paid regularly.
How much would a person have to contribute?

We first assess the person's financial situation and whether they have other dependants. The assessment is based on the net income with the following allowances granted:

  • Personal Allowance, determined by the rate of OFP in payment at the time,
  • Accommodation Allowance, determined by regular outgoings for mortgage or house rent purposes,
  • Qualified Child Increase, and
  • Maintenance Allowance, determined by existing maintenance arrangements either as a result of a Court Order or an informal arrangement between the 'liable relative' and the person receiving the OFP payment.

When the assessment is finished, the section decides (through a 'Determination Order') whether the person concerned can contribute towards the OFP payment and the amount payable. We can review decisions where there is new information about, or changes to the financial or household circumstances of a liable relative.

How do you collect contributions?

We seek weekly payment wherever possible from the liable relative(s). It can be made by:

  • standing order to the Department's bank account, or
  • weekly payments to:

    The Cashier
    Accounts Branch
    Department of Social and Family Affairs
    Government Buildings
    St. Alphonsus' Road
    Dundalk
    Co Louth
  • directly paying the person receiving OFP (by cash, cheque or lodgement into their account in a financial institution) and notifying the Maintenance Recovery Section immediately. This arrangement could lead to a reduction of OFP
Last modified:04/06/2009
 

 Foirmeacha Iarratais

 
 

 Íoslódáilí