To qualify for a One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) you must:
- Be under 66 (at 66 you become eligible for a State
- Be the parent, step-parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian of a
relevant child (this means a child under the relevant age limit - see
- Be the main carer of at least one relevant child. The child must live
with you. OFP is not payable if the parents have joint equal custody of a
child or children.
- Have earnings of €425 or less per week
- Satisfy a means test
- Be habitually
resident (certain people, in particular EU nationals who are considered
migrant workers, are exempt from the habitual residence condition)
- Not be living with a spouse, civil partner or cohabiting
If you are separated, divorced or
your civil partnership is dissolved you must:
- Have been living apart from your spouse or civil partner for at least 3
- Have made efforts to get maintenance from your spouse or civil partner
(if your civil partner is the parent of the child/ren)
- Be inadequately maintained by your spouse or civil partner (if your civil
partner is the parent of the child/ren)
If your spouse or civil partner is in prison:
- He/she must have been sentenced to at least 6 months in prison or have
spent at least 6 months in custody.
If you were not married to the parent of your
child/children you do not need to seek maintenance from the
other parent when you first claim OFP. However you must make efforts to seek
maintenance from the other parent to continue to be eligible for OFP.
You can read more about what making an effort to seek maintenance means for
parents and for unmarried
parents. See also 'Liability to maintain family' below.
Income from maintenance
All income from maintenance is assessed as means. This includes maintenance
for you and maintenance to you for any of your children. If you are getting
maintenance from more than one person all the payments are added together and
the total is assessed as means. However, only half of your income from
maintenance will be deducted from your OFP. If you have housing costs, your
rent or mortgage repayment up to a maximum of €95.23 per week can be offset
against maintenance payments. Half the balance is then assessed as means. You
must provide proof of rent or mortgage payments. You can get more information
maintenance is assessed as means.
Liability to maintain family
Men and women are required, under the law, to pay maintenance to a dependent
spouse, civil partner or former cohabitant and any dependent children who are
not living with them. These people are called 'liable relatives'. If you are a
liable relative and fail to pay enough maintenance to your ex-spouse, ex-civil
partner or former cohabitant and dependent child(ren), you must contribute to
the cost of the One-Parent Family Payment, which is paid to your family.
The Maintenance Recovery Unit of the Department of Social Protection will
contact the liable relative if they have not paid enough maintenance. You can
contact the Maintenance Recovery Unit on (071) 967 2599 for more information.
You can also find out more about ‘Liability
to Maintain Family’.
One-Parent Family Payment and EU Regulations
From 5 May 2005, EU
citizens, EEA citizens and Swiss nationals who are employed or
self-employed in Ireland and who are paying into the Irish
social insurance system do not have to meet the
habitual residence criteria to qualify for One-Parent Family
One-Parent Family Payment and Deserted Wife's Benefit
If you had to transfer from Deserted Wife’s Benefit to
One-Parent Family Payment to be accepted as a participant on a Community
Employment Scheme, you can now apply to have your entitlement to Deserted
Wife's Benefit restored. While Deserted Wife's Benefit is closed to new
applicants, it is still paid to those who had qualified for it before 2 January
The maximum weekly rate of payment for Deserted Wife’s Benefit is higher
than the maximum weekly rate of payment for One-Parent Family Payment. If you
qualify to have your entitlement to Deserted Wife’s Benefit restored you may
also be due arrears.
Age limit for a relevant child
To get a One-Parent Family Payment you must have at least
one relevant child below the relevant age limit. From
2 July 2015 the age limit will be 7 years of age.
Over the period 2012 to 2015 your entitlement to One Parent Family Payment
- When your initial claim for One-Parent Family Payment was made
- The age of your youngest child
||Age threshold reduces to:
|1. If your claim started before 27 April
2011 payment will continue until your youngest child
|2. If your claim started between 27 April
2011 and 2 May 2012 payment will continue until your youngest
|3. If your claim started on or after 3 May
2012 payment will continue until your youngest child reaches:
Mary started her claim before 27 April 2011. Her youngest child turns 11 in
September 2012. This means that Mary's payment will cease from 2 July 2015 when
the age limit drops to 7.
Magda started her claim after 3 May 2012. Her youngest child is 9 in
September 2012. She retained the payment until her youngest child’s 10th
birthday in September 2013. From this date she was no longer eligible for the
Exceptions to the age limits
The end date of a payment is based on the information available on the
current claim. If you had an earlier OFP claim prior to your current one the
limits that applied to your earlier claim may apply to you. You should contact
your local Intreo centre or social welfare local office without delay if you
were previously getting a One-Parent Family Payment for 52 continuous weeks and
you had terminated your claim for OFP because:
- You were taking part in the Back to Education Allowance scheme or a
Community Employment scheme or
- Your income from earnings was in excess of the amount allowed
Domiciliary Care Allowance
If you are getting Domiciliary
Care Allowance (DCA) for a child, you qualify for OFP on behalf of that
child if you meet the other conditions. This means that you can apply for or
continue to claim OFP until the child reaches 16 or DCA stops. You will also
get an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) for any other children in the
family until they reach 18 (or 22 if in full-time education) while DCA (and
OFP) is in payment.
Death of a spouse, partner or civil partner
If you are a new claimant and you are parenting alone because of the death
of your spouse, partner or civil partner you may get OFP for 2 years from the
date of death provided your youngest child is under 18. You cannot be paid OFP
after your youngest child reaches 18 even if that is less than 2 years after
the date of death.
What happens when my One Parent Family payment ends?
The Department of Social Protection (DSP) will inform you of the date of
termination of your payment and will outline options under other schemes and
supports which may be available to you. The document Transition from One-Parent Family Payment in
2015 also outlines your options. You may qualify for the Jobseeker's
Allowance transitional arrangement. This is a payment for people parenting
alone whose children are aged between 7 and 13 (inclusive).
In all cases you can get more information and advice about your options from
Intreo centre or social welfare local office or Citizens
One-Parent Family Payment and work
You can work and get One-Parent Family Payment. The amount of payment you
get depends on your weekly means.
- The first €90 of your gross weekly earnings is not taken into account
(or disregarded). This means that you can earn up to €90 per
week and qualify for the full One-Parent Family Payment.
- Half the remainder of your gross earnings up to €425 per week is
assessed as means. If you earn between €90 and €425 per week you may
qualify for a reduced payment. SW 19 Social
Welfare Rates of Payment booklet shows the amount of OPF payable with
Social insurance contributions, superannuation/PRSA
contributions and trade union subscriptions are not taken into
account in the assessment of earnings. However, your gross earnings must be
below €425 before any deductions are allowed.
You may qualify for Family Income Supplement (FIS), if you are working for
at least 19 hours a week (38 hours a fortnight). You can continue to claim
One-Parent Family Payment and your FIS payment is not counted as means. Find
out more about Family
If you want to become self-employed, you may qualify for the Back
to Work Enterprise Allowance. People on One-Parent Family Payment are also
eligible for JobBridge
- the National Internship Scheme.
From 16 January 2012 new participants on CE
schemes cannot get OFP at the same time. However if you take part in a CE
scheme and return immediately to OFP from the CE scheme your entitlement is
based on your original start date.
If your pay from work is reduced
You may be entitled to an increase in your One-Parent Family Payment if your
pay is reduced. To get an increase in your One-Parent Family Payment send a
current payslip (showing your reduced pay) with a letter from your employer,
confirming your new work situation, to the Intreo centre or social welfare
local office dealing with your claim.
If your pay is reduced and you are getting Family Income Supplement (FIS),
your FIS payment will stay the same. If the number of hours you work each week
is reduced to below 19 hours (38 hours per fortnight) you are no longer
entitled to FIS. You should notify the FIS section if the hours you work fall
below the minimum requirement.
You may be entitled to an increase in your Rent
Supplement. If you rent from a local authority or housing association you
should contact them to find out if you are entitled to a reduction in your
rent. If you are not getting a medical card or GP visit card you should find
out if you now qualify.
If you were receiving Maternity Benefit immediately before getting OFP you
will get credited contributions. You can read more about credited
contributions in the Operational Guidelines for OFP.
One Parent Family Payment and education or training
You will need to assess whether it is more beneficial for you to transfer
from the One-Parent Family Payment to the Back to
Education Allowance (BTEA) when you go back to education or to remain on
your current payment and apply for a student grant.
From 4 July 2013 if you returned to education and had opted to keep your
One-Parent Family Payment (instead of BTEA) you may be admitted to BTEA
‘mid-course’ if you no longer qualify for OFP because of recent changes in
the age limits. However you cannot get BTEA and a student grant
together. Read more in our document on social
welfare payments and student grants.
You could do a FET
(formerly FÁS) training course and keep your One-Parent Family Payment.
New applicants in 2014 no longer get a training allowance for these courses. If
you were on a training course before the end of 2013 you may continue to keep
the training allowance. However your OFP is reduced as your training
allowance is assessed against it as income.
How to apply
To apply fill in a One-Parent Family
application form (pdf). Send it with the relevant supporting documents to
the Department of Social Protection - see 'Where to apply' below.
If you are widowed or a surviving civil partner, you should apply within
3 months of your spouse's or civil partner's
If you are single, you should apply within 3
months of the birth of your child.
If you are separated, divorced or no longer in a civil partnership, you
should apply within 6 months of the date you separated from your
spouse or civil partner. You must be separated for 3 months before you can
If you are a prisoner's spouse or civil partner, you should apply when your
spouse or civil partner:
- Has been in custody for at least 6 months without being sentenced
- Starts their sentence, which must be for at least 6 months.
Staff in your local Intreo centre or social welfare local office will be
happy to help you complete the application form and answer any questions you
You can have your payment paid directly into your bank account or arrange to
use your Social Services Card at the post office to collect your money.
If you get a One-Parent Family Payment you can use the Household
Budget Scheme to help you manage your bills. You may also be eligible for
other benefits such as Fuel Allowance,
Supplement or a medical
If you think you have been wrongly refused a One-Parent Family Payment, or
you are unhappy about a decision of a social welfare Deciding Officer about
your entitlements, you can appeal this decision.