Guardian's Payment (Contributory)

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If you are taking care of an orphan you may get a guardian's payment. It is not necessary to be a legally appointed guardian. A guardian's payment may be paid to you if the orphan lives with you and you are responsible for his or her care. The payment must benefit the orphan.

If an orphan is attending a full-time education course, is aged between 18 and 22 years of age and is not living with or in the care of a guardian, the payment can be paid directly to the orphan.

The payment can be contributory (based on PRSI payments paid by the parent) or non-contributory (based on a means-test).

You can claim only one of the following:

  • Guardian's Payment (Contributory) previously called Orphan's (Contributory) Allowance
  • Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory) previously called Orphan's (Non-Contributory) Pension
  • Guardian's/Orphan's Pension awarded under the Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme.

You cannot get a guardian's payment and a Foster Care Allowance together.

Taxation of guardian's payments

Guardian's payments, which are payments made for the benefit of an orphan, are taxable. However a guardian's payment is regarded as the beneficial property of the orphan and is therefore assessable against their income (if any), not against the income of the person getting the guardian's payment.


A child is regarded as an orphan if:

  • They are under 18 (or 22 if in full-time education)


  • Both parents are dead, or
  • One parent is either dead or unknown or has abandoned and failed to provide for the child, and
  • The other parent is unknown or has abandoned and failed to provide for the child.

Guardian's Payment (Contributory)

If either parent or step-parent had worked at any time and paid PRSI for 26 weeks, the orphan is entitled to the Guardian's Payment (Contributory). This may be paid for an orphan living in the State or abroad and is not means tested. Payment is made to the orphan's guardian up to the child's 18th birthday or 22nd birthday if they are in full-time education.

Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)

This is a non-contributory payment for orphans who are not entitled to the contributory payment. The means test for this is based on the orphan's means. Payment is made to their guardian up to the orphan's 18th birthday or 22nd birthday if they are in full-time education.

Since 1 May 2004 you must be 'habitually resident' in Ireland to qualify for Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory). Find out more about habitual residence.

From 5 May 2005 EU citizens who are employed or self-employed in Ireland will satisfy the habitual residence criteria to qualify for Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory) under EU Regulations.

Guardian's/Orphan's Pension awarded under the Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme

Under the Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme, a slightly higher guardian's/orphan's pension may be payable if the parent, step-parent or person who was supporting the orphaned child or children:

  • Died as a result of an accident at work
  • Died as a result of an occupational disease
  • Was getting Disablement Pension assessed at 50% or more at the time of their death.

This Benefit is not means tested and there are no specific PRSI requirements (as long as at least one week of PRSI has been paid).


In 2015, the Guardian's Payment (Contributory) is paid at a standard rate of €161 per week and the maximum Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory) is €161 per week.

Whether or not you get the maximum Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory) will depend on the means test (this is carried out on the orphan's means - if any). If the orphan has means from work the first €7.60 is not assessed. If the orphan’s weekly means are more than €7.60 the Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory) is reduced by €2.50 for each €2.50 assessed (that is, for each €2.50 or part of €2.50 of means over the amount of €7.60). See SW19 for a table of how an orphan’s means affect a Guardian’s Payment (Non-Contributory).

The Guardian's/Orphan's Pension payable under the Occupation Injuries Benefit Scheme is €164.80 in 2015.

How to apply

Guardian's Payment (Contributory) and Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)

To apply, fill in Form GP1 (pdf). You can also get an application form at every Post Office.

Where to apply

Department of Social Protection

Social Welfare Services
College Road

Opening Hours:This office does not offer a service to personal callers. All queries must be made using the online enquiry form, by telephone or in writing.
Tel:(071) 915 7100
Locall:1890 500 000

You can email the guardian's payment section using the secure enquiry form. If you wish to talk to someone face-to-face about your entitlements, you can visit your local Citizens Information centre, social welfare local office or Intreo centre.

Last modified:16/11/2015

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