Farm Assist Information and FAQ's

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The Department’s Farm Assist Campaign

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is running a campaign to raise awareness about the income supports that are available for farmers, fishermen and fisherwomen.

Farm Assist (FA) is a means-tested payment for farmers who meet the income criteria. A means-tested payment is also available for certain groups of self-employed fishermen and women who may have short periods of unemployment because of the unpredictable nature of their work. For more information on the Department’s means test please see questions 3 to 6 in the FAQ section below.


1. How does the Department define a ‘farmer’ for Farm Assist?

You are considered to be a farmer if you farm land that you own or lease and you work this land with the aim of taking produce from it.


2. How do I to apply for Farm Assist?

You can download an application form here or you can have a form posted out to you if you contact us at 071 919 3313.  Please send your completed application form to your local Intreo Centre or Social Protection Office. 


3. What happens after I send in my completed application form?

A Social Welfare Inspector will make contact with you. They will arrange a time to meet with you to go through the details of your income.  This information is needed to complete a means test.


4. What is a means test?

A means test is a way of checking if you have enough financial resources to support yourself and what amount of social assistance payment, if any, you may qualify for. In a means test the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection examines all your sources of income. Sometimes a certain amount of income or income from particular sources is not taken into account and these are often referred to as income disregards.


5. How are my means calculated?

The Department will look at your income from all sources. If you have a spouse or partner, their income will also be included.
Income, for the purposes of this means test, can come from farming, some (but not all) payments under REPS, AEOS, SACS and GLAS, employment outside of the farm, property other than your home, savings and investments.
Each source of income is treated differently during the means test. For example, only 70% of your farm income or self-employed income is assessed and, if you have children, we disregard earnings of €254 for each of your first two children and €381 for each additional child.  For more detailed information on how each type of income is assessed and what disregards apply to each one, please click here.


6. What information will I need to give the Department for the means test?

An Inspector will ask you to give documents such as: accounts prepared for tax purposes, creamery returns, cattle registration cards, details of headage payments and area aid. They will also want information on the sale of crops, cattle, milk and other produce. The Inspector will copy any documents they need for your file and will return all of the originals.


7. If I qualify for Farm Assist, how will I be paid?

You can opt to collect your payment from your local Post Office or it can be paid directly into your bank account.


8. Can I appeal the decision if I am not happy with it?

Yes, you can ask to have the decision reviewed at your local Intreo Centre or Social Protection Office and/or you can appeal the decision. You can appeal in writing to the Social Welfare Appeals Office within 21 days of the date of the decision.
The Appeals Office operates independently of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and is headed by a Chief Appeals Officer. It has its own Appeals Officers who are independent in their decision-making role.

The Chief Appeals Officer
Social Welfare Appeals Office
D’Olier House
D’Olier Street
Dublin 2
Tel: (01) 6732800

Last modified:30/04/2018

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