Notification regarding Diet Supplement

Print page

From the 1st February 2014, the Diet Supplement scheme administered under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme will close to new applicants. However, the 6,000 people who were getting Diet Supplement before 1st February will be unaffected for as long as they continue to be entitled to the payment.

Diet Supplement is generally paid where the cost of a prescribed diet by a medical practitioner exceeds one third of the individual's social welfare rate of payment, with the Supplement covering the difference.

In 2013 the Department commissioned the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute (INDI) to provide an update on previous research carried out on the examination of the costs of healthy eating and specialised diets. Pricing for a selection of foods based on branded and own label foods was surveyed in a sample of retail outlets for each diet. Pricing was carried out across large stores, large low cost stores, medium sized stores and convenience stores.

The research showed that the average costs across all of the retail outlets of the diets supplemented under the scheme can be met from within one third of the current rate of social welfare payments.

Approximately 6,000 people are currently getting Diet Supplement and they will continue to get the payment while they continue to have an entitlement. However, if they close their claim on or after 1st February, they will not be able to re-apply for the Diet Supplement at a later date.

Staff in the Department's Community Welfare Service continue to have discretionary power to award a supplement under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme in cases of exceptional need.

Note for Editors

Additional information in relation to existing recipients

  • The four diets covered under the Diet Supplement scheme include the following: Low-lactose milk-free, gluten-free, high-protein high-calorie and altered consistencies (liquidised) diet.
  • Existing recipients of Diet Supplement will continue to receive the Supplement on or after 1 February 2014 for as long as they or a qualified adult or a qualified child continue to be medically assessed as requiring the prescribed diet.
  • Where a recipient of Diet Supplement continues to receive payment on or after 1 February 2014, payment will be discontinued if the recipient or the person for whom the diet has been prescribed moves into institutional care.
  • Any increase in the weekly means of a recipient of Diet Supplement on or after 1 February 2014, including an increase in the rate of a social welfare payment (other than that in respect of a qualified child payment), will reduce the weekly amount of Diet Supplement payable by the amount of the increase in weekly means.
  • Where the amount of an increase in weekly means exceeds the amount of the weekly rate of Diet Supplement, the Supplement will no longer be payable.
  • Diet Supplement currently payable in respect of a qualified child may continue until the child reaches 18 years, or 22 years if attending full time education.
Last modified:31/01/2014