Former Family Income Supplement
Family income supplement is payable weekly to families, including single-parent families who are at work but whose earnings are at levels below the threshold. It does not count as income for income tax or medical card assessment.
Family income support is designed to supplement employees whose income is below certain levels relative to their needs. In particular, it takes account of the number of dependents and children.
Family income supplement requires that a person is part of a family and is engaged in full-time paid employment. Fulltime paid employment must be such as is expected to continue at least three months. It must have work hours of not less than 38 hours every 14 days. He must live with or otherwise wholly maintain his spouse, child or children.
Spouses include same sex spouses, civil partners and cohabitants. Spouse includes a divorced spouse who is maintained. A person may be a member of one family only for the purpose of qualification. A child includes a child who resides with the family.
The amount of family income supplement payable is based on the difference between the weekly family income and a scale. The scale varies with family size. Family income supplement is generally three fifth of the amount by which the family income payment is less than the amounts set out in the relevant table. A minimum rate of [€20 per week] applies.
A person’s weekly family income is assessed as the net income available to the family. It is accordingly net of tax, social insurance and universal social charge. Generally, it is the employment income of the earning individual. It may include self employed or other income. It is averaged over the preceding 12 months before the date of claim.
Income is averaged out over a period of at least a month, a period of a month to two months prior to the claim. In the case of income other than self-employment or employment, it is tested in the normal weekly amounts. The claimant or deciding officer may consider other periods where this is appropriate in the circumstances.
Qualification depends on
- working at least 19 hours per week / 38 hours per fortnight in full time employment which has an expected duration of three months.
- At least one qualified child under 18 or 18 to 22 years in full time education who normally lives with the applicant and is supported by him or her or as part of the family supported by them.
- weekly earnings below a fixed amount; the amount depends on the family size.
In the case of persons who are married, cohabiting, or in civil partnerships, hours are combined with those of the cohabitant/spouse/civil partner.
The employment must be insurable under PRSI. Non-insurable employment or trading / self-employment is not sufficient.
Income includes assessable earnings. This is gross earnings less
- pension contributions,
- social insurance charges,
- taxation and public service pension levy.
Spouse, civil partners and cohabitants earnings are assessable as above.
Also included are
- extra income from employment.
- income for the applicant or co-partner, civil partner or cohabitant from self-employment,
- pension income,
- maintenance income,
- rental income,
- income from any other primary social welfare payment.
- income of the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant from any source.
The only exclusions are as follows:
- child benefit,
- guardian’s payments,
- supplementary welfare/ rent allowance,
- foster child allowance,
- unearned income on certain savings,
- income from a charity,
- income from providing accommodation to students studying Irish in the Gaeltacht.
Family income supplement is paid at 60 percent of the difference between actual income and the income limit growth of the family size. There is a minimum payment of €20 a week.
The income limits for family size are set by law and are available on the Department of Social Protection website. Payment is made by direct debit or alternative arrangements agreed with the Department. The payment is made for 52 weeks, provided the person works at least 19 hours a week or 38 hours a fortnight. The entitlement is reviewed annually.
Persons receiving family income supplement may also receive some other payments.
Lone parents may qualify for family income supplement in addition to one parent family payments. It may also be received with deserted wives benefit widows, widowers, or surviving civil partners contributory pension. It may be received with illness benefit for up to six weeks.
Persons in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, the State pension, transitional Pre-Retirement Allowance ore persons included as qualified adults on such a claim for their civil partner, cohabitant or spouse are not eligible. Persons taking part in community employment schemes, rural social schemes, Tus, job bridge or FAS schemes are not qualified. This does not apply to the job initiative and social economy program.
If a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is in receipt of the above payments (Jobseeker’s Allowance or Benefit, the Pre-Retirement Allowance or transitional State pension) the other party who is not counted as a qualified adult in respect of such payment may qualify for family income supplement. However, the social welfare receipts will be assessed as income.
Application is made for the payment to the family income supplement section of the Department of Social Protection.
The 2014 Act clarifies the position in relation to entitlement to family income supplement (FIS) in cases where the claimant is living apart from his or her spouse or civil partner and children. In these circumstances, in order for the children to be regarded as forming part of the family for FIS purposes, the worker must be maintaining his or her spouse or civil partner and contributing substantially towards the maintenance of the children.
In general, once FIS has been awarded, it continues to be paid for 52 weeks, regardless of any change of circumstances during that period. The 2014 Act clarifies the impact that a change of circumstances will have in relation to— (a) continued entitlement to payment of FIS during the 52 week entitlement period, and (b) the weekly rate of FIS payable during that 52 week period.
Where the worker is no longer engaged in remunerative full-time employment or where that person qualifies for certain weekly social welfare payments, such as jobseeker’s payments and illness benefit, FIS ceases to be paid. Where there is an increase in the number of children in the family or where the FIS recipient was also in receipt of one-parent family payment and that payment ceases due to the youngest child attaining the specified age, FIS can be reviewed before the end of the 52 week entitlement period. In both of these circumstances such a review will lead to an increase in the weekly amount of FIS payable.
The 2014 Act provides that where payment of FIS ceases to be paid to a family during the 52 week entitlement period and that family requalifies for FIS before the end of that 52 week period, then payment of FIS will recommence for the unexpired portion of the 52 week period at the rate that was payable at the start of the 52 week period.
Re-designation to WFP
The 2017 Act provided for the redesignation of the Family Income Supplement as the Working Family Payment with effect from 1 January 2018. It provided for an increase of €10 in the weekly earnings thresholds for the Working Family Payment for recipients who have up to three children, with effect from 29 March 2018.
The 2020 Act provided for a €10 increase in the weekly income thresholds of Working Family Payment for families with up to three children.The dual policy goals of the Working Family Payment are to provide an in-work support for low income families and to alleviate child poverty. The additional income available to qualifying households as a result of these
The 2019 Act provides for a €10 increase in the income thresholds which determine the level of Working Family Payment for families with up to three children. This change took effect from 9 January 2020.
The 2021 Act S. 14 provides for a €10 increase in the weekly income thresholds of working family payment for all qualifying families.