FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Differing personal circumstances will have an impact on what people may qualify for (in terms of benefits & healthcare)
For information that is specifically tailored to you, please contact us with your details.
We will be happy to call or email you back
We won’t always have all the answers straight away but we will certainly try out best to find out.
Where will I find information on the education system in Ireland?
Where should I go to research finding a job in Ireland?
I have queries on residency rights and work permits. Who should I contact?
I need to apply for my Irish Birth Cert, how do I go about this?
Apply by post to: Government Offices, Convent Road, Roscommon, Ireland
Request an Application form by phone:
Tel: +353 90 663 2900
Locall:1890 25 20 76 (Ireland only)
Request application form via email: email@example.com
Or contact us here at Safe Home and we can post an application form out from here
Certificates of birth, adoption, stillbirth, marriage, civil partnership or death can be ordered online via this official Health Service Executive website (using a secure payment facility). Queries in relation to certificate orders that have been placed can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLEASE NOTE – If the life event has not been registered, do not apply online as it will not be available. The price of a standard certificate is €20 (plus postage).
What are the differing types of housing available in Ireland?
Local Authority/Council Housing
If you are unable to provide accommodation from your own means and wish to be considered for Council housing you should apply to your local Authority to have your housing needs assessed. The Council has ‘a say’ in the allocation of Housing Association properties and they are also involved in the assessment process for other social housing supports; E.G Rent Supplement, Housing Assistance Payment – HAP. Therefore, if you are seeking any form of social housing support, it is advisable to register with the relevant Council as soon as possible.
Housing Supports for Homeless People
Sadly, there is very limited availability to housing and supports for people presenting as homeless in Ireland at present. You would be very ill advised to arrive in Ireland without having the means to secure accommodation for yourself or the possibility of staying with friends or family. All of the major towns and cities have significant numbers of homeless people either sleeping rough, in hostels or bed and breakfast accommodation. Councils will try to secure some form of temporary or emergency accommodation, however unsuitable, for families who are homeless. However due to lack of funding, single people or childless couples are likely to have very few options available to them unless they can secure hostel accommodation.
If you are looking to buy a property in Ireland, the following websites will give you a good indication of what is available in your price range on a county by county basis;
The following will also be useful resources: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/housing/owning_a_home/buying_a_home/steps_involved_buying_a_home.html
Stamp Duty: Stamp duty applies to residential property such as houses or apartments. It is also payable on non-residential property, that is, land or housing sites without residential buildings.
|Up to €1,000,000||1%|
Exceptions: For people buying their homes under local authority tenant purchase and similar schemes, a maximum amount of €100 is charged. There is no stamp duty payable on certain transfers between spouses, civil partners and cohabitants
For additional/detailed information, talk to your solicitor or contact: National Stamp Duty Office, New Stamping Building, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2 Email: email@example.com
Renting in the private sector
Rents in the private sector can be very expensive, particularly in towns and cities. In rural areas, which have large numbers of tourists during the summer, you may be able to find accommodation for a reasonable rent during the ‘off peak season’.
In rural areas where there are few tourists you may be able to find accommodation all year around at a reasonable rent. The quality of privately rented accommodation can vary so much it would be wise to view before agreeing to take any such property. You should insist on a tenancy agreement, as this will offer you a degree of protection. Some local newspapers advertise properties available to rent. However, the vast majority of tenancies are now advertised online. The following websites are also a good gauge of what is available and price ranges:
Is there any support available to assist with rent costs in the private sector?
Rent Supplement is paid to people living in private rented accommodation who cannot provide for the cost of their accommodation from their own income/resources. In general, you will qualify for a rent supplement, if your only income is a social welfare or Health Services Executive (HSE) payment and you satisfy other conditions.
Rent Supplement was originally designed as a support for people who needed short-term help with their rent, for example, if they had lost their job. However, many people who are currently on Rent Supplement have been assessed as having a long-term housing need, and as a result they are on local authority housing lists.
The Housing Assistance Payment
The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a form of social housing support for people who have a long-term housing need. It is being administered by local authorities and will eventually replace long-term Rent Supplement .
The HAP scheme aims to:
- Allow all social housing supports be accessed through one body – the local authority
- Allow people getting HAP to take up full-time employment and keep their housing support
Under the HAP scheme, local authorities pay landlords directly. Tenants pay a weekly HAP rent contribution to the local authority, based on their income and ability to pay.
For more information on HAP, please see: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/housing/renting_a_home/housing_assistance_payment.html
Who is eligible for HAP?
You must be on the local authority’s housing list – which means that you qualify for social housing support. People who are on the housing list and are currently getting Rent Supplement will be transferred to HAP on a phased basis. They are eligible to apply for HAP at present, without waiting to be transferred.
However, you do not have to be getting Rent Supplement in order to qualify for HAP – but you must be on the housing list.
Although the local authority administers the HAP scheme, you will not be a local authority tenant. The rental agreement will be between yourself and the private landlord. You must find your own private rented accommodation – the local authority will not source it for you.
What are the Rent Limits?
In general, the rent must be within the HAP rent limits for your household size and the area you live in. The limits are generally based on the limits for Rent Supplement, please see rent limits
However, in certain specified local authority areas, there may be discretional allowance for flexibility where suitable accommodation cannot be found for a household within the HAP rent limits.
You will pay a weekly HAP rent contribution to the local authority, based on your household’s weekly income. This rent will vary in accordance with your income. The local authority will pay your rent directly to your landlord on your behalf, subject to certain conditions.
Can you tell me more about the Local Property Tax (LPT)
All owners of residential property, including rental properties, are liable to pay the tax. The following groups are also liable for LPT:
- People who have a long-term lease (20 years or more)
- People with a life interest or long-term right of residence (life or more than 20 years) in a residential property
- Local authorities or social housing organisations *Note! – this is mainly payable by the Landlord NOT the tenant
- A person acting as a personal representative for a deceased owner (for example, as an executor/administrator of an estate). Trustees or beneficiaries are jointly liable where a residential property is held in trust.
Long-term leases (more than 20 years), life tenancies and situations where a person occupies a residential property on a rent-free basis over an extended period and without challenge to their right of occupation will be treated as if the occupant owns the property. In these circumstances, the occupant will be liable for LPT.
For additional information, contact:
The Revenue Commissioners: Local Property Tax (LPT) Branch, P.O. Box 1, Limerick
or Tel: (00353) 1 702 3049 – www.revenue.ie
Our advice on all property taxes and charges is to contact your solicitor/estate agent or regional Revenue Commissioners office to get a full outline of what you may be liable to pay.
Are there restrictions on driving in Ireland on a EU/EEA drivers’ licence?
There is no requirement for anyone coming from a European Union country to transfer their licence to an Irish one, all European Union driving licences are International Licences. If you arrive with an ‘individual European Union country’ driving licence (issued before the ‘single EU licence’) you can drive in Ireland without any restriction because when the licence comes up for renewal you will be issued with a European Union driving licence which is an International Licence. Please see HERE for additional information.
I will be moving from a non EU/EEA member State. Will I have to re-sit my driving test when I come to Ireland?
If you hold a national driving licence or international driving permit from a country outside of the EU that is not one of the Recognised States, you can only drive in Ireland for the duration of a temporary visit (a visit not exceeding 12 months). If you intend to stay in Ireland for more than 12 months, you will have to apply for an Irish driving licence – this will include passing a theory and driving test.
For information on licences from Recognised States and the licence exchange process involved, please see HERE
What is the procedure involved in applying for an Irish Driver’s licence?
If you intend to apply for a first driver’s licence you will be required to complete a theory test in order to get a provisional licence and an oral and practical test for your full driver’s licence. A provisional licence issued in any country other than Ireland will NOT be valid to drive on in Ireland.
Note! Insurance quotes are likely to be higher if driving on a non-Irish licence
Can you give me a bit of information about bringing my car to Ireland?
Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT). VRT is the tax which must be paid when a vehicle is first registered in Ireland. The amount of VRT is calculated based on a percentage of the recommended retail price of the vehicle, known as the Open Market Selling Price.
The National Car Testing Service (NCTS) has been appointed by the Revenue Commissioners to carry out a range of vehicle registration functions on their behalf. From 1 September 2010, to register a vehicle, you must first book an appointment at an NCTS centre to have the vehicle examined and pay the VRT due (and other tax liabilities as appropriate). You can make an appointment through one of the following methods:
- On-line: www.nct.ie
- Telephone Lo call number: 1890 927 787
- Write to the NCTS at: Vehicle Registration Tax Booking
Lakedrive 3026, Citywest Business Campus, Naas Road, Dublin 24.
Does everyone have to pay VRT?
There are some exemptions from paying VRT for foreign vehicles being imported into Ireland.
For example, non-residents (those who reside in Ireland for less than 185 days per year) have an exemption from paying VRT for up to 12 months.
Foreign students are entitled to bring a foreign registered vehicle into the country for the duration of their course and people with diplomatic status do not have to pay.
Exemptions also apply for people with disabilities and when a vehicle is inherited. For further details about exemptions, see www.revenue.ie or contact the relevant Revenue office on return to Ireland.
I am moving to Ireland permanently. Will I have to pay VRT?
People who have owned their vehicle abroad for at least six months and are moving to Ireland permanently may also be exempt from paying VRT. This is referred to as “transfer of residence”. The vehicle still has to be registered. In such a case, it may not be sold in Ireland for at least 12 months after it has been registered.
For details of this exemption and the Transfer of Residence Application form (VRT TOR) contact the local Revenue office or the nearest NCT Centre.
After completing the registration processes, the owner is issued with the registration number for the vehicle and given a form (RF100) which is needed when applying for motor tax.
I would like to arrange for the transfer of my State Pension when I move to Ireland. Can I open a bank account before I move back to Ireland?
1. To open an account in Ireland most banks require 2 utility bills in the customer’s name and address in Ireland to show they are resident in the country. This can pose problems for returning emigrants as most utility bills are charged monthly leading to a delay in getting pensions/benefits transferred.
2. Proof of identity is also required. Guidance Notes to financial institutions give advice on the various forms of identity that may be used. A valid passport or driving licence are the favored options. However, if these are not available the following may be acceptable:
-Driving license or age card issued by the Gardai.
-Birth cert accompanied by a passport photograph signed by the Gardai
-Documentation issued by a Government Department showing the name of the person, together with a statement from a person of responsibility who is in a position to confirm the person’s identity- e.g solicitor, doctor, accountant, religious minister, teacher/other professional.
The final decision on what is appropriate identification rests with each individual bank
However if you are legally resident in another EU State, you may be able to open a non-resident account in Ireland. Please see HERE for additional information on that. If you open a non-resident Irish bank account online, it may make things a little easier and quicker to convert it to a resident account once you move here.
Differing personal circumstances will have an impact on what people may qualify for (in terms of benefits & healthcare)
For information that is specifically tailored to you, please contact us with your details. We will be happy to call or email you back.
Will I be entitled to free health care if I move to Ireland?
Entitlement to health services is primarily based on residency and means. Any person, regardless of nationality, who is accepted by the Health Service Executive (HSE) as being ordinarily resident in Ireland is entitled to either full eligibility (Category 1) or limited eligibility (Category 2) for health services.
Category 1: Medical Card holders – If you have a medical card, you are entitled to:
• free GP services
• prescribed drugs and medicines, subject to a charge per item prescribed
• public hospital services
• dental, optical and aural services
• maternity and infant care services
• a range of community care and personal social services.
Note! There is free G.P care in Ireland for children under 6 and people over 70 years of age, regardless of whether or not they are Medical Card holders
Additional Information on means testing requirements and the application process for a Medical Card can be found HERE
Category 2: Non-Medical Card holders
If you do not have a medical card, you are entitled to:
Free public hospital services but you may have to pay in-patient and out-patient hospital charges.
You are also entitled to subsidised prescribed drugs and medicines and maternity and infant care services and you may be entitled to free or subsidised community care and personal social services.
Unless you hold a GP Visit Card, you are not entitled to free GP services. (Exemptions in relation to children under 6yrs and people over 70 years of age)
You may be entitled to some community care and personal social services.
Full information on entitlement to Heath Care in Ireland can be foubnd HERE
What does ordinarily resident mean?
You are ordinarily resident if you are living in Ireland and have lived here, or intend to live here, for at least one year.
How would I prove Ordinary Residency status?
To establish that a person is ordinarily resident a Health Service Executive (HSE) may require:
- Proof of property purchase or rental, including evidence that the property in question is the person’s main residence.
- Evidence of transfer of funds, bank accounts, pensions etc.
- A residence permit or visa.
- A work permit or visa, statements from employers
- In some instances, the signing of an affidavit (a sworn written statement) by the applicant.
I have lived and worked all of my life in England. Are the contributions that I have made recognised when it comes to qualifying for healthcare if I move to Ireland in the future?
Yes – in certain circumstances. If you return to Ireland with a UK State Pension and you are not employed or self-employed when you move here AND you are not in receipt of any Irish /part Irish Pension or benefit, then you can qualify for a Medical Card here under EU regulations.
You still have to fill in the relevant Medical Card application form and provide all back up documentation (e.g up to date proof of income).
However, even if your total income exceeds the levels set for means testing, you would still qualify for a Medical Card as long as you continue to fulfill the conditions above in relation to qualifying under EU regulations.
If I don’t qualify for a Medical Card, is there any help available to assist with the cost of medication?
Under the Drugs Payment Scheme, you /your household will not pay more than €144 for all your prescribed approved medication each calendar month. This maximum amount is subject to review by the Government from time to time. You must present your card each time you attend the pharmacy before a prescription can be dispensed.
There are a number of items that legally do not require a prescription but for inclusion under the scheme they do require a doctor’s prescription.
How do I Qualify?
You must be ordinarily resident in Ireland and hold a PPSN. There is no means test for the Drugs Payment Scheme.
This scheme is aimed at those who don’t have a Medical Card and normally have to pay the full cost of their medication.
It also applies to those who have a GP Visit Card. Anyone ordinarily resident in Ireland can apply to join the scheme, regardless of family, financial circumstances or nationality.
Long Term Illness Scheme
If you have certain long term illnesses or disabilities, you may apply to join the Long Term Illness Scheme. See list of relevant conditions: www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/1/schemes/lti/Your_Guide_to_the_Long-Term_Illness_Scheme.html
If you qualify, you will be supplied with a Long Term Illness book. This book allows you to get drugs, medicines, and medical and surgical appliances directly related to the treatment of your illness, free of charge. It does not depend on your income or other circumstances and is separate from the Medical Card Scheme and the GP Visit Card Scheme.
If you already have been given a Medical Card, you do not need to apply for a Long Term Illness book. If you become ineligible for a Medical Card at any stage, but have one of the medical conditions below, you should apply to join the Long Term Illness scheme to cover the cost of your medication.
Does everyone in Ireland have to pay the prescription charge?
I am moving to Ireland. Can I get private health insurance?
You can take out insurance if you become a resident of Ireland. You may, however, have to serve a waiting period. If you are an EU national and you become ill or have an accident during a visit to any EU country you can get free or reduced cost healthcare on production of a European Health Insurance Card. You can obtain this card from your country of usual residence.
Can anyone buy private health insurance?
Yes. All applicants for private health insurance cover must be accepted by a private health insurer, regardless of their health status or age. However waiting periods may apply before benefits can be claimed.
If you hold a medical card , do have to pay any public hospital charges?
No, however, as a public patient you do not have the right to choose your consultant.
Private and semi-private hospital care in Ireland is provided for in private hospitals and also in public hospitals. If you opt for private care in either a public hospital or a private hospital, you or your insurer must pay for your treatment and accommodation.
See Hospital Charges in Ireland for additional information
I currently hold health insurance abroad and I am returning to Ireland to live. Will my foreign health insurance be taken into account for waiting periods on Irish health insurance?
No. Foreign health insurance is not taken into account for waiting periods on Irish health insurance. You will be treated as a new customer when you return to Ireland and waiting periods will apply.
Will my age affect my insurance premium?
No. The health insurance system applying in Ireland is called community rating. In a community rated system everyone pays the same premium for a given health insurance plan.
Can my insurer refuse to sell me health insurance?
No. An Open Membership Insurer must accept all applicants for insurance.
Where can I get additional information to assist me in finding the right policy at the right price?
Are there charges for accident and emergency/casualty and out-patient services?
If you use accident and emergency services without being referred there by a GP, there is a charge of €100.
Does the €100 A&E charge apply to everybody?
It does not apply to the following groups:
- Medical card holders
- People who are admitted to hospital as an in-patient as a result of attending the casualty department (you will then be subject to in-patient charges)
- People receiving treatment for prescribed infectious diseases
- Children up to 6 weeks of age
- Children who have certain diseases and disabilities
- Children referred for treatment from child health clinics and school health examinations
- People who are entitled to hospital services because of EU Regulations
- Women receivingmaternity services
- People with Hepatitis C who have a Health Amendment Act Card
Note! European Union rules: If you have an entitlement to healthcare in another EU/EEA member State or Switzerland, you may have an entitlement to healthcare in Ireland under EU rules. If you are visiting Ireland temporarily you can apply for a European Health Insurance Card which covers medical care if you become ill or have an accident. You should bring your European Health Insurance Card with you when you are travelling to Ireland.
If you living in the UK and holidaying here, you can bring evidence of UK residence instead of evidence of a European Health Insurance Card.
The A & E charge applies to the first visit in relation to an illness or accident. If you have to return for further visits to an out-patient clinic in relation to the same illness or accident, you should not have to pay the charge again.
More info: http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/3/acutehospitals/hospitals/Hospitalcharges.html
Is there any assistance for someone who may need to apply for Nursing Home care in Ireland?
The Nursing Home Support Scheme (known as Fair Deal) provides financial support to people who need long term nursing home care.
Under this scheme, the applicant makes a contribution towards the cost of their care and the State pays the balance. The scheme covers approved private nursing homes, voluntary nursing homes and public nursing homes. Anyone who is ordinarily resident in the State and is assessed as needing long-term nursing home care can apply for the scheme. However, this is a very complex subject. Realistically the options for returning emigrants accessing this scheme will be limited and may have to be assessed on a ‘test case’ basis. For additional information on the scheme and application process, please see: www.hse.ie/nhss/
What is a PPS Number?
A Personal Public Service Number is the Irish equivalent of your National Insurance/Social Security Number. Some people may already have this number particularly if they are in receipt of a part Irish pension or if they worked in Ireland after 1979. These older PPS numbers were made up of 7 numbers and ending in a letter – example: 4567893W To enquire about an existing PPSN: Contact: Client Identity Services, Shannon Lodge, Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim
Telephone: Lo Call 1890 927999 (Ireland only)
Tel: +353 71 967 2616.
After initial recorded message, select option for Client Identity Services.
There is no automatic entitlement to a PPS number. Applicants must be able to show a valid reason why the number is required (E.G starting employment/applying for a benefit/applying for a Medial Card etc).
How do I go about applying for a PPSN?
To apply, contact the local social welfare office in the area you have returned to and they will advise you where the nearest PPS registration centre is located. You can also check this out online: www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Personal-Public-Service-Number-Registration-Centres-by-Count.aspx
or Tel: 00353 (71) 967 2616
I am an Irish Citizen thinking of returning home. What benefits will I be entitled to?
There is no automatic entitlement to welfare in Ireland, unless you have paid sufficient contributions into the system here.
If you need to apply for means tested welfare payments in Ireland, most will be subject to meeting the Habitual Residence Condition
Habitual Residence is a condition which you must satisfy to qualify for certain social welfare assistance (means tested) payments and in some cases, Child Benefit* in Ireland.
*Child Benefit and EU Regulations: EU/EEA citizens and Swiss nationals working in Ireland satisfy the habitual residence condition for Child Benefit. This is also the case if the worker becomes unemployed and gets Jobseeker’s Benefit.
The Habitual Residence Condition took effect from 1 May 2004 and affects all applicants, regardless of nationality.
If you have lived outside of Ireland, it is likely that any welfare claim you make will have to be accompanied by a Habitual Residence application – HRC1, this form is available to view/download on the Department of Social Protection website: www.welfare.ie
This applies across the board regardless of whether or not you were born and reared in Ireland/are an Irish Citizen. Under EU law, an exemption on Habitual Residence could not be made for Irish Citizens without extending this to all EU Nationals.
What is Habitual Residence?
The term “habitually resident” is not defined in Irish law. In practice it means that the applicant has to have a proven close link to Ireland. The term also conveys permanence – that a person has been here for some time and intends to stay here for the foreseeable future.
We will try to simplify the main points around the topic of Habitual Residence as it relates to welfare applications in Ireland.
When making decisions on relevant welfare applications, deciding officers will look at all other qualifying conditions for the payment and then consider whether the applicant is Habitually Resident in the State.
You must be Habitually Resident to qualify for the following payments:
• Blind Pension
• Carer’s Allowance
• Child Benefit* (please see note)
• Disability Allowance
• Domiciliary Care Allowance
• Guardian’s Payment (Non-Contributory)
• Jobseeker’s Allowance
• One-Parent Family Payment
• State Pension (Non-Contributory)
• Supplementary Welfare Allowance
• Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension
When assessing a welfare claim, firstly your right to reside in Ireland and other qualifying conditions are looked at, then when making a decision on Habitual Residence, the following 5 factors are examined:
• Length and continuity of residence in Ireland, past & present
• Length and purpose of any absence from Ireland
• Nature and pattern of employment
• Your main centre of interest
• Your future intentions to live in Ireland as it appears from the evidence
Applicants who are being assessed for Habitual Residency should provide as much back up documentation as possible with their claim/attach it to the HRC1 form. By backing up your claim with documentation, it will be easier and quicker for a deciding officer to assess your eligibility. When considering the relevant documentation to provide, consider the following categories:
(A) Proof that shows you have cut all ties with the country you have left
(B) Proof to show your links with Ireland and that you intend to remain here for the foreseeable future.
Some examples of helpful supporting documentation:
• Proof to show you have given up accommodation abroad
• Proof that you have cancelled or applied to cancel any non-transferable benefits
• Proof you have transferred or applied to transfer any transferable income
• If feasible, proof to show that you have closed your bank account/s abroad and that you have applied to open a bank account here
• 3 months back bank statements and closing statement/s
• Proof to show you have a tenancy in your own name (in Ireland)
• Proof of travel documents including, where relevant, excess baggage fees and removal/shipping receipts
• Details of family connections in Ireland and previous residency here
• Proof to show children are in school here
• Proof to show a car has been registered in Ireland
• Registration with a GP here
• Proof to show you have joined any local organisations/community groups
Exempt from the habitual residence condition
Certain people, in particular EEA nationals who are considered migrant workers, are exempt from the habitual residence condition – contact us for additional information on this or check www.welfare.ie
If you have moved to Ireland and already received a positive decision on Habitual Residency, this should carry through to subsequent claims unless there has been a significant change in circumstances since a new application was made.
The subject of Habitual Residence is a complicated one and each applicant’s case may differ depending on their individual circumstances.
Our Advice: Ensure that you have a good ‘paper trail’ of documentation that outlines your circumstances clear.
If you think that HRC may apply to you, take advice from an agency BEOFRE submitting any welfare claim.
We would advise that you contact us directly and we will be happy to call or email you back to discuss your own individual case – Contact us
You may wish to have a look at the Department of Social Protection website for full detailed information – www.welfare.ie
I am wondering what part of my current benefits might transfer to Ireland with me when I move. How do I find this out?
As a general guide, anything that you have paid contributions into will transfer with you when you move (E.G State Pension, Private or Works Pensions)
Any income that you currently receive which is non contributory/ means tested is unlikely to transfer with you (E.G Pension Credit payments, Income ‘top up’ payments)
Our advice to anyone considering a move to Ireland is to make enquiries with the Agency/Department that oversees your current payment. You will need to establish from them how a permanent move to Ireland is likely to affect your on-going entitlement. If possible, get this information in writing.
For further information, Please see:
Contacting an Irish Welfare & Advice Centre or a local Citizens Advice Bureau may also be helpful.
I may need to apply for a means tested welfare payment when I move to Ireland. Can you tell me anything about the qualifying conditions?
As well as satisfying a means test and other qualifying conditions for most Non Contributory/means tested welfare payments, it is likely that you will also have to show that you are Habitually Resident in the State.
In brief, satisfying the Habitual Residence Condition means that you may have to provide back-up documentary evidence to show that:
(A) you have moved to Ireland and you intend to remain here for the foreseeable future/permanently; you have connections to /in Ireland. Previous residency is also taken into account
(B) Show that you have severed your ties with the country you left.
What are the main types of benefits relating to older people?
The State Pension (Contributory) is paid to people from the age of 66 who have enough Irish social insurance contributions. It is not means-tested. You can have other income and still get a State Pension (Contributory). This pension is taxable but you are unlikely to pay tax if it is your only income.
How can I find out if I have enough contributions to qualify for a full or part Irish Contributory Pension?
Enquiries about your social insurance contribution record should be addressed to: PRSI Records – Department of Social Protection, McCarter’s Road, Ardaravan, Buncrana, Co. Donegal.
You can find more information HERE
I worked in Ireland for a number of years and paid contributions. I might be entitled to at least a part- Irish Contributory Pension. Can I claim this pension while still living abroad?
Yes, if you have sufficient contributions, the Irish State Pension (Contributory) can be paid to people living outside of the State.
Please Note! If you receive a Contributory Pension from Ireland and you are in receipt of any means tested, top up’ benefits or housing support payments abroad, this additional income is likely to affect those payments.
State Pension (Non-Contributory) is a means tested weekly payment that may be paid from age 66 to people who do not qualify for a Contributory Pension.
Please see HERE for full qualifying conditions and rates of payment.
Some returning emigrants who have a small pension/social security payment that transfers to Ireland with them may qualify for a means tested ’top-up’ payment to bring their total combined income up to the level of the Irish State Pension (Non Contributory).
For additional information on Contributory & Non Contributory Pensions, Contact: Department of Social Protection, Social Welfare Services
College Road, Sligo, Ireland
For additional information on pension schemes, including the option to print or download the relevant application forms, please see:
I will be looking for employment when I move to Ireland. Is there any assistance I can apply for until I find work?
You may get Jobseeker’s Allowance if you don’t have sufficient contributions to qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit or if you have used up your entitlement to Jobseeker’s Benefit.
You must be unemployed to get Jobseeker’s Allowance. You must also be capable of, available for, and genuinely seeking work to qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance – and you must be able to show evidence of this to the Department of Social Protection. You must also be considered Habitually Resident in the State. Please see HERE for a guide to the Habitual Residence Condition devised by Crosscare Migrant Project.
Apply to the Local Social Welfare Office
For additional information, please search ‘Job Seekers’ via the following sites;
What assistance is available to Carers and disabled people?
Carer’s Allowance is a means tested payment to people on low incomes who are looking after a person who needs full time care and support because of age, physical/learning disability or illness (including mental illness).
Please see Carer’s Allowance for more information or access the websites below
Disability Allowance is a means tested weekly allowance paid to people with a disability. You can get Disability Allowance from 16 years of age.
To qualify for Disability Allowance, you must:
(A) Have an injury, disease or physical or mental disability that has continued or may be expected to continue for at least one year
(B) As a result of this disability be substantially restricted in undertaking work that would otherwise be suitable for a person of your age, experience and qualifications
(C) Be aged between 16 and 66. When you reach 66 years of age you no longer qualify for DA, but you are assessed for a State pension.
Apart from the primary welfare payment (e.g Pension) are there any other supports available?
Household Benefits Package: If you in receipt of a qualifying welfare payment and satisfy the relevant conditions, you may qualify for the Household Benefits Package. This is a package of 2 allowances which help you with the costs of running your household.
Allowance 1 – The Electricity Allowance or Natural Gas Allowance
Allowance 2 – The Free Television Licence
For full qualifying conditions and to view or download the Application Form, please see Household Benefits Package
Free Travel: Everyone aged 66 and over living permanently in the State is entitled to the Free Travel Scheme. Some people under 66 are also entitled. If you qualify for free travel, you are issued with a pass that you must carry with you when using public transport. In some cases, a free companion pass may be available to allow a person to accompany the free travel pass holder.
For full qualifying conditions and to view or download the Application Form, please see Free Travel
More information is available via the following sites;
Living Alone Allowance is an extra weekly payment for people aged 66+ who are living alone and in receipt of a qualifying payment from the Department of Social Protection. Note! – You will also qualify if you are under 66, live alone and are getting Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension, Incapacity Supplement and Blind Pension.
To apply contact the section of the Department of Social Protection that pays your main pension or benefit.
For full qualifying conditions, rates of payment and to view or download the Application Form, please see, Living Alone Allowance
Fuel Allowance is a payment under the National Fuel Scheme to help with the cost of heating your home. It is paid to people who are dependent on long-term social welfare and who are unable to provide for their own heating needs. The scheme operates for 26 weeks of the year, from dates in Oct-April. Fuel Allowance is a means tested payment.
For full qualifying conditions, rates of payment and to view or download the Application Form, please see
Where can I get additional information on all welfare payments in Ireland?
For full details on all welfare payments, including qualifying conditions, rates of payment and to view or download relevant Application Forms, please see: www.welfare.ie
I think I mean need to apply for means tested welfare payments when I move to Ireland. Can I begin the application process before I make the move?
No – Most means tested welfare payments are based on the applicant being considered Habitually Resident in the State. Please see HERE for additional information on residency requirements
Can you tell me what is meant by the term, ‘Qualified Adult’, in relation to social welfare payments in Ireland?
If you qualify for a social welfare payment you get an amount for yourself, which is called the ‘personal rate of payment’.
You may also get an extra amount for your adult dependant (called a qualified adult) which is paid as an increase to your personal payment (called an Increase for a Qualified Adult or IQA). An adult dependant is usually your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant.
A cohabitant is one of two adults (whether of the same or opposite sex) who live together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship and who are not close relatives.
The IQA is subject to other qualifying conditions and means testing. For more information on claiming for an adult dependent, see HERE
What types of Social Welfare supports are available to families in Ireland?
There are many different types of families and social welfare payments are designed to support those most in need of financial assistance. To find out more about the types of payments and qualifying conditions, please see:
I would like information on Taxation in Ireland and how a move to Ireland might affect my foreign pensions?
Tax matters are very personal so can be different depending on someone’s individual circumstances. We advise everyone to contact the Tax Authorities in the country they are leaving for guidelines.
Then on arrival in Ireland, contact the relevant Revenue Office here to clarity your individual situation. Contact details, county by county: http://www.revenue.ie/en/contact/
For information on Income Tax and how this is calculated: