h) Social Welfare Benefits
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Benefits for People with Disabilities
Disability Allowance is a weekly allowance paid to people with a disability in Ireland that are aged between 16 and 65. The disability must be expected to last for at least one year and the allowance is subject to both medical suitability and a means test. You must also be habitually resident in Ireland. The form is available from your nearest Social Welfare office or from the Citizens Information website at
or from the Disability Allowance section of the Dept. of Social and Family Affairs: Tel :(043) 334 5211 or (01) 704 3000, Locall:1890 92 77 70
You may get Illness Benefit if you cannot work because you are sick or ill. You must be under 66 years of age and covered by social insurance (PRSI). if you have 260 or more PRSI contributions you can get Illness Benefit for a maximum of 2 years. You can get an application form for Illness Benefit from your family doctor (GP) or hospital doctor. For more information, contact the Illness Benefit enquiries telephone line: (01) 679 7777.
Invalidity Pension is a benefit for people who have been unable to work and have received Illness Benefit for at least a year before the date of their claim. (This applies to those who will continue to be incapable of work for at least a further year). It may be possible to claim Invalidity Pension after a shorter period if the illness or disability means you are unlikely to work for the rest of your life. At the age of 65, the rate of payment increases to the same rate as a Retirement Pension and you are entitled to a free travel pass and may also be entitled to the Household Benefits Package.
Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme
The Department of Social and Family Affairs in Ireland operates a scheme of benefits for people injured or incapacitated by an accident at work or while travelling directly to or from work.
The scheme also covers those who have contracted a disease in Ireland as a result of the type of work they do. There are a number of benefits available and there are different conditions attached to each benefit.
The benefits include:
- Injury Benefit
- Disablement Benefit
- Unemployability Supplement
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Medical Care Scheme
More information is available from the Occupational Injuries Benefit Section at Tel:(01) 704 3018 or (01) 704 3020
Housing Adaptation Grant for people with a Disability
A housing adaptation grant is available where changes need to be made to a home to make it suitable for a person with a physical, sensory or intellectual disability or mental health difficulty to live in.
The grant can help you to make changes and adaptations to your home, for example, making it wheelchair-accessible, extensions to create more space, adding a ground floor bathroom or toilet and stair-lifts. In some cases, the provision of heating can be included but only under certain conditions, contact your local authority housing department for more details. The grant is means tested.
If you only require minor work you can apply for the Mobility Aids Grant Scheme instead, however, you must satisfy the means test. If you don't satisfy the income limits for the Mobility Aids Grant Scheme you should apply for the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability.
Benefits aimed at Carers
Carer's Benefit is a payment made to certain insured employees who leave employment to care for someone. It is not means tested. To qualify you must satisfy certain PRSI and other conditions. The scheme is payable for a total of 104 weeks, and may be claimed over separate time periods subject to a minimum of 6 weeks for any given period. You can get the application form from your local Social Welfare office or from the web at
For more information contact: Carer's Benefit Section, Department of Social Welfare Locall:1890 92 77 70 Website: www.welfare.ie
Carer's Leave allows employees to leave their employment temporarily for a period up to 104 weeks to provide full-time care for people in need of full-time care and attention. The leave will be unpaid but jobs will be kept open for the duration of the leave. For more information contact: National Employment Rights Authority
Locall: 1890 80 80 90
Carer's Allowance is a payment to people living in Ireland on low incomes who are looking after someone who is in need of full time support because of age, physical or learning disability or illness. The allowance is means tested. If you are providing care to more than one person you may be entitled to an additional 50% of the maximum rate of Carer's Allowance each week. You will also qualify for free household benefits (such as Free Electricity/Natural Gas/Bottled Gas Refill Allowance, Free Television Licence, Free Telephone Rental Allowance) and a Free Travel Pass. Carer's Allowance is not taken into account in the assessment for a medical card.
Application forms are available at
For more information contact your local Social Welfare Office or the Carer's Allowance Section of the Department of Social Welfare, Tel:(043) 334 5211, Locall: 1890 92 77 70
Half Rate Carer's Allowance
The Carer's Allowance scheme has changed to allow more people who are caring for another person get a Carer's Allowance payment. The change means, if you are getting certain social welfare payments and you are providing full-time care and attention to another person, you can keep your main social welfare payment and get half-rate Carer's Allowance as well. Application is as for Carer's Allowance (see above)
Annual Respite Grant
The Annual Respite Care Grant of €1,700.00 is not means tested. If you are getting Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit, Constant Attendance Allowance or Prescribed Relative's Allowance it will be automatically paid to you in June. If you are not getting one of these payments, you can obtain an application form, from the Department's Lo-Call Leaflet request line 1890 66 22 44 or from the web at
Dependent Relative Tax Credit
Parents, guardians and people who care for dependent relatives may qualify for the Dependent Relative Tax Credit. Apply through your local tax office.
Where to get more information
Further information on these and other benefits relevant to people affected by brain injury are available from the website: www.citizensinformation.ie