To qualify for a One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) you must:
- Be the parent, step-parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian of a relevant child (this means a child under the relevant age limit - see below)
- Be the main carer of at least one relevant child. The child must live with you. OFP is not payable if the parents have joint equal custody of a child or children.
- Have earnings of €425 or less per week
- Satisfy a means test
- Not be living with a spouse, civil partner or cohabiting
If you are separated, divorced or your civil partnership is dissolved you must:
- Have been living apart from your spouse or civil partner for at least 3 months. This does not apply to cohabitants.
- Have made efforts to get maintenance from your spouse or civil partner (if your civil partner is the parent of the child/ren)
- Be inadequately maintained by your spouse or civil partner (if your civil partner is the parent of the child/ren)
If your spouse or civil partner is in prison:
- He/she must have been sentenced to at least 6 months in prison or have spent at least 6 months in custody.
If you were not married to the parent of your child/children you do not need to seek maintenance from the other parent when you first claim OFP. However you must make efforts to seek maintenance from the other parent to continue to be eligible for OFP.
You can read more about what making an effort to seek maintenance means for separated parents and for unmarried parents. See also 'Liability to maintain family' below.
Income from maintenance
All income from maintenance is assessed as means. This includes maintenance for you and maintenance to you for any of your children. If you are getting maintenance from more than one person all the payments are added together and the total is assessed as means. However, only half of your income from maintenance will be deducted from your OFP. If you have housing costs, your rent or mortgage repayment up to a maximum of €95.23 per week can be offset against maintenance payments. Half the balance is then assessed as means. You must provide proof of rent or mortgage payments. You can get more information on how maintenance is assessed as means.
Liability to maintain family
Men and women are required, under the law, to pay maintenance to a dependent spouse, civil partner or former cohabitant and any dependent children who are not living with them. These people are called 'liable relatives'. If you are a liable relative and fail to pay enough maintenance to your ex-spouse, ex-civil partner or former cohabitant and dependent child(ren), you must contribute to the cost of the One-Parent Family Payment, which is paid to your family.
The Maintenance Recovery Unit of the Department of Social Protection will contact the liable relative if they have not paid enough maintenance. You can contact the Maintenance Recovery Unit on (071) 967 2599 for more information. You can also find out more about ‘Liability to Maintain Family’.
One-Parent Family Payment and EU Regulations
From 5 May 2005, EU citizens, EEA citizens and Swiss nationals who are employed or self-employed in Ireland and who are paying into the Irish social insurance system to qualify for One-Parent Family Payment.
One-Parent Family Payment and Deserted Wife's Benefit
If you had to transfer from Deserted Wife’s Benefit to One-Parent Family Payment to be accepted as a participant on a Community Employment Scheme, you can apply to have your entitlement to Deserted Wife's Benefit restored. While Deserted Wife's Benefit is closed to new applicants, it is still paid to those who had qualified for it before 2 January 1997.
The maximum weekly rate of payment for Deserted Wife’s Benefit is higher than the maximum weekly rate of payment for One-Parent Family Payment. If you qualify to have your entitlement to Deserted Wife’s Benefit restored you may also be due arrears.
Age limit for a relevant child
To get a One-Parent Family Payment you must have at least one relevant child below the relevant age limit.
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