What is Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA)?

The Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) Scheme was introduced for persons whose means are insufficient to meet their needs and those of their dependants. It can consist of a basic payment and/or a supplement in respect of certain expenses a person may not be able to meet.

All SWA payments are means tested. This means that any extra income, in addition to your Social Welfare or SWA payment, either you or your spouse/partner have could affect how much you receive. The main purpose of the scheme is:

  • To provide immediate and flexible assistance for those in need who do not qualify for payment under other State schemes;
  • To guarantee a standard basic minimum income;
  • To provide people with low incomes with a weekly supplement to meet certain special needs (e.g. rent and mortgage interest payments) or a payment to help with the cost of any exceptional needs they may have;
  • To help those whose needs are inadequately met under the major schemes and those confronted with an emergency situation.

Please note:
As of November 2005, EU citizens may be able to claim a basic SWA payment, and access Rent Supplement and other SWA payments, if they:

  • Have been employed in Ireland,
  • Have lost their job, and
  • Meet other relevant qualifying conditions for SWA.

Please contact the INOU for more information.

Last Updated: 22/08/2011