Working Family Payment

Introduction

The Working Family Payment (WFP) (formerly known as Family Income Supplement (FIS) is a weekly tax-free payment available to employees with children, including one-parent families, at work on low pay. You cannot qualify for WFP if you are only self-employed - you must be an employee to qualify. The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection administers this payment.

To qualify for WFP, your average weekly family income must be below a certain amount for your family size. The payment you receive is 60% of the difference between your average weekly family income and the income limit which applies to your family.


To be entitled to Working Family Payment

  • You must be an employee, in paid employment, you cannot qualify for WFP if you are only self-employed;
  • Have at least one qualified child who normally lives with you or is part of a family supported by you. A qualified child is any child under age 18 or aged 18 to 22 if in full-time education;
  • Work 38 or more hours per fortnight (any combination of hours that reaches 38 hours each fortnight is acceptable). You can combine your weekly hours with your spouse, civil partner, cohabitant’s hours to meet this condition. You cannot use time spent in self-employment (or on Community Employment, Tús, or the Rural Social Scheme) to meet this condition;
  • Expect to be employed for at least three months;
  • Satisfy an Income test

 

Employed in Ireland

You must be employed in the Irish State and pay tax and PRSI here. Under EU regulations you may be able to claim WFP if your children are living abroad and dependent on you. Generally, the payment continues for one year (52 weeks) and is not affected by, for example, an increase or a decrease in earnings.

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What is counted as Income?

The income test to qualify for WFP will count all of your income (including rental income from property) and your spouse/partner’s/cohabitants income. The following payments are counted:

 

  • Your assessable earnings and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant’s assessable earnings. (Assessable earnings are gross pay minus income tax, employee PRSI, Universal Social Charge (USC) and superannuation.)
  • Income from working as a home help for the HSE
  • Any extra income you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant have from employment (such as pay for overtime, bonuses, allowances or commission).
  • Any income you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant may have from self-employment.
  • Income from occupational pensions.
  • Income you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant may have including Social Welfare payments.
  • Rental income from the letting of property or land (the capital value is not assessed).
  • All income from Carer’s payments will be assessed.

 

The following payments are not counted as means:

  • Guardian’s payments, Supplementary Welfare Allowance, Domiciliary Care Allowance, Foster Child Allowance, Rent Supplement.

 

Other income that is not counted includes: income from a charitable organisation (Unless from employment), unearned income (for example interest on savings) and income from providing accommodation to students studying Irish in Gaeltacht areas under a scheme administered by the Minister for the Gaeltacht.

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Family SizeWeekly Income Limits    Annual Equivalents
One child   €531      €27,612
Two children   €632€32,864
Three children  €733   €38,116
Four children€834  €43,368
Five children      €960€49,920
Six children   €1,076€55,952
Seven children   €1,212€63,024
Eight or more children€1,308    €68,016

How much you can get?

If the average net (after tax, PRSI, USC and pension deductions) assessable earnings of your family, along with other family income is less than the set limit for your family size, you will receive 60% of the difference. See the following example.

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Working and claiming WFP

 
Conor and Niamh have 4 children. Conor is employed over 19 hours and earns €250 per week net. If Conor applies for a WFP payment based on his family size and net wages his new total household income is calculated as follows
— Set WFP limit for family of four children  €834.00
— Less Conor’s Income - €250.00
— Income Difference  €584.00
  
— Weekly WFP (60% of €584)      rounded up to  €350.00
— Plus Conor’s earnings+€250.00
— Total household income  €600.00

Partner claiming a Jobseekers payment

If your partner is claiming a Jobseekers payment, but is not claiming for you as a Qualified Adult, you can claim WFP if you are working and satisfy the normal qualification criteria. Any WFP payment received may affect your partners Jobseekers payment.

 

Important points to remember

  • WFP is not taxable
  • WFP is paid for 52 weeks while you remain employed for at least 38 hours per fortnight. This includes those on the Job Initiative scheme, the Community Services Programme (formerly the Social Economy Programme) and Part-Time Job Incentive Scheme. At the end of the 52 week period, you will be invited to re-apply
  • If your earnings increase you will still retain WFP for the rest of the 52 week period. If your family income decreases, your WFP payment cannot be reviewed until the 52 week period has expired
  • A person who job shares and works at least 38 hours over a two-week period and fulfils all the other conditions can also apply for WFP
  • Where both spouse/civil partner/cohabitants are working, their hours can be added together to total 38 hours per fortnight for the household to qualify for WFP. Hours from self-employment are not included
  • The spouse/civil partner/cohabitant with the greatest income is the person who is paid the WFP, but both spouse/civil partner/cohabitants, join in any claim
  • If you have another child the WFP will be increased
  • The minimum WFP is €20 per week
  • Hours worked in self-employment or on Community Employment/Tús/ Partial Capacity Benefit do not count towards making up the 38 hours per fortnight period;
  • You cannot claim WFP if you are solely self-employed or on Community Employment or Tús
  • At the end of the 52 weeks you should re-apply for WFP if you think you are still eligible. Always check – you may be losing out on a payment you are entitled to

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Maternity Benefit

Under the Maternity Protection Act 1994, a woman who qualifies for Maternity Benefit is entitled to be treated as if she is in employment and accordingly can claim WFP, subject to the income limits. Your income must be less than the income limit for your family size. If you are claiming Maternity Benefit your average weekly earnings, from employment, are used to calculate your entitlement along with any other income your family has.

Your WFP claim will then be paid for 52 weeks from the first Thursday after the date of receipt of your application for WFP. You are not entitled to continue to claim WFP if you take additional unpaid maternity or adoptive leave or if you do not return to work following maternity or adoptive leave.

Reduced Working hours/Losing your Job

— If your pay from work is reduced your Working Family Payment (WFP) will stay the same. It will not increase. However, when your WFP payment ends you can re-apply giving details of your new reduced income. (WFP is paid for 52 weeks. At the end of the 52 weeks, you can re-apply for WFP).

— If the number of hours you work is below 38 hours per fortnight you are no longer entitled to WFP. You should notify the WFP section if your hours fall below the minimum requirement.

— If you lose your job you are no longer entitled to WFP. You must notify the WFP section in the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection on (043) 334 0053 or Lo-call 1890 92 77 70 or email to wfpsupport@welfare.ie

— Swapping payment to a spouse/partner/cohabitant: If you lose your entitlement to WFP but have a spouse/partner or cohabitant, who is working as an employee for at least 38 hours per fortnight, payment can be transferred into their name for the balance of the 52 week award period, once proof of their hours of employment as an employee is provided. You must notify the WFP section in the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

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Maintenance

A separated parent can apply for WFP once he or she meets the qualifying conditions and:

  • is living with the qualified child(ren) or
  • is wholly maintaining the ex-spouse, ex-civil partner or ex-cohabitant with whom the qualified children are living, and wholly maintaining the qualified child(ren)
  • Only one WFP can be made for a family ‘Wholly maintaining’ means that maintenance paid by you, the WFP applicant, must be the sole income of your ex-spouse, ex-civil partner or ex-cohabitant.

Paying maintenance

If you are paying maintenance as a result of a court order or legally binding agreement for a second family, the amount of that maintenance payment will not be deducted from the income to be assessed for WFP.

 

Receiving maintenance

If you are receiving any contributions towards your family whether in the form of maintenance payments, or by contributions towards rent/mortgage payments, school expenses, etc. from an ex-spouse, ex-partner, ex-cohabitant, or the parent(s) of your child(ren), they are all treated as maintenance payments. These maintenance payments are assessed as income for WFP.

Only one WFP payment can be made for a family. The parent from whom you are getting maintenance must not be getting WFP for a child you want to claim WFP for. A parent getting maintenance for a qualified child will also have that maintenance assessed for WFP purposes.

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Contact Us

Telephone

You can speak, in complete confidence, to an Information Officer in the Information and Advocacy section directly at 01 - 856 0088 , Monday - Thursday 9.30 am to 5.00 pm and Friday 9.30am to 4.00pm.

Online

Use the online Contact Us form on the INOU website

E-mail

You can send your query directly to us by e-mail at welfare@inou.ie