Rent Supplement

You may qualify for a Rent Supplement if you live in private rented accommodation and are unable to meet the cost of your rent. You must be in receipt of either a Social Welfare payment or Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) payment in order to receive this Supplement.

Community Welfare Service (CWS) Officers in local Health Centres have guidelines on what is considered reasonable accommodation for your family size and there are specific 'caps' or limits on the maximum amount of rent you are allowed to pay to a landlord in order to qualify for a Rent Supplement. View a list of Maximum Rent Levels in various parts of the country here.

If your rent is above the maximum 'cap' or limit for your family size the Health Board can refuse to pay any rent supplement.

Each Health Board area has its own maximum rent levels and different levels apply to single people, couples and couples/lone parents with children. Contact the INOU for more information on the different levels.

If you apply for a Rent Supplement you will be referred to your local authority for an 'assessment of housing needs'. You may not qualify for a rent supplement until a housing assessment has been completed by the local authority.

Some of the most common reasons that people do not qualify for a rent supplement are:

  • The rent is too high
  • Your income is too high
  • One member of the household is working full-time (over 30 hours per week or more)

Covid 19 and Rent Supplement

Legislation was introduced to prevent both the termination of residential tenancies and any rent increases for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While tenants are expected to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rent Supplement is available to you if you are struggling to pay.

There are new Rent Supplement rules for applicants who apply on or after 13 March 2020. These rules will be in place until 31 March 2021:

  • You can qualify for Rent Supplement if you or your partner are working more than 30 hours per week and you have had a reduction in your income from work due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • You must have been in your current tenancy for more than 4 weeks and could have continued to paid your rent from your own resources, but for the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19 and are medically required to self-isolate, your Rent Supplement can be processed and paid immediately.
  • You will be assessed for Rent Supplement using a higher Supplementary Welfare Allowance rate.

If your Rent Supplement continues after 31 March 2021, it will be reviewed and the existing Rent Supplement rules, guidelines and means assessment will apply.

Contact Us


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.


Use the online Contact Us form on the INOU website


You can send your query directly to us by e-mail at 

Updated: 25/01/2021