Disability Allowance

Introduction

To qualify for Disability Allowance (DA) you must:

  • Have an injury, disease or physical or mental disability that has continued or may be expected to continue for at least one year;
  • As a result of this disability you must be substantially restricted in undertaking work that would otherwise be suitable for a person of your age, experience and qualifications;
  • Be aged between 16 and 66;
  • Satisfy a means test
  • Satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition

Rates of Payment

Personal Allowance = €203.00 (maximum rate)
Qualified Adult = €134.70 (full rate)
Each Qualified Child = €34.00 (full rate) – under 12
€37.00 (full rate) – 12 and over
Living Alone Increase = €9.00

Duration of payment

You will continue to receive a Disability Allowance payment if you satisfy the medical qualification conditions, Habitual Residence Condition (HRC) and the means test. There is no cap or limit on the amount of time that you can receive a Disability Allowance payment provided you satisfy the conditions and areaged 16 or over and under 66.

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Medical Review

Your Disability Allowance claim can be subject to medical review by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) during the course of your claim.

Any such medical review will be conducted in order to determine if you continue to meet the medical criteria for qualification and if you continue to remain substantially restricted in undertaking work that would otherwise be suitable for a person of your age, experience and qualifications.

This can include referral to a DEASP Medical Assessor or referral to your GP for an updated assessment of your disability. Where such review finds that you are no longer ‘substantially restricted in undertaking work’ and your Disability Allowance payment is affected, you have the right to seek a review of any decision and may have the right to appeal the decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office – See more information on Appeals here.

Rehabilitative Work

If you are in receipt of Disability Allowance (DA) you are allowed to participate in approved ‘rehabilitative’ work (employment or self-employment) and retain some or all of your Disability Allowance (DA) payment. You must notify Disability Allowance Section in the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) before taking-up any work.

You must submit a letter from your doctor confirming that the work you propose to undertake is rehabilitative in nature. Failure to notify the Department before taking up rehabilitative employment/self-employment could result in a suspension/withdrawal of your payment and an assessment of over-payment against you.

Rent Supplement

Any additional income from employment, or self-employment, may affect the amount of Rent Supplement you may receive. 

Housing

Any additional income from employment, or self-employment, may result in an increase in Local Authority rent (differential rent) or the amount of rent you must pay under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) or Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).

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Ability / Capacity / Qualification

If you are in receipt of Disability Allowance (DA) payment you are allowed to participate in approved ‘rehabilitative’ work, voluntary work and education / training.

While there is no limit on the number of hours you may engage in such, you must be mindful of how the nature, extent, duration of the engagement or number of hours that you engage in rehabilitative work / voluntary work / education or training may be considered as a determinate factor in deciding if your disability continues to substantially restrict you undertaking work that would otherwise be suitable for a person of your age, experience and qualifications and your underlying qualification for a Disability Allowance payment.

Rehabilitative Work – Assessment of Earnings

Income from rehabilitative work is assessed as follows. The first €120 per week will not affect the Disability Allowance payment. Earnings between €120 and €350 are assessed at 50%. A sliding scale is then used to calculate the actual value of the means as it will affect the payment. Income over €350 is fully assessed euro for euro – for example:

Income from rehabilitative work = €200
Rehabilitative earnings disregard = €120
Balance = €80
Actual assessable income from employment = €40
Sliding scale value of assessable income = €37.50
Result – DA payment will be reduced by = €37.50 per week

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Returning to Employment

EmployAbility Services

The Nationwide EmployAbility Service provides an employment support service for people with a health condition, injury, illness or disability. The supports offered are:

  • Individual Needs Assessment • Vocational Profiling and Career
  • Job Sourcing Planning
  • On-the-job Support and Coaching
  • Follow-up Support and Mentoring

Please contact your local Intreo or LES office for further information.

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance

If you wish to pursue self-employment as a full-time option you can apply for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance through the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

Community Employment

Participants on Community Employment (CE) schemes cannot claim another Social Welfare payment at the same time.

JobsPlus

Persons in receipt of Disability Allowance do not qualify to participate on JobsPlus.

Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS)

Persons in receipt of OFP may be eligible to participate on the YESS.

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Additional Information

Training Courses (not CE)

Persons on Disability Allowance are allowed to participate on Training Courses. The Disability Allowance payment may be suspended for the duration of the course and a Training Allowance may be paid instead. Participants can receive a weekly training bonus. When the course is over the person will go back on their Disability Allowance, subject to their continuing to meet the medical criteria.

Means Test

The means test to qualify for Disability Allowance is the same as Jobseeker’s Allowance, with the exception that the capital disregard for Disability Allowance is €50,000 (i.e. the first €50,000 of savings or investments will not affect your payment).

Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant Working

If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant works, is engaged in self-employment or has an income from a course of training or education, their income could affect your Disability Allowance payment – even if you are not claiming for them as a Qualified Adult on your Disability Allowance payment.

Maintenance

Persons receiving maintenance while on Disability Allowance may be allowed up to €95.23 of maintenance against rent or mortgage costs, with half the remaining amount assessed as means on a euro-for-euro basis. Proof of rent/mortgage payments is required.

SWA Payments

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection may have the discretion to allow a person to access certain Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) payments, if a case can be made to show that an exceptional need exists. This includes the Exceptional Needs Payments and Urgent Needs Payments. 

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Moving from Illness Benefit to Disability Allowance

If you are advised by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection that you are about to exhaust your entitlement to an Illness Benefit payment, and if you do not qualify for an Invalidity Pension payment, you may be able to apply for Disability Allowance. As this is a means tested payment you will need to check out if your payment will be affected by:

  • any rehabilitative employment you are engaged in, or
  • employment/self-employment your spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is engaged in, or
  • any means (savings, investments, property etc.) you or your partner may have


Illness Benefit is a non-means tested payment, whereas Disability Allowance is means tested. As such you will also need to be aware that the value of any other income, savings, capital, investments or property other than your own home and how this could affect your entitlement to Disability Allowance. The capital disregard, i.e. money in the bank/building society/post office/credit union, for Disability Allowance is €50,000.

Moving from Illness Benefit

Moving from Illness Benefit to Disability Allowance is not an automatic process– you must make an application for Disability Allowance to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection which will be subject to a medical assessment to determine if you satisfy the medical requirements.

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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