Working Family Payment

Print page


  • Introduction
  • Rules
  • Rates
  • How to apply
  • Where to apply
  • Introduction

    Working Family Payment (WFP) is a weekly tax-free payment available to employees with children. It gives extra financial support to people on low pay. You cannot qualify for WFP if you are self-employed - you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant  must be an employee to qualify.

    You must have at least one child who normally lives with you or is financially supported by you. Your child must be under 18 years of age or between 18 and 22 years of age and in full-time education.

    To qualify for WFP, your average weekly family income must be below a certain amount for your family size. The WFP you receive is 60% of the difference between your average weekly family income and the income limit which applies to your family. For more information about average family income see ‘Rates’ below.

    Your WFP payment is not taxed. If you are getting WFP you may also be entitled to the

    Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance. Your income from WFP is not taken into account in the assessment for a medical card.

    The Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) and WFP can be paid together and the BTWFD will not be taken into account in the income test for WFP.

    Budget 2019:introduced a maintenance payment disregard for the WFP. With a value of €95.23 per week, this brings WFP into line with other social assistance schemes.


    WFP is a tax-free weekly payment for employees who:

    • 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, Gateway, Tús or the Rural Social Scheme) to meet this condition.
    • Have employment which is likely to last at least 3 months
    • Have one or more children who normally live with you and
    • Earn less than an amount set according to your family size

    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.

    However, in the following 2 circumstances, your weekly rate of WFP can be revised during the year:

    • If you start to care for an additional child your WFP rate can be increased.
    • If you were getting a One-Parent Family Payment and your payment stopped because your youngest child reached the relevant OFP age limit your WFP rate can be revised (by disregarding the rate of OFP assessed in your most recent WFP income test).


    Job changes

    If your pay from work is reduced your Working Family Payment (WFP) payment 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 usually paid for 52 weeks. At the end of the 52 weeks, you can re-apply for WFP.)

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

    If you move to a new job, your current entitlement to WFP will cease and you must notify the WFP section. You may re-apply for WFP for your new job.

    If you lose your job you are no longer entitled to WFP. You must notify the WFP section.

    Getting WFP with other social welfare payments

    You cannot get WFP if you are on one of the following schemes or social welfare payments:

    Your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant can claim WFP while you are getting one of these payments. However an Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA) will no longer be paid and your social welfare payment will be assessed as income for their WFP payment. Any Increase for a Qualified Child will be affected. Similarly if your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is getting one of these payments, you can qualify for WFP but an IQA will no longer be paid for you.

    If you are parenting alone you may be entitled to WFP in addition to your One-Parent Family Payment or Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory) Pension.

    You can get Illness Benefit or Injury Benefit while you are getting WFP (for 6 consecutive weeks). If you are out of work for more than 6 consecutive weeks payment of WFP is suspended until you return to work and send a final certificate into the Illness Benefit or Occupational Injury Benefit section or until your WFP award period expires (whichever is the earlier).

    Under the Maternity Protection Act 1994, a woman on maternity or adoptive leave is entitled to be treated as if she is in employment. This means that she can claim WFP (provided she meets the conditions of the WFP payment and has a family – a pregnant woman who has no other children does not qualify for WFP until the birth of the baby). Your income must be less than the income limit for your family size and is normally calculated using your gross earnings to date or your P60. Your WFP claim will then be paid for 52 weeks from the date you applied. You are not entitled to continue to claim WFP if you take additional unpaid maternity or adoptive leave, if you lose your job after returning to work or give up your employment.


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

    • Is living with the children or
    • Is wholly maintaining the  children and the ex-spouse, ex-civil partner or ex-cohabitant with whom the children are living

    Wholly maintaining means that maintenance paid by you, the WFP applicant, must be the main income of your ex-spouse, ex-civil partner or ex-cohabitant. Your former spouse or partner cannot have more than €100 a week income in their own right and cannot be married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting.

    WFP is awarded for 52 weeks. A person included in your WFP award cannot be paid WFP in their own right or be included in another WFP claim during that 52 week period.

    Paying maintenance
    If you are a separated parent and paying maintenance you may qualify for WFP. To qualify you must be wholly maintaining the children and the  parent with whom the children are living. Only one WFP payment can be made for a family so the parent to whom you are paying maintenance must not be getting WFP. You must supply written evidence from this person to show that they are getting 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.

    Getting maintenance
    If you are getting maintenance a maintenance disregard of €95.23 per week for housing costs, with the remainder assessed at 50% was introduced in March 2019 to bring it in line with other social assistance schemes. You can only avail of the maintenance disregard on one scheme. Only one WFP payment can be made for a family.

    A parent getting maintenance for a qualified child will also have that maintenance assessed for WFP.


    WFP is calculated on the basis of 60% of the difference between the income limit for the family size and the assessable income of the person(s) raising the child(ren). The combined income of a couple (married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting) is taken into account.

    Income from any source (except for the disregards stated below) is assessed. The WFP income test does not assess capital. The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) does assess income you get from tenants who rent a property you own. The main items counted as income are:

    • Your assessable earnings and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant's assessable earnings. (Assessable earnings are gross pay minus tax, employee PRSI, Universal Social Charge and superannuation (including the Public Service Pension Levy and contributions to Personal Retirement Savings Accounts.) Income from working as a home help is included.
    • 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 and student grants.
    • All family income from carer's payments (Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit).
    • Rental income from the letting of property or land (the capital value is not assessed). The gross rental income is assessed and you cannot deduct mortgage payments or other expenses. Rental income from renting a room in your house is included.

    The following payments do not count as family income:

    Calculating income for WFP

    The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) calculates your assessable earnings over a certain period of time.

    Because WFP is paid over 52 weeks the DEASP tries to calculate your average earnings over a similar period of time. Normally they will use your latest P60 or your gross earnings up to the date of your application. If you are newly in employment, your average weekly income is calculated from when you started work with that employer.

    Your P60 is also used to calculate your average weekly income when your claim is being renewed. If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is self-employed, his or her income over the 12-month period before you lodge your claim is used to work out his or her average weekly income.

    Again, to qualify, your average weekly family income must be below a certain amount for your family size. You can read examples of calculations on

    WFP income limits in 2019

    If you have: And your weekly family income is less than:
    One Child €521
    Two Children €622
    Three Children €723
    Four Children €834
    Five Children €960
    Six Children €1,076
    Seven Children €1,212
    Eight Children or more €1,308

    These are net income figures, meaning after income tax, Universal Social Charge, employee PRSI, and pension contributions have been deducted.

    It's important to be aware, that if you qualify for WFP, you get a minimum of €20 each week. You can use the Benefit of Work Ready Reckoner from the DEASP to help you assess out the financial consequences of taking up full-time work. The Reckoner works out the total amount you would receive on taking up full-time work (including any Working Family Payment) and compares this to what you are getting in jobseeker payments (including Rent Supplement).

    If you are getting WFP you may also be entitled to the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance.

    How to apply

    To apply fill in an application form for Working Family Payment (pdf). You can get a copy of this form in your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office. If you need help to fill in this form, the staff in your Intreo Centre, Social Welfare Branch Office or
    Citizens Information Centre can help you.

    Renewal applications forms will automatically issue to you approximately 8 weeks prior to your current entitlement expiring.

    To make sure that your application for WFP is processed as quickly as possible, you should include your latest P60 form, your most recent pay slip, and a copy of your Certificate of Tax Credits for the current tax year with your application. If you have not received your P60 send in your week 52 pay slip for the last tax year.

    If you think you have been wrongly refused WFP you can appeal this decision.

    Where to apply - First time applicants

    Send your completed Working Family Payment application form to:

    Working Family Payment (WFP) Section

    Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
    Social Welfare Services Office
    Government Buildings
    Ballinalee Road

    Opening Hours: Phone line: 10:00am -12:30pm & 2.00pm - 4.00pm, Monday to Friday.
    Tel:(043) 334 0053 (If calling from outside the Republic of Ireland please call +353 43 334 0053)
    Locall:1890 92 77 70 (Note: the rates charged for using 1890 (Lo-call) numbers may vary)

    Where to apply - Renewals

    If you are applying to Renew your Working Family Payment please send your completed Renewal form to:

    Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
    Social Welfare Services
    WFP Renewal Section
    Oliver Plunkett Road
    Co. Donegal

    WFP Renewal Opening Hours: Phone Line: 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday
    Call:  (074) 9164575

Last modified:10/06/2019

 Schemes and Services


 Related Topics


 Intreo/Local Office Locator

Search for your local office