Marital status and social welfare entitlements
For the purposes of most social welfare payments in Ireland (for example, Jobseeker's Allowance and Supplementary Welfare Allowance), couples who are cohabiting (living together) are treated in the same way as married couples or civil partners. However, your marital status can affect your entitlement to certain social welfare payments.
One-Parent Family Payment
One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) is not paid to a person who is in a relationship and living with that person whether they are of the opposite or of the same sex. To qualify for OFP, you must be widowed, separated, divorced, unmarried, have a dissolved civil partnership, or be a prisoner’s spouse or civil partner. You must not be cohabiting. Cohabiting is when a couple in a relationship live together, but they are not married or in a civil partnership.
If you separate, divorce or dissolve your civil partnership, you must live apart for at least 3 months before making a claim for One-Parent Family Payment. If you are cohabiting and your relationship breaks down, you can apply without having to wait 3 months.
Jobseeker's Transitional Payment
You may get Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment (JST), if you have children and do not qualify for OFP.
You cannot get JST if you are living with your spouse, partner or civil partner. If you are married and separate, you must be separated for 3 months before you can get Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment .
If you are cohabiting (living with someone and in a relationship) and your relationship breaks down, you can apply for Jobseeker's Transitional Payment from the first day you become a lone parent.
Widow's/Widower's or Surviving CivilPartner's Pension
Your marital status does affect your entitlement to Widow's/Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory) Pension or Widow's/Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Contributory) Pension. You can only claim a Widow's/Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Pension if your spouse or civil partner dies. The pension remains payable while you remain widowed or a surviving civil partner. If you re-marry or start to cohabit, it is no longer payable.
Widowed or Surviving Civil Partner’s Grant
Your marital status affects your entitlement to the Widowed or Surviving Civil Partner’s Grant.
The Widowed or Surviving Civil Partner Grant is a once-off payment to widows, widowers or surviving civil partners with dependent children. Cohabitants are not eligible for the grant.
Further information about how your marital status can affect your entitlements is available from your local social welfare office. Staff can explain your entitlements and help you to fill in forms. In the case of Supplementary Welfare Allowance, contact the Community Welfare Officer in your local Intreo centre or social welfare branch office.