Back to Work Family Dividend
What is the Back to Work Family Dividend?
The Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) helps families to move from social welfare into employment. It gives financial support to people with children who stop claiming a jobseeker's payment or a One-Parent Family Payment because they are in work or start work. Work includes employment or self-employment.
The BTWFD is paid for up to 2 years. You will be paid a weekly Increase for a Qualified Child (up to a maximum of 4 children) for the first year in employment. Half the weekly amount will be paid in the second year.
To qualify for BTWFD, you and all members of your family (including your adult dependant) must sign off all primary social welfare payments. The BTWFD can be paid with the Working Family Payment and some other non-primary social welfare payments. You can also claim certain short-term illness and injury benefits with BTWFD for up to 36 days - see 'Other payments and BTWFD' below.
You must satisfy the habitual residence condition to get BTWFD.
How to qualify for the Back to Work Family Dividend
You can get the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) if you have at least one qualified child and you are getting one of the following payments:
- Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit for at least 12 months (312 days of unemployment) of which at least 6 months (156 days of unemployment) must have been in the last year
- One-Parent Family Payment (OFP)
- Jobseeker’s Transitional payment (paid to people who are not cohabiting with children aged between 7 and 13 years)
You must stop claiming your qualifying payment to get BTWFD.
If you are not already in insurable employment or self-employment, you must take up employment within 4 weeks of leaving your original payment or scheme. The employment must be in the State.
You can combine time on a jobseeker’s payment with time spent on a qualifying scheme to meet the eligibility requirements. If you went from a qualifying payment to a qualifying scheme and then find work, you can go directly onto the BTWFD scheme without having to sign back onto your original payment.
Qualifying schemes are:
- Community Employment
- Rural Social Scheme
- Back to Education Allowance
- Job Initiative Scheme
If you went from a qualifying payment to a qualifying scheme and then find work you can go directly onto the BTWFD scheme without having to sign back onto your original payment.
If you were employed or self-employed and were getting a One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) and your OFP has stopped because your youngest child has reached the age limit you may be eligible for BTWFD – if you do not sign onto another primary social welfare payment.
The Back to Work Family Dividend can be paid with Working Family Payment (WFP) and is not taken into account in the means test for WFP.
Other payments and BTWFD
You are not eligible for BTWFD if you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is getting a primary social welfare payment or is on an employment or training scheme. You cannot get BTWFD for a child on whose behalf an IQC or IQA is being paid or who is getting a payment in their own right. BTWFD is not paid with the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance.
BTWFD can be paid with the following payments (to you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant):
- Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
- Child Benefit
- Disablement Benefit and Death Benefit (under the OIB scheme)
- Domiciliary Care Allowance
- Working Family Payment
- Additional Needs Payment
- Guardian’s Payment (Non-Contributory)
- Illness Benefit and Injury Benefit (under the OIB scheme) for 36 days
- Mortgage Interest Supplement
- Rent Supplement
- Widowed or Surviving Civil Partner Grant
BTWFD is not assessed as means for Rent Supplement.
You can claim BTWFD and Illness Benefit or Injury Benefit (under the OIB scheme) for 36 days (6 weeks). Your BTWFD will be suspended after the 36th day of your Illness or Injury Benefit claim.
State Pension (Contributory) and BTWFD
From January 2024, you can choose to claim your State Pension (Contributory) any time between age 66 and 70.
If you defer claiming your pension to after age 66, and you qualify for BTWFD, you may be able to apply for or continue to get BTWFD until you turn 70. You must meet all the usual qualifying conditions, including coming from a relevant payment.
If you are age 66 or over, you must apply for BTWFD using a paper application available from your local Intreo Office or Social Welfare Branch Office.
How long is Back to Work Family Dividend paid?
BTWFD will last for up to 2 years, if you remain in work.
If you claim a primary social welfare payment at any time within the 2-year period, the BTWFD payment will stop. If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant claims a payment, the BTWFD payment will also stop.
If you lose your job and claim a social welfare payment the BTWFD stops but it may restart if you get a new job – to a maximum of 2 restarts for each claimant.
Rate of Back to Work Family Dividend
The Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) is based on the rate of Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) you were getting with your social welfare payment. It is paid for each child (up to a limit of 4 children).
If you were getting a reduced IQC with your payment, you will get the same reduced amount BTWFD in your first year, and then half of that amount in the second year.
From January 2024, the full BTWFD is €46 for a child aged under 12 and €54 for a child aged 12 and over. In the second year, it is reduced to €23 for a child aged under 12 and €27 for a child aged 12 and over.
Weekly Back to Work Family Dividend rate from January 2024
Age of child
Full rate for the first year
Half rate for the second year
12 or over
You will be paid weekly in arrears by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) only.
BTWFD is not taxable.
How to apply for the Back to Work Family Dividend
To apply, fill in the Back to Work Family Dividend application form (pdf) and return it, with the relevant supporting documentation, to your local Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office.
You can contact your local office to get more information on the scheme. They will explain how the application process works and give you the application form. You can also get the form online (pdf).
You can appeal a decision on your claim to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.
You are generally paid BTWFD from the date of your claim. Deciding officers can backdate BTWFD for up to 6 months from your claim if there was good cause for the delay.
Where to apply for the Back to Work Family Dividend
Send your application for the Back to Work Family Dividend to your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office.