What Is the Supplementary Welfare Allowance?

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With inflation biting into people’s income, more and more are looking to the government to help them out with their living costs. With food, fuel, energy and other living costs reaching all time highs, it’s important that people are still able to pay for the essentials. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the Supplementary Welfare Allowance in Ireland so you know how you can qualify and how to apply!

What Is the Supplementary Welfare Allowance?

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The Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) is a weekly payment that’s given to individuals and families in Ireland who aren’t earning enough income to cover their living expenses such as your food, energy, broadband and even waste collection. Also, with rents being exacerbated by the housing crisis, tenants are finding it more difficult than ever to pay their rent.

The Supplementary Welfare Allowance can be accessed by filling out the Supplementary Welfare Allowance form and is used to cover you especially if you’re in a situation where your income is lower and you need help just to tie you over. You can even combine with other welfare payments such as the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and the Rent Supplement.

Who Qualifies for the Supplementary Welfare Allowance?

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In order to get the Supplementary Welfare Allowance, you’ll usually need to either have no income for the basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance, or have an income that’s lower than the weekly rate.

You can usually apply for the Supplementary Welfare Allowance if you meet any of the following:

  • Be living in the Republic of Ireland
  • Pass the means test for your income
  • Applied for other welfare benefits
  • Registered at your Intreo centre

You generally won’t be able to apply for the Supplementary Welfare Allowance if you are:

You will also be able to apply for the Supplementary Welfare Allowance if you’ve either applied for your pension, other welfare benefits or you’re waiting for your first salary from a new job.

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How Am I Assessed for the Supplementary Welfare Allowance?


The Supplementary Welfare Allowance is means-tested, meaning that when you apply for the Supplementary Welfare Allowance, your income and your situation will be assessed to determine whether you are eligible and how much you will receive in payments.

What Does the Means Test Include?

The Department of Social Protection will conduct the means-test on your financial situation on both your cash income and your current capital so that you receive the right amount for your Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

  1. Cash Income
    Your cash income is how much you receive on a regular basis as part of your income. This can include your salary from either employment or self-employment or it can also include welfare payments if you are receiving any other benefits. If you have a spouse, civil partner or are cohabiting, your joint income will be assessed.
  2. Capital
    The capital in the assessment includes the value of any savings, investments or other assets such as property other than your own home. The first €5,000 of any capital your own is not counted in the means test.
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How Much Is the Supplementary Welfare Allowance?

The amount you receive for the Supplementary Welfare Allowance depends on your age and your situation. For example, if you’re older and living alone, you will get a different rate to someone who has dependents. The Supplementary Welfare Allowance rates are paid weekly so you’ll need to collect it every seven days.

How Is the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Calculated?

The Supplementary Welfare Allowance is calculated based on the age of the applicant and the number of dependents. The maximum payment for an individual who is 25 or older is €206 a week. If an individual has any dependents, this €206 base will increase by €138 for each adult dependent and 40-42€ for each child. If you’re under 25 and are living at home, you will receive €117.70.

Supplementary Welfare Allowance Example For example, say you are 34 years old and have three children and are applying for the Supplementary Welfare Allowance. You will qualify for the basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance and for the increase for child dependents:

Basic allowance: €206
2 children over 12: €42 x 2 children = €84
1 children under 12: €40

This means the total Supplementary Welfare Allowance you’ll receive is €330 a week or €1320 a month.

What Are the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Rates?

Here are the Supplementary Welfare Allowance rates in a bit more detail:

Situation Basic Rate Adult Dependents Children (over 12) Dependents Children (under 12) Dependents
Adults over 25 €206 +€138 each +€42 each +€40 each
Adults under 24 living independently €206 +€138 each +€42 each +€40 each
Adults under 24 not living independently €117.70 +€117.70 each - -

Last updated: 16/08/2022
Source: Citizens Information

For adults under 24 who are living independently or have children dependents, they qualify automatically for the full basic rate of €206. You will also qualify if you are on any other state housing support programmes.

How To Apply for the Supplementary Welfare Allowance


In order to apply for the Supplementary Welfare Allowance, you’ll need to fill in the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Form, also known as the SWA 1 form. You can download the SWA 1 form from the Irish government website or you can apply for a Community Welfare Services portal.

What Do I Need for the SWA 1 Form?

Once you have the SWA 1 form printed, you’ll need to fill it in with your information in order to get the Supplementary Welfare Allowance. You’ll need to fill it in with black ink and in the block letters so it’s clear to scan.

Before you start, make you have all the information with you:

  • Address
  • Personal Public Service Number (PPS)
  • Public Service Card (PSC) or Photographic ID
  • Bank details such as your IBAN
  • Evidence for your financial situation

How Do I Fill In the SWA 1 Form?

There are five parts to the SWA 1 that you need to complete. Each part will require you to fill in the details about your finances and also the profile of your dependents involved in the Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

  1. Personal Details
    The first part requires you to fill in your personal details. You’ll need to indicate why you’re applying for the Supplementary Welfare Payments and include your first name, surname, PPS number, address and date of birth. You’ll also need to fill in your contact details including your phone number and email address. Finally, you’ll need to add details about your financial situation including income and savings.
  2. Spouse, Partner or Cohabitant’s Details
    For the second part, you’ll need to add the details of your spouse, partner or cohabitant. You’ll need to fill in their financial details along with their PPS number.
  3. Children’s Details
    In the third part, you’ll need to provide a list of all your children and whether they live with you or not. You should also include your children aged 18-22 if they are in full-time education.
  4. Payment Details
    For the fourth part, you should fill in how you want to be paid. You can either have it pay electronically, collect it in cash at the post office, or nominate a third party to receive it for you. You’ll need to know your financial details or the address of your post office.
  5. Declaration and Signature
    Lastly, you need to sign and date the form stating that everything you have put in the form is truthful and accurate.

After completing the form, you can then send it back to your local Intreo Centre or any office that handles the Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

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