Rent Supplement

CLICK on a link to bring you directly to your query

 

Rent Supplement
Rent Supplement is a short-term income support paid to people living in private rented accommodation who cannot provide for the cost of their accommodation which can include a loss of earnings due to becoming unemployed.
In the past, Rent Supplement was perceived as an alternative to social housing with tenants seeking Rent Supplement to meet their long term housing needs. The Housing Assistance Payment Scheme (HAP), introduced in 2014, has replaced Rent Supplement’s role in this regard, with Rent Supplement reverting to its original intended role as a short term income support. As Rent Supplement reverts to its originally conceived role those in receipt of Rent Supplement with long term social housing needs are being transferred to HAP.
Where a short term income support is required, rent supplement support is normally calculated to ensure that a person, after the payment of rent, has an income equal to the rate of supplementary welfare allowance appropriate to their family circumstances less a minimum contribution towards their accommodation costs.

Rent Supplement – Personal Contribution
Rent supplement recipients are required to pay a contribution from their own income towards their rent. The standard minimum contribution is €30.00 for single persons and €40.00 for couples plus any assessable means in excess of the basic SWA rates (subject to any disregards) towards reasonable rent costs. Young people, 18-24 years of age, on reduced rates of Jobseekers or Supplementary Welfare Allowance who are living independently pay a reduced minimum contribution of between €10 and €30.

Rent Supplement – Over Rent Supplement Limits:
In some cases Rent Supplement can be paid at the discretion of the DEASP staff administering the Rent Supplement scheme where the rent is over the relevant limit. This applies both to people getting Rent Supplement and new applicants.

Rent Supplement – Over Minimum Contribution Levels:
Many recipients pay more than €30 or €40 minimum contribution because they have been assessed as having access to additional means (income) above the basic SWA rate. As such, they are expected to make a greater contribution to the payment of their rent.

Rent Supplement – Eligibility:
To qualify for consideration for a Rent Supplement you need to meet one the following conditions:
• You were getting Rent Supplement in the 12 months before the date of your application for Rent Supplement Or
• You were living in private rented accommodation for at least 6 months (183 days) of the last 12 months, you could afford the rent at the beginning of your tenancy and you are unable to continue to pay the rent
because of a substantial change in your circumstances which occurred after you started renting. You can combine time living in more than one rented accommodation to satisfy the 6 months (183 days). Rent Supplement is also available for those persons who have been residing for 183 days or more during the 12 months immediately before the application in an Institution or accommodation for homeless persons as provided under section 10 of the Housing Act 1988, and have not been determined as qualified for social housing support by a housing authority.
Applicants who do not satisfy these conditions will be referred immediately to their local housing authority to have their housing needs assessed. The claimant’s eligibility for social housing support, which includes HAP,  will be
determined by their respective local authority.
As part of the transfer process from Rent Supplement to HAP, those who have long term social housing needs, i.e., people in receipt of rent supplement for over 18 months, are being requested to contact their Local Authority to have their housing needs assessed. It is necessary to apply for a social housing needs assessment within 6 weeks of being asked to do so by your CWO. If necessary, an extra 6 weeks can be allowed to make an application, this extension is at the discretion of the CWO dealing with the your case. Back to top of page

Rent Supplement – Exclusions:
Rent Supplement will not be paid where an applicant has:
• left private rented accommodation, local authority accommodation or social housing accommodation without just cause or good reason;
• left the family home with an intention to seek to rely on the state for housing supports;
• been excluded from private rented accommodation, local authority accommodation or social housing accommodation for anti-social behaviour;
• been refused a second offer of local authority housing, or has left such housing without reasonable cause;
• Has failed to make a housing needs assessment application to their local
authority, upon request by an officer of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) or fails to cooperate with their respective local authority in the processing of their housing needs assessment application. Click to go to top of page

Rent Supplement – Landlord Registered for Tax
Rent Supplement may not be payable in respect of a tenancy where the landlord:
• has not provided the Department of Employment Affairs and Social
Protection with a Tax Reference Number (normally their PPS number), or
• has not advised the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection that she/he has no Tax Reference Number and has not notified the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection of the reasons
why she/he has no Tax Reference Number. Click to go to top of page

Rent Supplement – Additional Income from Employment
Taking up part-time insurable employment can affect your Rent Supplement. Additional Income, that is any income which is in excess of your appropriate Supplementary Welfare Allowance personal rate, is assessed in the following way:
• The first €75 of ‘additional household income’ is disregarded.
• Then 25% of any additional household income over the initial €75 (which is fully disregarded) is also disregarded.
• There is no upper limit for the amount of income to which this 25% additional income disregard can be used for when calculating your contribution towards your rent.
• Rent supplement will continue to provide an income support until your ‘personal contribution towards your rent’ equals your current rental payment. Click to go to top of page

Rent Supplement – other Additional Household Income
When calculating entitlement to a Rent Supplement ‘additional household income’ is money that comes from:
• Part-time employment or self-employment (under 30 hours per week)
• Full-time employment or full-time self-employment (30 hours or over per week – if one of a couple is in full time employment, both are excluded from claiming Rent Supplement) only where a person is accepted as in
need of accommodation by a Local Authority under the Rental Accommodation Scheme. Click to go to top of page


PLEASE NOTE: Different rules apply where a person is officially on the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) with a Local Authority and paying differen tial rent.


• Any employment or scheme i.e. Community Employment (CE), Tús, the Rural Social Scheme, Part-time Job Incentive Scheme, Skillnet, Work Placement Scheme, Back to Work Allowance, Back to Work Enterprise
Allowance or a FET (formerly FÁS) course.
• Working Family Payment (WFP)
• The value of all property of which the Department determine the person deprived themselves of in order to qualify for SWA. (If you disagree with any decision of the Department in relation to the disposal of any property you may have the right of appeal).
• Maintenance Payments of over €95.23. Payments in excess of €170.23 (€95.23 max maintenance limit + €75 ‘additional household income’) are assessed as ‘additional household income’, with the amount over €170.23
disregarded at 25% of its value. Where assessable ‘additional household income’ is over €75, the amount over
the €75 will be disregarded at 25% of its value:

Example
Additional Household Income = €125
Step 1: First €75 disregarded = balance €50
(€125 minus €75 = €50)
Step 2: Amount over €75 disregarded at 25% of its value
(€50 x 25%) = €12.50. Total disregard: €87.50
Step 3: Add Household Income €125 – Total Disregard €87.50
Rent Supplement reduced by €37.50 (€125 - €87.50)

Click to go to top of page

Example 1: Single person on Jobseeker’s Allowance (€203.00) with no other income
Single Rate Jobseeker’s Allowance €203.00
Basic SWA rate for a single person – €201.00
Additional income above Basic SWA rate €2.00
Private Rented Accommodation per week €105.00
Minus minimum personal contribution (person pays) – €30.00
Maximum Rent Supplement payable per week (DEASP) €75.00
Minus additional income above Basic SWA rate – €2.00
Rent Supplement payable (DEASP) €73.00

Click to go to top of page

Example 2:
Single person on Jobseeker’s Allowance working part-time (under 30 hours) with €150 additional household income
Private Rented Accommodation per week € 105.00
Minus minimum personal contribution (person pays) – € 30.00
Maximum Rent Supplement payable per week (DEASP) € 75.00
Standard Jobseekers Payment € 203.00
Earnings from Employment over 3 days € 150.00
Revised Jobseekers Payment based on assessment of earnings* € 149.00
*(see Chapter 4 for Jobseeker’s Allowance and assessment of additional income)
New total income (revised Jobseeker’s Allowance and income from work) € 299.00
Additional Household Income above SWA rate (SWA rate €201) € 98.00
Automatic €75 disregard on additional income – € 75.00
Disregard of 25% the remaining amount (€23 - 25%) – € 5.75
Total Disregard (€75 + €5.75) € 80.75
Amount Assessed against Rent Supplement (€98.00 - €80.75) € 17.25
Rent contribution – person (€30.00 + €17.25) € 47.25
Rent Supplement payable by DEASP (€105 - €47.25) € 57.75

Click to go to top of page


Rent Supplement – Allowed Expenses
When calculating a person’s additional household income, PRSI and reasonable travelling expenses can be disregarded. In addition, certain lunch, travel allow ances or childcare allowances paid to participants may also be disregarded. Income Tax will not be disregarded. Click to go to top of page

 

Rent Supplement – Non-dependent household members
Non-dependent household members, i.e. children or other family members, receiving a Social Welfare payment in their own right, must contribute a minimum of €30 for a single person, €40 for a couple, towards the rent (Unless
they have already been subjected to the Benefit and Privilege assessment).

Where non-dependent household members are working, their assessable income (i.e. gross, less PRSI and travel to work expenses) is divided by the appropriate rate of SWA (€201 for a single person) which is then multiplied
by €30 to establish their liability. Click to go to top of page

 

Rent Supplement – Maintenance Payments
The first €95.23 per week of a maintenance payment is counted in full as means when calculating entitlement to Rent Supplement. Any maintenance payments in excess of €170.23 (€95.23 max maintenance limit + €75
‘additional household income’) will be assessed as ‘additional household income’, with the amount over €170.23 disregarded at 25% of its value. Click to go to top of page

 

Rent Supplement – Disability Allowance (DA) / Blind Pension (BP):
Up to €120 of earnings from training or part time employment can be disregarded if you are getting Disability Allowance or Blind Pension. This disregard cannot be used together with ‘the additional income disregard’ –
only one of the disregards can be applied. The officer dealing with your case will apply whichever is the most beneficial for your circumstances. Click to go to top of page

 

Rent Supplement – Returning to Full-Time employment
Persons accepted as being in need of accommodation under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) may continue to receive a Rent Supplement and return to full-time employment subject to satisfying a means test. To
qualify the person must not have been in full-time employment (i.e. 30 hours or more per week) in the previous 12-month period immediately before seeking to retain their Rent Supplement.
Where a person has participated in Community Employment (CE) or the Back To Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme (BTWEA) they will be eligible to retain their Rent Supplement if returning to full-time work – subject to qualifying for the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS). Click to go to top of page

 

Rent Supplement – when Taking up Employment
A person who is not entitled to retain Rent Supplement on taking up full employment may continue to receive payment of Rent Supplement for a period of up to 30 days after starting work or until such time as he or she first
receives remuneration, whichever is the earlier – (section 3.6 SWA Rent Supplement Operational Guidelines on www.welfare.ie

Click to go to top of page


Rent Supplement – Full-time work
Where one member of a household is working full-time (i.e. if one of a couple is working 30 hours or more) both partners will be excluded from receiving a rent supplement. This does not apply where the claimant has been accepted as ‘in need of accommodation’ by a Local Authority under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and their spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is not in full-time employment. Click to go to top of page

 

Rent Supplement – Renting from a Parent
You cannot qualify for Rent Supplement to help you pay rent to your parent if you are living in the family home. If your parent owns a second property, you will generally not get Rent Supplement to rent this property from them unless it is a bona fide tenancy and you are assessed as having a housing need. Your parent/s must also be able to prove that they have a history of renting this property. Click to go to top of page


Rent Supplement – Sharing with your landlord:
You may be entitled to get Rent Supplement if you are living in your landlord’s home. It must be a genuine landlord/tenant arrangement. Your landlord has to fill in part of the form and provide his or her PPS number.

Click to go to top of page

Rent Supplement – Levels of Acceptable Rent
When assessing applications for Rent Supplement, the Department will use guidelines on what is considered reasonable accommodation for individual or household needs. Rent supplements are subject to a limit on the amount of rent that an applicant for rent supplement may incur. The limits vary according to geographic location and family size.
The rent supplement will generally cover rent up to the amount set out in the regulations. If your rent is above the maximum ‘cap’ or limit for your family size the DEASP can refuse to pay any rent supplement. The Department of
Employment Affairs and Social Protection can ask you to move to cheaper rented accommodation if they think your accommodation is too expensive. It is essential that you keep the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection informed of any change in your circumstances. Contact the INOU on (01) 8560088 or by e-mail:  e-mail: welfare@inou.ie for details of rent limits in your area. Click to go to top of page

 

Rent Supplement – Reduction in Rents
If your rent is above the maximum limits, or your rent has been increased above the maximum rent supplement levels, you will be asked to approach your landlord to have your rent reduced. If the landlord will not reduce your
rent you should contact your local rents unit to discuss your options. You may be asked to move to cheaper accommodation. If you believe your rent is above market rates you can submit a complaint to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB). Please contact the INOU for further information or assistance. Click to go to top of page

 

Rent Supplement – Worried about losing your home?
Under the National Tenancy Sustainment Framework (NTSF), DEASP staff administering the scheme can provide additional financial support where:
• A landlord increases / provides a rent above the prevailing maximum rent limit; or,
• If you or a member of your household requires specially adapted accommodation due to a disability.
Under this Framework each tenant’s circumstances are considered on a caseby-case basis, and rents can be increased above prescribed limits as appropriate. Community Welfare Service (CWS) staff who administer the rent
supplement scheme have a statutory discretionary power to award or increase a supplement for rental purposes, for example, when dealing with applicants who are at risk of losing their tenancy.
In addition, the Protocol arrangement in place with Threshold continues to operate in the areas where supply issues are particularly acute covering Dublin, Cork, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow and Galway City.
Any person who is having difficulty with their Rent Supplement, for whatever reason, is advised to contact their local CWS Officer as soon as possible. If you are in receipt of rent supplement and worried about losing your home, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection may be able to provide the additional support you need. Please do not ignore the situation and contact the Community Welfare Service that is dealing with your rent
supplement claim as soon as possible.
If you believe your rent is above market rates, or an increase has been requested which is higher than the 4% Rent Pressure Zone cap, you can submit a complaint to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB). Please contact the INOU.

Click to go to top of page