Last edited: Jul 3, 2010 I'm a lone parent. What are my entitlements on Social Welfare? The main scheme for lone parents is called the One-parent Family Payment (OFP), which used to be called Lone Parent's Allowance and Unmarried Mother's Allowance. This is a payment for men and women who are bringing children up without the support of a partner. It's payable to an unmarried person, a widowed person, prisoner's spouse, a separated or divorced person, or one whose marriage has been annulled. To get this payment you must meet certain conditions and you must satisfy a means test. If you are divorced or unmarried, you must also have attempted to get maintenance from the child's other parent (father or mother). How do I go about claiming? You can download and fill in the application form. Social Welfare Local Offices now process most OFP claims so you can also send/drop in the completed application to them. Alternatively, you could send it with the relevant supporting documents to the Department of Social and Family Affairs, Pension Services Office, College Road, Sligo. How do I get paid? You can have your payment paid directly into your bank account or collect your money at your local post office. What are the main conditions for getting OFP? You must satisfy a means test and be habitually resident in the state. You cannot be cohabiting (that is, living with someone as husband and wife). If you are separated or divorced you must have been separated for at least three months, have made efforts to get maintenance from your spouse or be inadequately maintained by your spouse. If you are unmarried you must seek maintenance from the other parent of your child(ren). Be aware that you will have to provide evidence of these efforts to get maintenance and Social Welfare may contact the father of your child(ren) when investigating your claim. What is involved in the claim investigation? Most claims are investigated by an inspector calling (usually unnotified) to your home. They will ask questions regarding your means, your efforts to get maintenance, the members of your household and investigate for evidence of co-habitation. This might entail more than one visit. What do I do for money while I'm waiting for a decision on my claim? You can go to your local Community Welfare Officer and apply for Supplementary Welfare Allowance. Are there any other benefits or allowances I can claim? The Household Budget Scheme can help you manage your bills. You may also be eligible for Fuel Allowance. Also, you may be entitled to a medical card, I'm working full-time. Can I still get One-parent Family Payment? Yes, provided your earnings are under €425 per week. The first €146.50 of your gross weekly earnings is not taken into account as means so you can earn up to €146.50 per week and qualify for the full One-Parent Family Payment. Half the remainder of your gross earnings up to €425 per week is assessed as means. If you earn between €146.50 and €425 per week you may qualify for a reduced payment (Social insurance contributions, health contributions, superannuation contributions and trade union subscriptions are not taken into account in the assessment of earnings.) If you are already getting OFP and you find a job earning over €425 per week, you can retain your OFP for 6 months after you start work. You may also have an entitlement to Family Income Supplement if you are working over 19 hours a week. What about help in paying my rent or mortgage? You can apply to your local community Welfare Officer for Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement. THIS POST IS INTENDED AS A GUIDE ONLY. No responsibility is accepted by the author or AAM for any errors, omissions or misleading statements or any site to which this post connects.