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FAQs: Social Welfare

Q1:  I live in the South and work in the North and the tax code on my payslip is BR.  My husband works in the South as a teacher and I have 2 children in full time education.  I receive children’s allowance from the South.  Am I entitled to an allowance for them?

A:  In your circumstances the Republic is competent to pay you family benefits under EU rules as your husband is employed there.

There is also a means-tested family benefit in NI/UK called Child Tax Credit which you may be entitled to. It is assessed on your gross family income and your Irish Child Benefit could be taken into consideration. See the HM Revenue & Customs page Your family doesn’t live in the UK – can you get tax credits?

Q2:  My husband is unemployed.  I work in Northern Ireland.  We have been receiving child benefit for our 2 children.  However this has been stopped and I have been told to claim from NI.  However this is a considerably lower amount.  I cannot afford such a drop in child benefit.

A:  Unless your husband is getting Jobseeker’s Benefit (not Jobseeker’s Allowance) from Social Welfare, Northern Ireland is responsible for paying you family benefits under EU rules because you are employed there.  Family benefits include: Child Benefit (UK) and Child Tax Credit.

If the rate of Irish Child Benefit for your two children is more than the total of your NI family benefits then you can (as a cross border worker) ask Social Welfare to pay you the difference.

Q3:  We live in Northern Ireland (NI) and my husband works in Ireland.  I claim all my benefits in NI (child benefit and tax credits) but I have been advised that I can actually claim them in Ireland as the benefits are much better.  Is this correct and if so how do I go about doing it and what benefits can I receive?

A: If only your husband is in paid employment then Ireland is responsible for paying family benefits under European social security rules.  This means that you should actually be receiving Irish Child Benefit and any other family benefits from Ireland. Therefore you should contact the Department of Social Protection

Q4:  I live in Northern Ireland (NI) and work in Ireland commuting daily. Currently I am receiving child benefit from Ireland as my husband also worked in Ireland.  However he has recently moved jobs and now works in NI.  What effect has this on my entitlements to child benefit?

A:  Under EU social security rules, NI is now ‘competent’ to initially pay you family benefits on the basis of your husband’s employment there.

This means that you should claim Child Benefit from HMRC. You may also, subject to means-testing be entitled to some rate of Child Tax Credit from Revenue in NI.   If the combined total of those two benefits is less than the rate of Irish Child Benefit you can ask the Department of Social Protection in Ireland to pay you the difference.

Q5:  I am currently living and working in Northern Ireland (NI).  I am married and have a baby.  My husband works in Donegal and we are considering moving the family there.  I am receiving Child Benefit in NI but have not yet applied for working family tax credit because my husband does not have a National Insurance Number.  How would these benefits be affected by a move to Ireland?

A:  If your family becomes resident in Donegal and your husband continues to work there, Ireland is ‘competent’ to pay you family benefits under European social security rules.  Therefore you would apply to the Department of Social Protection for Child Benefit.

Q6:  I receive UK Incapacity Benefit but I am not entitled to UK Disability Living Allowance (DLA), as it is residency based. However, I do receive support from the Free Schemes in Ireland, am I entitled to anything else?

A:  The European Court of Justice decided in October 2007 that certain disability and carers benefits are sickness benefits and may be paid to people who leave the UK to live elsewhere in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.  This means that the care component of Disability Living Allowance is exportable, however the mobility component is not. For further information see NI Direct  Disability and Carers Service or call on  028 9090 6182.

For information relating to Irish benefits you should contact your local Citizen Information Centre

Q7:  I live in the UK and am thinking of moving to the South of Ireland but I will still be working in the UK.  Where would I claim tax credits and child benefit?

A:  If yours is the only employment in your family and this is in the UK, then the UK remains ‘competent’ to pay you family benefits (Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit) when you move to the Republic of Ireland (ROI) under EU social security rules.  If Irish family benefits are paid at a higher rate you can, on the basis of your residence in ROI, claim the difference from Social Welfare in ROI.

Q8:  I live in Ireland and work in N.I.  My husband works in Ireland.  I wish to make a claim for child tax credit in N.I. but want to know will the child benefits I receive in Ireland be taken into account and treated as part of my income as I am aware that child benefit from N.I. is not taken into account when making a claim for child tax credit.

A: When applying for UK Tax Credits Irish Child Benefit is not regarded as income and does not affect Working Tax Credits, however, it does affect Child Tax Credits.

As Ireland is responsible for paying your Child Benefit, the HMRC will take into consideration the total amount of family benefits you will receive i.e. Irish Child Benefit added to UK Child Tax Credits.  For further information please visit HMRC – Tax credits

Q9:  I am originally from Northern Ireland (NI) and have been living and working in Ireland for some time now.  My mother is in a care home in NI.  I am wondering if I will be entitled to any help as regards carers support and possibly help with some modifications to my home if she comes to live with me?

A:  As a full time carer you may be entitled to a number of supports from the Department of Social Protection.  Carer’s Benefit is a short-term payment paid for up to 24 months to people who give up employment to care on a full-time basis for someone who requires full-time care and attention.

Carer’s Allowance is payment for people who are caring on a full-time basis for someone who requires full-time care and attention and will require it for at least 12 months. You must satisfy a means test and the habitual residency condition.

You may be entitled to assistance to make changes and adaptations to your home.  The Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability can help will large and structural changes, while minor work can be covered by the Mobility Aids Grant Scheme. You cannot apply for both.

Q10: I work 16hrs a week in northern Ireland and I have 2 kids so I get child benefit and tax credits from the North however my husband works full time in the South and I was wondering what benefits if any would I be entitled to from the South as someone was telling me the child benefit is a lot more in the South.

A:  As you work in the North and your family home is in the North,  the UK is responsible for paying your family benefits i.e. child benefit and tax credits, however, as your husband is working in the South he can apply for a top up from the Irish Department of Social Protection.  They will bundle together the amount of child benefit and child tax credits you receive in the North and compare with the Irish Child Benefit amount, if the Irish amount is higher they will pay you the difference.

The Child Benefit application form is available for download – Form CB1pdf icon

Along with the application form you will also need to include:

  • A letter explaining that you wish to claim a top up of child benefit
  • The children’s long birth certificates (so they can be assigned PPS numbers)
  • A letter from your  employer confirming employment in the South
  • Your letter from the HMRC confirming the amount of Child Tax Credits you receive
  • If you earn above the threshold and are therefore not entitled to tax credits you should enclose your P60 or a letter from an accountant confirming your salary

For further information please visit the Child Benefit Section of the (Irish) Department of Social Protection: Telephone 00353 71 91 93313 (from the North) or Local 1890 66 22 440