Know Your Rights: Social Welfare Support For People Who Live Alone

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Know Your Rights has been compiled by Kerry Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public…

Q. Can you tell me if there is an extra payment for people on social welfare payments who are living alone?

A. Yes, there is a payment called the Living Alone Increase which is paid to people on certain social welfare payments who live alone. From January 2022, the weekly Living Alone Increase will increase by €3 from €19 to €22.

If you are 66 years or over and live alone, you will qualify if you are getting one of the following payments

• State Pension (Contributory)
• State Pension (Non-Contributory)
• Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension
• Widow’s/Widower’s Pension under the Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme
• Incapacity Supplement under the Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme
• Deserted Wife’s Benefit

You will also qualify if you are under 66, live alone and are getting Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension, Incapacity Supplement or Blind Pension.

To get the increase in your payment you must live completely alone. However, there are some exceptions:

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If you are living in an extension of a family member’s home, for example, in a granny flat, you can qualify for the increase if you can show that you have facilities to cook and eat alone. You must also have your own living/dining and sleeping accommodation.

You may also qualify as living alone if you are aged or infirm and have a friend or relative to stay for security reasons at night-time only. The friend or relative must not contribute to the household financially.

The increase may also be payable if you live alone during the day but stay with relatives or friends at night or if you live alone during the week but have a relative to stay at the weekend (the living alone condition is satisfied as long as the relative has a permanent home address elsewhere).

You will also qualify if you live alone but occasionally take in paying guests (for example, during a local festival). However, if you run a bed and breakfast business (even for part of the year) you will not qualify.

People who live in sheltered accommodation may qualify if they are regarded as living independently within the institution. You will not qualify if you share dormitory accommodation with others, or have round-the clock supervision or nursing care.

People who live in nursing homes will not qualify as they cannot be regarded as living completely or mainly alone.

To apply you must complete the Living Alone Increase application form, which you can get from your local Citizens Information Centre or Social Welfare office. You then send the completed form to the section of the Department of Social Protection that pays your main pension or benefit.

• For anyone needing information, advice or have an advocacy issue, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information team in Kerry on 0818 07 7860, they will be happy to assist and make an appointment if necessary. 

The offices are staffed from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.  Alternatively you can email on or log on to for further information.

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