Rent supplement is a means tested payment that some people may get if they live in private rented accommodation and cannot pay their rent on their own. It is a short-term payment, and only available if you are renting from a private landlord.
Can I receive rent supplement during COVID-19?
Along with legislation that prevents tenants being evicted and increases to rent during the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been some temporary changes to the qualifying criteria for rent supplement.
These rules apply to those applying for Rent Supplement on or after 13th March 2020, and they will be in place until 31st March 2021.
How do I qualify for the COVID-19 rent supplement?
You can qualify for COVID-19 rent supplement if:
- You or your partner are working more than 30 hours per week and have had a reduction in income as a result of COVID-19
- You have been in your current tenancy for more than four weeks and could have continued to pay your rent if COVID-19 had not happened
- You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19 and have to self-isolate – in this case, your rent supplement can be paid immediately
You must also be habitually resident in Ireland, which means you continually live here. The COVID-19 rent supplement payment is means tested. This means they will take your income and employment into account when deciding if you qualify for the payment.
How does the payment work?
Rent supplement ensures that your income doesn’t fall below a minimum level. This minimum level is the basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance rate for your circumstances minus a set Household Contribution (you may pay more depending on your means).
If you are a new rent supplement applicant on or after 13th March 2020, you will be assessed for rent supplement using the following Supplementary Welfare Allowance rates:
- €350 for a single person
- €700 for a couple
- €40 for each child
This means that the rent supplement will ensure your income does not fall below these levels after paying rent.
Will rent supplement cover all of my rent?
No. Once the amount you qualify for has been worked out, it will be reduced by €30. You must pay at least €30 per week towards your rent if you are single and €40 per week if you are part of a couple living together. You may pay more than €30 depending on your income.
Anyone who lives with you, who is not financially dependent on you and also receives social welfare also has to contribute €30 to the rent. The €30 contribution may not apply where the person is receiving a social welfare payment has had “benefit and privilege” assessed. This normally happens where a person under 25 who is receiving social welfare payment have been assessed on their parents’ income.
What happens after 31st March 2021 to the COVID-19 rent supplement?
If your rent supplement continues after 31st August 2020, it will be reviewed and the old rent supplement rules, guidelines and means assessment will apply.
In these cases, you must have:
- Been receiving rent supplement in the 12 months before the date of your application
- Been living in private rented accommodation for at least 6 months (183 days) of the last 12 months
- Been able to afford the rent in the beginning of your tenancy and are unable to continue to pay due to a substantial change in your circumstances that occurred after you started renting
You must also be working less than 30 hours per week. If you are living with your partner and only one of you is working full time, both are excluded from receiving rent supplement. Though there are some exceptions where a person is in receipt of Back to Work Enterprise Allowance.
How can I apply for rent supplement?
You can apply by filling out this form.
My application was refused, can I appeal?
If you are not satisfied with a decision on your Rent Supplement application, you can appeal this to the Social Welfare Appeals Office within 21 days of receiving a decision.
I need some more guidance on the appeals process. Where can I get more information?
You can contact the FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centre) telephone and information line on 1850 350 250.
Need more information?
We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.