What is the Exceptional Needs payment?

This is a payment to help meet essential needs which a person cannot pay out of their income

Written by spunout


An Exceptional Needs Payment is a single payment from the government to help meet an essential, once-off need, which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income.

For example, the payment can be for bedding or cooking utensils for someone setting up a home for the first time, visiting relatives in hospital or prison, funeral costs or for clothing in exceptional circumstances.

How much will I get as an Exceptional Needs Payment? 

The amount of payment you get will depend on a means test and the type of assistance you need.

How can I apply?

You may be eligible for an Exceptional Needs Payment if:

  • You are living in the State (Ireland)
  • You satisfy a means test. All capital (money) and property (except your home) is assessed in the means test

You won’t normally be eligible if you:

  • Have access to alternative income or finances to meet the need
  • Are in full-time work (30 hours or more per week)
  • Are in full-time education
  • Are involved in a trade dispute or on strike. However, you may apply for an Exceptional Needs Payment for your dependent adult or dependent child

What is the means test?

In a means test, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection reviews all your sources of income. Sometimes a certain amount of income or income from particular sources is not taken into account and these are often referred to as income disregards. However, in the means test for an Exceptional Needs Payment, all capital (money) and property (except your home) is taken into account and assessed as means.

These payments are not subject to the Habitual Residence Condition (HRC) assessment. The payment can be applied for through your local Intreo Office. Find out more about the Exceptional Needs Payment.


Our work is supported by