What's New

Renting out a room in your home

If you rent out a room (or rooms) in your home to private tenants, the rental income you earn will be exempt from income tax, PRSI and Universal Social Charge, provided this income is not more than €12,000 in the tax year. This is called the rent-a-room relief.

Your tenants must be using the room on a long-term basis. For example, renting a room to a student for the academic year is covered, but taking in guests for short breaks is not.

Read more about rent a room relief.

Good luck to all Leaving Certificate students

Leaving Certificate results are available in schools today – Wednesday, 17 August 2016. The State Examinations Commission (SEC) will also give all the results electronically to the CAO. This means that the CAO can process applications for entry to higher education as quickly as possible.

You can also access your examination result online using a Personal Identification Number (PIN) and your examination number from 12 noon today. Your PIN will be made available through your school or direct to you if you entered as an external candidate. The Internet Result Service is intended as an alternative service, if for some reason, you are unable to get your results from your school.

Find out more on the website of the State Examinations Commission.

The National Parent’s Council (Post-Primary) provides advice and guidance for candidates and parents, staffed by professional guidance counsellors via its helpline and an email service:

The helpline will open on 17 August from 10am – 7pm and will run for a further five days, when counsellors will deal with caller queries about the full range of issues that arise for students and parents at this time.

Know your rights: Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

Question

What is the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance?

Answer (August 2016)

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BSCFA) helps you meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for children going to school. You must be getting a social welfare payment or taking part in a training, employment or adult education scheme. In general, you must be getting an Increase for a Qualified Child with your payment.

Your children must be aged between 4 and 22 on or before 30 September 2016. If they are aged between 18 and 22, they must be in full-time second-level education in a recognised school or college. Also, your total family income must be below a certain level for your family size. The allowance is €100 for eligible children aged between 4 and 11 and €200 for those aged between 12 and 22.

The scheme is open from 1 June to 30 September 2016. The Department of Social Protection pays BSCFA automatically to many customers. This means that they do not have to apply for the payment. If you qualify automatically, you should receive a letter stating when and how your Allowance will be paid.

If you do not get an automatic payment you must apply for the Allowance. If any of your children are aged 18 or over, you must apply for the Allowance for them and supply evidence that they are in second-level education (even if automatic payments have issued for other children in the family).

You can get application forms in all local social welfare offices and Intreo centres, and on the Department’s website, welfare.ie. When a decision has been made on your application, you will get a letter informing you of this and whether a payment has been awarded. If your application has been successful, you will also be told when and where you can collect the payment. If the Allowance is refused, you can ask for a review of the decision.

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Maintenance to parts of this website on Saturday, 13 August 2016

We will be doing some essential maintenance to parts of this website on Saturday, 13 August 2016.

The affected sections are:

These parts of the website may be down for periods of time between 8am and 6pm.

We will do our best to make sure that any outages are as short as possible.

The core content on citizensinformation.ie will continue to be available throughout the day.

Support following pregnancy loss

New National Standards for Bereavement Care following Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Death have been issued by the HSE.

The standards define the care parents and families can expect to receive following a pregnancy loss or perinatal death. The standards will be implemented and applied across the health service in all appropriate hospitals and settings.

The standards are built around four central themes:

  1. Bereavement Care which is central to the mission of the hospital and is offered in accordance with the religious, secular, ethnic, social and cultural values of the parents
  2. The Hospital to ensure a system is in place to provide bereavement care and end of life care for babies that is central to the mission of the hospital and is organised around the needs of babies and their families
  3. The Baby and Parents to ensure each baby/family receives high quality palliative and end of life care appropriate to his/her needs and to the wishes of his/her parents
  4. The Staff: so that all hospital staff have access to training education and training opportunities in the delivery of compassionate bereavement and end of life care in accordance with their roles and responsibilities

Read the National Standards for Bereavement Care following Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Death (pdf).

Find out about passport cards

Did you know that a new Irish passport card is now available. It can be used by Irish citizens for travel within the European Union and the European Economic Area. The passport card is a credit-card sized card with a photograph of the holder. It is valid for 5 years (or the time remaining on your passport).

All Irish citizens who are over 18 years and hold a valid Irish passport can apply for a passport card. You can apply online or through the free app from anywhere in the world. The fee for a Passport Card is €35. There will be an additional €5 postal fee if you live outside Ireland.

Apply online for a Passport Card at passportcard.dfa.ie. 

Know your rights: Part-time work and social welfare payments

Question

I’m working part-time on a low wage. Do I qualify for any social welfare payments?

Answer (August 2016)

It depends on your personal circumstances. Many people work part time before taking up full-time employment. If you are working part time you can, in some cases, keep or apply for a partial social welfare payment, or you may qualify for additional supports.

If you work over 38 hours in a fortnight and you have children you may be able to claim Family Income Supplement (FIS). FIS is a weekly tax-free payment for people on low pay. You may be able to claim a jobseeker’s payment for the days you are not working. You can work part-time for up to 3 days a week and claim a reduced Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance payment. You may qualify for the Part-time Job Incentive Scheme if you were getting Jobseeker’s Allowance and find part-time work for less than 24 hours per week.

However, one of the main conditions for getting a jobseeker’s payment is that you must be available for and actively seeking work. This means that you must continue to look for work on the days you are unemployed. You must also be unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7 consecutive days.

If you return to work after a period of unemployment, you may qualify for the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) which aims to help families move from social welfare into employment. The BTWFD and FIS can be paid together and the BTWFD is not taken into account in the means test for FIS.

If you are parenting alone and getting a One-Parent Family Payment, you are allowed to earn a certain amount each week and keep your payment. In some cases, people getting disability payments can do some work and keep a social welfare payment.

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Find out about the new Paternity Benefit

The Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016 introduced a new Paternity Benefit together with statutory paternity leave of 2 weeks. The legislation allows new fathers to start the combined package of paternity leave and Paternity Benefit at any time within the first 6 months following birth or adoption of a child. Same sex couples can also avail of Paternity Benefit.

The provisions will apply to births or adoptions on or after 1 September 2016.

Find out more about Paternity Benefit.

Read Frequently Asked Questions about Paternity Benefit from the Department of Social Protection.

Watch a video explaining Paternity Benefit. 

 

It’s World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week takes place from 1 to 7 August  2016. The ongoing HSE campaign, ‘Every Breastfeed makes a Difference’ aims to help and support breastfeeding mothers.  The campaign hopes to encourage mothers to start breastfeeding, and to breastfeed for longer.

Vist breastfeeding.ie for information and support on all aspects of breastfeeding including an ‘Ask Our Expert’ service for breastfeeding mothers.

There is a network of over 200 support groups across the country. You can find contact details and times on breastfeeding.ie.  Some groups are organised by public health nurses, while others are organised by trained breastfeeding support volunteers.

Warning: email scam

The Citizens Information Board has become aware of fraudulent emails which relate to a tax refund and which use a fake “@citizensinformation.ie” email address.

These emails did not issue from the Citizens Information Board.

Anyone who receives an email purporting to be from the Citizens Information Board and suspects it to be fraudulent or a scam should simply delete it.

Anyone who provided personal information in response to these fraudulent emails should contact their bank or credit card company immediately.