Social welfare

Republic of Ireland

Country Report: Social welfare Last updated: 25/05/23


Irish Refugee Council Visit Website

Section 53(b) IPA states that a beneficiary of international protection “shall be entitled… to receive, upon and subject to the same conditions applicable to Irish citizens, the same medical care and the same social welfare benefits as those to which Irish citizens are entitled.”

As such, there are a broad range of social welfare entitlements to which a beneficiary of international protection may avail him or herself, including: access to jobseeker’s allowance, for those who are unemployed but actively seeking work; access to disability allowance for those unable to provide for themselves due to disability or illness; access to the one-parent family payment for single parents, and access to child benefit for parents/guardians. Application for various grants is carried out at the individual’s local office of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

International protection applicants living in Direct Provision who are recognised as refugees or granted alternative status, are not entitled to full social welfare payments while they remain in Direct Provision. Taking into consideration the difficulties they encounter accessing the housing market, being entitled to full payment would enable them to better plan for transition to other accommodation.[1] As of November 2021, there were 1,640 persons with some form of protection status residing in Direct Provision.[2] As of November 2022, there were 4, 625 persons with some form of status residing in Direct Provision.[3]

For those who lost their job as a result of COVID-19, a social welfare payment known as Pandemic Unemployment Payment, was made available. Under s. 53(b) IPA, beneficiaries of international protection are entitled to access this payment on the same basis as Irish citizens. In order to access the payment, an individual must have been in employment prior to the 13 March, lost their employment owing to the pandemic and are not in receipt of any income from their employer. The rate payable under PUP depends on the wage the individual was paid prior to losing their employment. Whereby an individual earned less than €200 per week, the rate payable is €203 per week. Whereby an individual earned between €200-€300 per week, the rate payable is €203 and whereby an individual earned over €300, the rate payable is €250.[4]

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment initially closed to new applicants in July 2021. However, following the reintroduction of COVID-19 related public health restrictions, the payment reopened for a limited time in respect of persons who lost their job after 7 December 2021. Whereby an individual earned more than €400 per week, the rate payable under PUP is €350. Where an individual earned between €300 and €399.99, the rate payable is €300.00, where an individual earned between €200 and €299.99, the rate payable is €250, where an individual earned  between €151.51 and €199.99, the rate payable is €208 per week and finally, where an individual earned less than €151.50 per week, the rate payable is €150.[5] From January 2022, the welfare measure closed for the second time to new applicants.




[1] Citizens Information Board, Submissions to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality for the Review of Direct Provision and the International Protection Application Process, May 2019, available at:

[2] Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, Reply to parliamentary question no. 582, 15 September 2020, available at:

[3] Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman, Parliamentary Question No 408, 6 December 2022, available at:

[4] Department of Social Protection, Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, 16 June 2020, available at:

[5] ibid.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation