Rent Supplement is paid by the Department of Social Protection to people living in private rented accommodation who cannot provide for the cost of their accommodation from their own resources. In general, you will qualify for a rent supplement, if your only income is a social welfare or Health Services Executive (HSE) payment.
There are certain conditions that you will need to meet to be considered for a Rent Supplement payment including:
The Department of Social Protection has set maximum rents that are allowable under the Rent Supplement Scheme. However at the discretion of the Department these rents limits or caps can be increased when special circumstances exist.
Steps 1-5 will take you through the stages of securing appropriate accommodation.
If you are 18 years or older and have decided to make the move to private rented accommodation and would like to apply for Rent Supplement to the Department of Social Protection, follow the outlined steps to complete the application process.
You are responsible for finding your own property. The best way to look for a rental property is through local estate agents, property web pages (See Daft.ie & MyHome.ie) and by monitoring local notice boards/newspapers which will list available properties in the area where you want to live.
Steps 6-10 Making a Rent Supplement Application:
To apply for Rent Supplement you should contact the Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly know as the Community Welcare officer) for an application form and for information on what to do, at your local Health Centre.
Phone the Health Centre to check what times the Rent Supplement clinic is held. Applications forms can also be downloaded from the Department's website.
However in some areas new Rent Supplement applications are processed by a centralised Rents Unit. To see if your area is dealt with a central Rent Unit you can view the Central Rent Unit list here. If you live in one of these areas you must get a rent pack from your local Health Centre. This pack contains detailed information (including a list of the documentation you will need) and all the relevant application forms. You should read the information pack carefully.
If you are satisfied that you have all the necessary documents ready, including forms completed by the landlord and supporting letters (see Step 7), you then forward your application to the relevant Rent Unit address given in the pack. The processing of your application may be delayed if you do not supply all the information requested in the pack. The Unit will contact you if they need any further information. If they do not need any more information they will tell you when your application will be processed.
For more complete information on Rent Supplement see: The Citizens Information Board at http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/social_welfare/social_welfare_payments/supplementary_welfare_schemes/rent_supplement.html and The Department of Social Protection at http://www.welfare.ie/EN/OperationalGuidelines/pages/swa_rent.aspx.
The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP); a new Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is being introduced by the Department of the Environment for people who have a long-term housing need and who qualify for social housing support. HAP is being administered by the Housing Departments in local Councils and will eventually replace the long-term Rent Supplement Allowance. The Rent Supplement Allowance will continue to be available under certain conditions as a short term financial support for private rental properties.
During 2015 HAP was piloted in certain local Council areas; see Citizens Information website and Dept. of Social Protection website for a list of HAP pilot areas and for up to date information on the HAP. If you are living in a HAP area (see above link) application forms and information on the HAP application process are available from the local Council Housing Department. The steps involved in making a HAP application are similar to those listed below for a Rent Supplement application but instead of dealing with the Community Welfare Officer in the Department of Social Protection as with Rent Supplement, you will be dealing with the Housing Department in the local Council. Rent under the HAP is paid by the tenant to the local Council and the Council pays the landlord directly. The amount of rent that a tenant has to pay under HAP is based on a person’s income and rent can vary in accordance with changes to a person’s income e.g. if a person starts working or works extra hours then rent will increase.
As with Rent Supplement a person must be registered on the Social Housing List in order to make a HAP application; for information on how to make a Social Housing List application see “Help Me Get Started” on the www.iwa.ie/house home page.
As with Rent Supplement there can be a measure of flexibility exercised within the HAP when a person who has a disability/medical condition requires accommodation that is above the set rent limit due to their disability/medical condition e.g. a second bedroom is required as a PA or carer is staying overnight or a larger and therefore more expensive unit is required to provide the necessary accessibility; documentation from your GP and/or service provider would be helpful to support your need for a more expensive property.