Special Rate Awards

There is a special rate of grant available for eligible students. The conditions you need to meet to qualify for this rate of grant are as follows;

  • You must qualify for the ordinary rate of grant;
  • Your total reckonable household income must not exceed €24,500; and
  • On 31st December of the previous year to your application, the reckonable household income must include an eligible long-term Department of Social Protection payment as prescribed under the scheme or its equivalence from an EU Member State. (Student Grant Scheme for the relevant year, schedule 2)

Eligible payment for Special Rate are listed below. Payments denoted with an asterix *, or double asterix **  are disregarded when calculating your reckonable income (i.e. not included in calculating reckonable income) as follows:

*  disregarded in all cases

** disregarded where paid to the applicant only

Eligible Long Term Department of  Social Protection  Payments


Social Assistance Payments

1. Blind Pension.**

2. Carer’s Allowance.*

3. One Parent Family Payment.**

4. Jobseeker’s Allowance Transition.**

5. Deserted Wife’s Allowance.

6. Disability Allowance.**

7. Farm Assist.

8. Jobseeker’s Allowance (where held for 391 days or more).

9. State Pension (Non-Contributory).

10. Guardian’s Payment (Non-Contributory).*

11. Pre-Retirement Allowance.

12. Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partners (Non-Contributory) Pension.

13. Supplementary Welfare Allowance (where held for 15 consecutive calendar


Social Insurance Payments

14. Benefit Payment for 65 year olds

15. Carer’s Benefit.

16. Deserted Wife’s Benefit.

17. Invalidity Pension.

18. Incapacity Supplement.

19. Occupational Injuries Death Benefit (Orphan’s pension).

20. Occupational Injuries Death Benefit (pension for a widow or widower).

21. State Pension (Contributory).

22. Guardian’s Payment (Contributory).*

23. Jobseeker’s Benefit (when combined with other eligible payments adding up to 391 days as per below note “Stacking of Eligible Long Term Department of Social Protection Payments“).

24. Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partners (Contributory) Pension.

25. State Pension (Transition).


Designated Programmes

26. Back to Education Allowance (Second Level and Third Level Options).

27. Back to Work Allowance (Employees).

28. Back to Work Enterprise Allowance.

29. Community Employment Scheme.

30. Rural Social Scheme.

31. Tús Initiative.

32. Gateway Scheme.

33. Further Education and Training (FET) Courses, including apprenticeships.

34. Part time job incentive scheme.

35. Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS).


36. Foster Care and Aftercare Allowances or Adoption Maintenance Allowance where paid in respect of the applicant.*

37. Independent Living Allowance for Young People In Residential Care.

38. Working Family Payment/Family Income Supplement (FIS). *

39. In receipt of payments under the FIT (Fastrack to IT) initiative equivalent to a social welfare payment.

40. Partial Capacity Benefit where the recipient has an underlying entitlement to Invalidity Payment

41. Participants on a training course approved by a Government Department, State Agency or Area Partnership and who were in receipt of an eligible payment prior to progressing to the programme.

42. Grant aided employees in Community Services Programmes (formerly social economy enterprises).


Stacking of Eligible Long Term Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Payments

  • It is possible to combine periods of Jobseeker’s Allowance and Jobseeker’s Benefit and other eligible payments for purposes of meeting the prescribed period of 391 days or 15 month requirement respectively.
  • The Department of  Social Protection’s Illness or Maternity Benefit, while not eligible payments in themselves, may be used to combine periods of Jobseekers Benefit and Jobseekers Allowance to make the prescribed 391 days required for Special Rate provided a period of Jobseekers Benefit or Jobseekers Allowance comers directly before and after the period of illness or maternity benefit.
  • Periods on Job Bridge, the National Internship Scheme, can also be combined with periods on other listed eligible payments provided a period on an eligible payment comes directly before and directly after the period on JobBridge.
  • Child Dependent Allowance/Increase (CDA/CDI) may be deducted from a Department of Social Protection payment to bring reckonable income under the threshold (€24,500) for special rate, however it cannot be deducted from disregarded payments as this income has already been excluded from the reckonable income calculation.
  • Please note CDA/CDI cannot be used to bring the Applicant into any other threshold other than the Special Rate Threshold of €24,500.