Being a dependent student normally means that your income,(if applicable) and your parent(s) or legal guardian(s)’ income for the reference year will be taken into consideration in assessing you for grant purposes. However, there are a numbers of exceptions to this rule and they are;
Divorced/separated parents: If your parents or guardians are separated or divorced, your income (if any) and the income of the parent you normally reside with will be taken into consideration when assessing you for grant purposes. You will, however, be required, if requested to provide documentary evidence of your parents’ separation/divorce.
Estranged from your parents: If you are in the care of the HSE or have documented proof (Garda reports, proof of court proceedings and/or letters from the HSE) that you are estranged from your parents, you should still apply as a dependent but there is an option on the application form to declare estrangement and if estrangement is proven, you will be assessed in your own right.
Foster parents: If you are in foster care you should apply as a dependent with your foster parent(s)’ details (names, addresses etc.). It will not necessary to supply foster parent(s)’ financial details and their income will not be taken into consideration in assessing for grant purposes.
Unaccompanied minor refugee: If you are under 23 and here as a refugee in your own right, you do not need to supply parents’ details when applying.
Orphans: If neither of your parents are living, and you do not have a court-appointed legal guardian, you should apply as a dependent student and tick ‘deceased’ for each parent. You will be asked to give some information, such as names and dates of birth. In most cases it will not be necessary to provide SUSI with death certificates, but in some cases this will be requested from an applicant. Orphans are assessed on their own income only.
If your parent was single or separated/divorced before the time of their death, and you are not supported by your other living parent, you can be assessed as an orphan. You may need to provide documentary evidence of your parent’s separation/divorce.
If you receive a Guardian’s payment or Orphan’s Pension from DEASP, this income is not considered reckonable when assessing your grant application, but it may entitle you to a special rate award, providing all other income you received is under €23,500. If your Guardian’s payment is paid to someone else, such as a sibling or another family member, the income will not be reckonable, but you will only be eligible for an ordinary rate of grant (unless you have another qualifying special rate payment – insert link).
Legal Guardians: If you have court-appointed legal guardians your income and your legal guardian(s)’ income will be taken into consideration when assessing you for grant purposes. You will be required to provide documentary evidence, such as a Guardianship Order. If your Legal Guardian receives Guardian’s payment for you, or another special rate payment, (Special Rate Payments) and the household income is less than €23,500 you may be eligible for a special rate grant.
Testamentary Guardians: If your guardian(s) was appointed to you after the death of your parent because this person was named in your parent’s will to be your guardian, for grant purposes they are not considered your ‘legal guardian’. You can apply in the same way as an orphan, and only your income will be assessed. If your guardian receives Guardian’s payment this will not make you eligible for a special rate award. However, if you receive an Orphan’s pension you may be entitled to a special rate award.