Family Income Supplement
Family Income Supplement (FIS) is a weekly tax-free payment available to employees with children. It gives extra financial support to people on low pay. You cannot qualify for FIS if you are only self-employed – you must be an employee to qualify.
You must have at least one child who normally lives with you or is financially supported by you. Your child must be under 18 years of age or between 18 and 22 years of age and in full-time education.
To qualify for FIS, your average weekly family income must be below a certain amount for your family size. The FIS you receive is 60% of the difference between your average weekly family income and the income limit which applies to your family. For more information about average family income see ‘Rates’ below.
Your FIS payment is not taxed. If you are getting FIS you may also be entitled to the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance. Your income from FIS is not taken into account in the assessment for a medical card.
The Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) and FIS can be paid together and the BTWFD will not be taken into account in the income test for FIS.
Budget 2018: the Family Income Supplement is to be renamed as the Working Family Payment. In addition, income thresholds will increase by €10 for families with up to 3 children (March 2018).
FIS is a tax-free weekly payment for employees who:
- Work 38 or more hours per fortnight (any combination of hours that reaches 38 hours each fortnight is acceptable). You can combine your weekly hours with your spouse, civil partner, cohabitant’s hours to meet this condition. You cannot use time spent in self-employment (or on Community Employment, Gateway, Tús, JobBridge or the Rural Social Scheme) to meet this condition.
- Where the employment is likely to last at least 3 months
- Have one or more children who normally live with you and
- Earn less than an amount set according to your family size
You must be employed in the Irish State and pay tax and PRSI here. Under EU regulations you may be able to claim FIS if your children are living abroad and dependent on you. Generally, the payment continues for one year (52 weeks) and is not affected by, for example, an increase or a decrease in earnings.
However, in the following 2 circumstances, your weekly rate of FIS can be revised during the year:
- If you start to care for an additional child your FIS rate can be increased.
- If you were getting a One-Parent Family Payment and your payment stopped because your youngest child reached the relevant OFP age limit your FIS rate can be revised (by disregarding the rate of OFP assessed in your most recent FIS income test).
If your pay from work is reduced your Family Income Supplement (FIS) payment will stay the same. It will not increase. However, when your FIS payment ends you can re-apply giving details of your new reduced income. (FIS is usually paid for 52 weeks. At the end of the 52 weeks, you can re-apply for FIS.)
If the number of hours you work each week is reduced to below 38 hours per fortnight you are no longer entitled to FIS. You should notify the FIS section if your hours fall below this minimum requirement.
If you move to a new job, your current entitlement to FIS will cease and you must notify the FIS section. You may re-apply for FIS for your new job.
If you lose your job you are no longer entitled to FIS. You must notify the FIS section.
Getting FIS with other social welfare payments
You cannot get FIS if you are on one of the following schemes or social welfare payments:
Your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant can claim FIS while you are getting one of these payments. However an Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA) will no longer be paid and your social welfare payment will be assessed as income for their FIS payment. Any Increase for a Qualified Child will be affected. Similarly if your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is getting one of these payments, you can qualify for FIS but an IQA will no longer be paid for you.
You can get Illness Benefit or Injury Benefit while you are getting FIS (for 6 consecutive weeks). If you are out of work for more than 6 consecutive weeks payment of FIS is suspended until you return to work and send a final certificate into the Illness Benefit or Occupational Injury Benefit section or until your FIS award period expires (whichever is the earlier).
Under the Maternity Protection Act 1994, a woman on maternity or adoptive leave is entitled to be treated as if she is in employment. This means that she can claim FIS (provided she meets the conditions of the FIS payment and has a family – a pregnant woman who has no other children does not qualify for FIS until the birth of the baby). Your income must be less than the income limit for your family size and is normally calculated using your gross earnings to date or your P60. Your FIS claim will then be paid for 52 weeks from the date you applied. You are not entitled to continue to claim FIS if you take additional unpaid maternity or adoptive leave, if you lose your job after returning to work or give up your employment.
A separated parent can apply for FIS once he or she meets the qualifying conditions and
Wholly maintaining means that maintenance paid by you, the FIS applicant, must be the main income of your ex-spouse, ex-civil partner or ex-cohabitant. Your former spouse or partner cannot have more than €100 a week income in their own right and cannot be married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting.
FIS is awarded for 52 weeks. A person included in your FIS award cannot be paid FIS in their own right or be included in another FIS claim during that 52 week period.
If you are a separated parent and paying maintenance you may qualify for FIS. To qualify you must be wholly maintaining the parent with whom the children are living. Only one FIS payment can be made for a family so the parent to whom you are paying maintenance must not be getting FIS. You must supply written evidence from this person to show that they are getting maintenance.
If you are paying maintenance as a result of a court order or legally binding agreement for a second family, the amount of that maintenance payment will not be deducted from the income to be assessed for FIS.
A parent getting maintenance for a qualified child will also have that maintenance assessed for FIS.
FIS is calculated on the basis of 60% of the difference between the income limit for the family size and the assessable income of the person(s) raising the child(ren). The combined income of a couple (married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting) is taken into account.
Income from any source (except for the disregards stated below) is assessed. The FIS income test does not assess capital. This includes property you own, bank accounts and cars. The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) does assess income you get from tenants who rent a property you own, it may examine your bank accounts to check for other income sources and it may assess income derived from use of a car that you own (for example as a taxi).
The main items counted as income are:
- Your assessable earnings and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant’s assessable earnings. (Assessable earnings are gross pay minus tax, employee PRSI, Universal Social Charge and superannuation (including the Public Service Pension Levy.) Income from working as a home help is included.
- Any extra income you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant have from employment (such as pay for overtime, bonuses, allowances or commission).
- Any income you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant may have from self-employment.
- Income from occupational pensions.
- Income you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant may have including social welfare payments and student grants.
- All family income from carer’s payments (Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit).
- Rental income from the letting of property or land (the capital value is not assessed). The gross rental income is assessed and you cannot deduct mortgage payments or other expenses. Rental income from renting a room in your house is included.
The following payments do not count as family income:
Calculating income for FIS
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) calculates your assessable earnings over a certain period of time.
Because FIS is paid over 52 weeks the DEASP tries to calculate your average earnings over a similar period of time. Normally they will use your latest P60 or your gross earnings up to the date of your application. If you are newly in employment, your average weekly income is calculated from when you started work with that employer.
Your P60 is also used to calculate your average weekly income when your claim is being renewed. If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is self-employed, his or her income over the 12-month period before you lodge your claim is used to work out his or her average weekly income.