Custody of children and Rent Supplement



I am separated from my partner. Our 2 children come and stay with me one night a week. I am getting Rent Supplement since I am currently unemployed. I’d like to rent a larger apartment to accommodate them and so I can work towards having them to stay for more time in the future. Can I qualify for a higher Rent Supplement payment?


The Department of Social Protection deals with the accommodation needs of children who do not live full-time with their parents on a case-by-case basis. You should check what the provisions are with your local Department’s representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer or CWO).

When you apply for Rent Supplement the Department must be satisfied that the apartment or house is reasonably suited to your residential and other needs.

In general, if parents have joint custody of a child, the needs of both parents to have adequate accommodation to look after the child are taken into account when assessing an application for Rent Supplement. Joint custody generally means that children spend an equal amount of time with each parent. If this is the case the Department will usually look for documentation showing that a joint custody arrangement is in place and in operation before a decision can be made.

If you do not have joint custody but have access to your children for a certain amount of time each week then the Department of Social Protection will examine your case with regard to all of the circumstances of the case. It may be the case that they will decide that you have a housing need but that your children are adequately housed with their primary carer. However you should always discuss your situation with the Department’s representative.

If you are not happy with the decision made in your case you can appeal the decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Information is also available online at and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.

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