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February 8, 2024

Invalidity Pension Vs Disability Allowance: What’s the Difference?

Get your facts right on Invalidity Pension vs Disability Allowance in Ireland. Understand eligibility, benefits, and more in our detailed comparison.

Aine Kavanagh

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Aine Kavanagh

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Dealing with chronic illness or disability is challenging. 

Fortunately, Ireland offers support through Invalidity Pension and Disability Allowance.

Invalidity Pension (IP) provides financial support for those unable to work due to long-term illness or disability. 

Disability Allowance (DA) offers financial aid to individuals with work-impacting disabilities, independent of their work history.

But those sound quite similar, right? 

So how are they different and which should you apply for?

Let’s look at how Ireland’s Invalidity Pension and Disability Allowance compare across 7 key factors.

Further Reading

Invalidity Pension vs. Disability Allowance: A Comparison Across 7 Key Factors

Let's first understand the core difference between an Invalidity Pension and Disability Allowance.

Think of Invalidity Pension as a financial help for those who, due to their poor health, are unlikely to be able to work again. The benefit addresses more permanent or long-term incapacities.

Conversely, Disability Allowance is a means-tested payment for people with disabilities that may still permit limited employment. This means DA covers a broader spectrum of medical conditions.

Let’s get on with the differences between the two social welfare benefits.

1. Eligibility

The key difference between eligibility for these benefits lies in Pay-Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions. 

Let's compare:

A. Invalidity Pension Eligibility

  • The applicant must suffer from a long-term illness or disability that renders them incapable of work.

  • Incapacity for work must have lasted at least 12 months, with the likelihood of continuing for another 12 months.

  • A medical certificate confirming incapacity to work is required.

  • A certain number of PRSI contributions (Class A, E, H, or S) are necessary.

Note: Individuals who have been receiving Illness Benefit for an extended period (typically over 12 months) may be eligible to transition to Invalidity Pension, provided they meet the medical criteria for Invalidity Pension.

B. Disability Allowance Eligibility

  • The applicant must have physical (due to an injury or disease) or mental disability that’s expected to last at least one year.

  • Disability should substantially restrict work capacity.

  • Age requirement: between 16 and 66 years.

  • The eligibility hinges on a means test that evaluates the financial resources of the applicant, including the cash income of their spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant.

2. Work Restrictions

Here are the key differences between Invalidity Pensions and Disability Allowances regarding employment and earnings.

A. Invalidity Pension

  • Recipients cannot engage in paid employment, with the exception of unpaid voluntary work.

  • It's for those permanently unable to work due to illness or disability.

  • Paid employment may jeopardize pension eligibility.

B. Disability Allowance

  • Recipients have more flexibility in terms of employment — they can work (full-time or part-time) and still receive the allowance, with certain limits on employment earnings.

Earnings limits on Disability Allowance allow recipients to work and earn up to a certain amount without affecting their benefits. Earnings above this threshold may reduce or stop the allowance.

3. Application Process

Here's a quick breakdown of applying for Invalidity Pension and Disability Allowance:

A. Application Process for Invalidity Pension

  • Documentation: Gather necessary documents, including medical evidence and PRSI contribution records.

  • Application Form: Get the Invalidity Pension application form (INV1) from your local Intreo Centres, Social Welfare Branch Offices, or Citizens Information Centre). You can also download the form at: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/d148b9-invalidity-pension/#apply

  • Submission: Send your completed form with supporting documents to:

    Invalidity Pension Claims Section

    Social Welfare Services, Government Buildings, Ballinalee Road, Longford, Co.

    Longford, N39 E4E0

    Ireland

  • Processing and Notification: A Deciding Officer reviews your application against the eligibility criteria within 6-8 weeks, and notifies you of the decision, providing payment process details if eligible.

You can also reach out to the Invalidity Pension department through phone. Find out Invalidity Pension contact number and other details here!

B. Application Process for Disability Allowance

  • Documentation: Prepare necessary documents, including medical reports and financial details for the means test.

  • Application Form: Get the Disability Allowance application form (DA1), available online and at local Intreo Centres or Social Welfare Branch Offices. 

    (Note: You must provide your Personal Public Service Number when applying for DA).

  • Submission: Send the completed form and supporting documents to:

    Disability Allowance Section

    Department of Social Protection, Social Welfare Services

    Government Buildings, Ballinalee Road

    Longford, N39 E4E0

  • Processing and Notification: Your application undergoes a review by the Department of Social Protection (DSP), typically within 6-8 weeks, after which they will inform you of the decision and, if approved, explain the payment process.

4. Rate of Payment

Both Invalidity Pension and Disability Allowance offer additional payments for dependent adults (civil partner or spouse) and children. Here’s a quick rundown of the rate of payment for each.

A. Invalidity Pension

  • Maximum Personal Rate: €237.50 per week.

  • Additional payment for a qualified adult: €169.70 per week.

  • Extra for a child dependant:

    • For a qualified child under 12: Full-rate of €46 per week or a half-rate of €23 per week in some cases.

    • For a qualified child 12 or above: Full-rate of €54 per week or a half-rate payment of €27 per week.

B. Disability Allowance

  • Maximum Personal Rate: €232 per week.

  • Extra for a qualified adult dependent: €154 per week.

  • Extra for a child dependant:

    • For a qualified child under 12: Full-rate of €46 per week or a half-rate of €23 per week in some cases.

    • For a qualified child 12 or above: Full-rate of €54 per week or a half-rate payment of €27 per week in some cases.

Note: The Budget 2024 in Ireland introduced a one-time lump sum payment of €400 for recipients of Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension, and Blind Pension.

5. Additional Benefits

Invalidity Pension and Disability Allowance beneficiaries may qualify for extra social welfare benefits (subject to eligibility), such as:

  • Fuel Allowance

  • Household Benefits Package 

  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme

  • Free Travel Scheme

  • And more.

Additionally, Invalidity Pension or Disability Allowance can give you access to these specific benefits. The entitlement to these benefits is subject to eligibility criteria.

A. Invalidity Pension

  • Partial Capacity Benefit (PCB): Allows recipients to return to work or training while still receiving some Invalidity Pension payment.

B. Disability Allowance

  • Potential Eligibility for Employment Schemes: Recipients may be eligible for the Rural Social Scheme (for active farmers or fishers), Community Employment, and the TÚS scheme.

  • Supplementary Welfare Payments: Includes extra social welfare benefits with the Disability Allowance.

  • Make Work Pay Initiative: Allows recipients to explore work options while keeping key benefits, including the free travel pass.

6. Taxation

Here's a concise summary of the taxation status for Invalidity Pension and Disability Allowance in Ireland:

A. Invalidity Pension

Invalidity Pension is subject to income tax, but exempt from PRSI and Universal Social Charge (USC).

The Department of Social Protection pays the pension without deducting tax but notifies Revenue of the taxable amount for income tax purposes. This means you are not required to take any action for the correct tax payment.

B. Disability Allowance

Disability Allowance is not subject to income tax, PRSI, and USC in Ireland. 

7. Transition to State Pension

A. Invalidity Pension

  • Recipients automatically transition to the State Pension (Contributory) at 66 years of age.

  • This transition occurs at the full rate of the State Pension.

B. Disability Allowance

  • Recipients of Disability Allowance do not automatically qualify for the State Pension.

  • You can choose to apply for State Pension (Contributory) at age 66, but eligibility and payment amount depend on individual circumstances and social insurance contributions.

Streamline Your Employee Health Insurance Management with Kota

Invalidity Pension is a weekly payment for people permanently unable to work due to illness or disability. On the other hand, Disability Allowance is a weekly allowance for individuals with limited work capacity due to disabilities. 

You can only get one of the two benefits, depending on your health condition and work capacity. 

Sure, you can get additional healthcare-related social welfare benefits, but they may not be sufficient to cover your medical costs. 

As an employer, you can rely on Kota to secure your Irish staff’s healthcare needs.

With Kota, you gain access to a single digital platform that simplifies and automates the enrollment and management of health and retirement benefits.

So join Kota to start enrolling your team in minutes!


Aine Kavanagh

Article written by

Aine Kavanagh

👋🏻 Hi I'm Aine, Head of Customer Success at Kota. Whether you're a Kota customer, a Kota user, or you're just browsing, I hope to help educate and empower those who want to know more about owning their own benefits, and building financial autonomy 📚

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