Many people living and working in Ireland have elderly or sick relatives living in other EU countries.  In some circumstances, it becomes necessary or desirable for the relative to come and live in Ireland.

Whilst EU citizens can freely move to Ireland, they only have a right to receive a social welfare payment in limited circumstances.

Generally only those who have been economically active in Ireland have a right to social welfare in their own right.   If an EU citizen works, even part-time, they can access social welfare and housing supports.

If an EU citizen has never worked in Ireland, they can still access these supports if they are married to an EU citizen who has a long-term right of residence, or if they are the dependent parent of an EU citizen who has a long-term right of residence.

When deciding whether a parent is dependent, the authorities will look at whether the parent was finically dependent before they arrived in Ireland.   It is therefore important that if you are providing financial support to your parents in another EU country, that you keep any records such as bank statements or other information in case you need to bring your parents to Ireland in the future.

If a parent can show that they were financially dependent on a child who is a EU worker before they arrived in Ireland, they may be able to receive means-tested social welfare payments when they come to live in Ireland.  These payments include Disability Allowance or the State Pension (Non Contributory).   You should remember however that these payments are means-tested, and that any income or property from another country will be considered as part of the application.  Many applications however are refused, but there is a right of appeal against these decisions.  It can take several months for applications and appeals to be considered.

If your parents require full-time care, you may be able to receive a Carers Allowance or Carers Benefit payment for them.

Housing supports, such as the local authority housing list and HAP are also available to those who can show they have a long-term right of residence under EU law.   If you own property in another country, this will be taken into consideration in your application, but it should not automatically disqualify you.

There are also supports available that allow workers in Ireland to go to other EU countries if they become sick, or if they need to look after relatives there.   Illness Benefit is paid to workers who are no longer able to work, and Carers Benefit is paid to workers who take Carers Leave from their employment to look after a sick relative.   Both of these payments are available in other EU countries, as long as Ireland is the country that you worked in last.  Both payments can be received for a maximum of 2 years.   Invalidity Pension is paid to workers who have worked in Ireland for at least five years and who become permanently incapable of work and can be received in any country.  A reduced pro-rata Invalidity Pension is available if you have not worked more than 5 years in Ireland, but have worked for more than 5 years within the EU.

These kind of family situations can be complicated and very stressful.  Please contact us if you need any help or information about your entitlements to support, or if you need to appeal a decision.

If you would like further information email

Richie MacRitchie is an information officer with Welfare Appeals, who provide information and representation on social welfare, housing, employment and other issues.Regular clinics are held in Russian language in the Larkin Unemployed Centre, North Strand Road, Dublin 3 and by zoom (Appointment is required)

For details, visit .

The above information is provided for information purposes only, and without any liability for any error or omission.   It does not purport to constitute legal advice


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