Farm Assist

“Farm Assist” is a means tested payment for low income farmers

Farm assist is a means tested payment for low income farmers. If you are a farmer and you have income from another source (such as other self-employment, insurable employment or capital), you may still qualify for a payment under the farm assist.

You will qualify for this payment if:

  • you are a farmer,
  • are aged between 18 and 66, and
  • satisfy a means test.

A means test is a way of checking if you have enough means to support yourself and what amount of payment, if any, that you may qualify for. The means test takes into account virtually all forms of income but assesses it in different ways and disregards various amounts. When you apply for Farm Assist, a Social Welfare Officer will call to see you and conduct a means test.

Some but not all of the payments received under Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) are assessed. If you have leased your milk quota, the income from the leasing is assessed in full. Your income from a job is assessed, but not all of the income is taken into account. Income from an occupational pension is assessed in full. Income from capital includes property, savings and investments are assessed.

The value of capital is assessed as follows:

  • The first €20,000 of capital is disregarded.
  • €20,000-€30,000 is assessed at €1 for every €1,000
  • Next €10,000 is assessed at €2 for every €1,000
  • Excess of €40,000 is assessed at €4 for every €1,000

The assessment only applies to units of €1,000. Therefore all amounts should be rounded down to the nearest €1,000. For example if you have €38,400 in the bank, the first €20,000 is disregarded, €10,000 is assessed at €1 per €1,000, which is €10 and the remaining €8,000 is assessed at €2 per €1,000, which is €16 per week. So your income from capital is €26 per week or €1,352 per year.

If you have leased all of your land, you are no longer eligible for Farm Assist. If you don’t use your farm and as a result have no income from it, an assessment of its value to you is still made. Your home is not taken into account in the means test unless you derive an income from it. Since the 1st January 2007 you are no longer excused from paying PRSI. You must be liable to pay Class S contributions on your income from self-employment.

Rates of payment (2022)

Rates Weekly rates from 3 January 2022
Farm Assist Maximum weekly rate
Personal Rate €208.00
Qualified Adult €138.00
Qualified Child (under 12) €40.00 (full rate), €20.00 (half rate)
Qualified Child (12 and over) €48.00 (full rate), €24.00 (half rate)