Single Mother Allowed One Parent Payment Following Successful Review

Commission Provided Legal Representation to Single Mother to Review One Parent Family Payment Refusal Decision

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) welcomes the decision by the Social Welfare Appeals Office to allow a single mother of two access the One Parent Family Payment.

The mother of two is from a Sub-Saharan African country and arrived in Ireland in 2013. She applied for refugee status and was granted permission to remain in the State in 2019, having resided in Ireland throughout. The woman enrolled in a pre-nursing course, however she subsequently had to drop out of the course due to a lack of funds because she was unable to access financial support through the One Parent Family Payment. The woman recently obtained work part-time as a cleaner.

Using its statutory powers, the Commission represented the mother in submitting a request to the Chief Appeal Office to review the decision disallowing her the One Parent Family Payment. The refusal decision was made on the grounds that she had failed to satisfy the habitual-residence condition as her presence in the State was not in accordance with her permission to remain.

In its submission, the Commission argued that the conditions attached to the woman’s permission to remain did not prohibit her from accessing social welfare and the appeals officer materially erred in fact in finding that they did.

In this case as the mother of two was not working at the time of her application for One Parent Family Payment, the refusal decision relied on the permission to remain condition that ‘she makes every effort to gain employment, set up a business or pursue a profession, and not to be a burden on the State.’

The Chief Appeals Officer maintained that it is lawful to consider compliance with permission to remain conditions when assessing the habitual residence condition requirement.

The Chief Appeals Officer went on to overturn the refusal decision following a review of all the facts in considering the woman’s compliance with the permission to remain and the new information submitted in respect of her recent employment status.

The woman, who brought forward the review, welcomed the outcome:

“I am delighted with the decision. It will help me to move on with my life and to support my daughters. I want to access further education and I will be able to get financial support for this now that I am on the correct payment.”

Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

“The Commission welcomes this positive outcome following our grant of legal assistance, which facilitates access to education and employment opportunities to this single mother.”



For further information, please contact:

Karen Joynt, IHREC

01 8589601 / 087 448 2963

Visit our website or follow us on twitter @_IHREC


Notes to Editor


The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

Under its legal functions set out in the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, the Commission can, in certain circumstances, provide legal assistance to a person who wishes to bring a matter of human rights or equality of treatment before the Courts or the Workplace Relations Commission.

Assistance under Section 40 of the Act means any or all of the following

the provision, or the arranging for the provision of, legal advice to the applicant;

the provision, or the arranging for the provision of, legal representation to the applicant

the provision of such other assistance to the applicant as the Commission deems appropriate in the circumstances;