Social welfare legislation provides that, for social assistance schemes such as one-parent family payment, all income and capital belonging to the claimant are assessable for means-testing purposes.
Accordingly, where an individual is renting part of their family home, the cash value of the rental income is assessed. However, such rental income is reduced by a range of deductions. These include:
- a proportion of any mortgage interest paid by the claimant on the part of the property rented;
- a 15% deduction for voids (i.e. periods when the accommodation is vacant between lettings); and,
- if the rooms let are furnished, a 5% deduction for wear and tear.
It should be noted that the deductions for voids and wear and tear are automatically applied to any rental income.
Any change to my Department’s means assessment policies would have to be considered in the overall policy and budgetary context.