Step 4: Check reckonable income limits
Applicants must satisfy a means test to determine whether they are entitled to a grant in the first instance and also to determine the level and rate of grant for which they are eligible.
What is Reckonable Income?
Reckonable income for student grant purposes is gross income from all sources, whether it arises in Ireland or abroad.
In calculating reckonable income, the awarding authority shall consider income from all sources, whether it arises in the State or not, including income under the following headings—
The income taken into account is gross income before any deductions such as PAYE, income tax, capital gains tax, capital acquisitions tax, PRSI and so on.
Whose Income is Considered?
This will depend on the type of applicant you are as follows:
What is the Reference Period?
For this academic year 2013/14, the reference period will be the 1st January to 31st December 2012.
If the business year differs from the tax year, we look at the income in the business accounts for the period which ends between 1st January 2012 and 31st December 2012.
What Income is disregarded?
Certain payments are disregarded when calculating reckonable income. These are known as income disregards:
There are other deductions allowed which are detailed here.
For the purposes of determining the reckonable income of an applicant, the aggregate of any of the following shall be deducted—
What are the Reckonable Income Limits?
To be eligible for a grant, the applicant’s reckonable income must be established. There are a variety of limits in respect of the allowable income depending on the adjustments/increments which are applicable in a particular case. Reckonable income limits are available here.
Are there any Adjustments/Increments applied to the Reckonable Income Limits?
There are two scenarios whereby increments may be applied to the reckonable income limits:
These additional increments are outlined in Schedule 1 of the Scheme.
What Documentary Evidence do I need?
The documentary evidence required for income will depend on your situation and is listed at Schedule 5 of the Scheme.
Who is eligible for Special Rate of Grant?
There is a special rate of grant available for eligible students whose income is below a threshold (currently) €22,703. This special rate provides a top up on the normal grant award.
The conditions to qualify for the special rate of grant are:
In addition, it is important to note that the reckonable income for the special rate only is net of the Child Dependant increase (CDI) where paid by the Department of Social Protection.
When can you have a Change of Circumstances in relation to Reckonable Income?
If you or your family have had a change in reckonable income after the reference period that is permanent and likely to last for the duration of your course, then your eligibility for the grant may be assessed or re-assessed to reflect the change in income. It will be based on revised income rather than income for the year ended 31st December 2012.
All income is re-assessed and not just the income of the person who experiences the negative change. Awards or adjustments will be made with effect from the month in which the change in circumstances occurs.
Can you have a Change of Circumstances for the Special Rate of Grant?
If you meet the income threshold for the special rate and do not have one of the eligible payments as at the 31st December 2012 but you subsequently acquire one of the eligible payments (other than Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit), then a change of circumstances in relation to the special rate of grant may be applied.