Could you live off the dole if mortgage free?


Ok so this is inspired by recent hikes in unemployment payments


For most people, the cost of housing is their biggest payment to worry about. If you had that sorted, could you simply sign on for the next decade or two?

Let us use 2 adults and 2 kids under 12 for an example:

2019 Weekly income:

Main claimant (203)
Spouse / partner (134.70)
Per child under 12 (34) Per child over 12 (37)

Total 2 adults and 2 kids under 12:
405.70 weekly or 21,096.40 annual

2019 Sporadic income:

Back to school allowance: 150 per child under 12 (275 per child over 12) (Total 300 for 2 under 12s)

Fuel allowance: 27.50 x 27 weeks (742.50)

Christmas bonus of one extra weekly payment: 405.70

Total 2 adults and 2 kids under 12: 1,448.20

2019 Total income:
Overall annual total: 22,544.60
Overall weekly avg: 433.55

Could you live off €433 per week?

and we haven’t spoke of other benefits such as

  1. free medical card for family
  2. commuting costs saved
  3. lunch costs saved
  4. childcare saved
  5. seeing your kids more
  6. big once off items like new beds/fridge/freezer/boiler/insulation are paid extra through Supplementary Welfare Allowance and grants


You’d always pick up a few days a week casual labour (cash in hand) if you wanted, especially if you had a trade or were handy.


I think my housing costs have been below 10% of household income since my mid-twenties.

There are plenty of other things to spend money on. Raising kids is very expensive, not least because of all the cognac you have to drink to get through it.


The SW system is punitive on cash savings over €20k.

Meanwhile you can be living in a house worth €1m and it doesn’t impact your benefits.




The low income family may also be entitled to a HAP Payment if living in a high rent area so the difference is not as clear cut. It’s still a terrible system but the disincentive to employment that existed in the old RA system is gone.


It is tight to live on 22k a year for 2 adults and 2 kids. You could do it, but it would be a meagre existance. Not talking Stalingrad during the war here, but you’d soon get tired of it at the same time.


Whats worse, a small house an hour commute from Dublin with both parents working and little time to see the kids versus probably a small house in the middle of nowhere with all day to do whatever?

Which poison would you choose?


It’s easier to live frugally as a single person.

Kids have certain expectations. And society has expectations of what you should provide your kids.

You can find lots of claims online where people say stuff like: “I live on $500 a month ex housing costs”. None of them ever appear to have children.


So do wives! :angry:


Why it can pay to earn less in Ireland: Grants, pensions, medical cards … -1.3673167