Can Social Welfare check your bank account?

The Social Welfare does not access your bank account unless you give permission. A Social Welfare Inspector may interview you about your income and may ask you for supporting documents, such as bank statements or accounts. This may involve a visit to your home.

When you apply for a means-tested social welfare payment you must fill out an application form. This form asks for information about sources of income. You must give details of all your means when completing the application form for a social welfare payment. The Department of Social Protection (DSP) can ask you for details of the bank accounts you hold, including the account numbers. The DSP does not access your bank account unless you give permission.

A Social Welfare Inspector may interview you about your income and may ask you for supporting documents, such as bank statements or accounts. This may involve a visit to your home.

All your sources of income are added together and taken into account when deciding whether you qualify for a means-tested payment. The decision on your means is made by a separate Deciding Officer. You will be told how exactly your means were assessed. If you are not satisfied, you may appeal to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

Once your means have been assessed as a certain amount and you have been awarded a social welfare payment you are responsible for telling the DSP about any changes in your circumstances. If you do not you may be liable for fines or asked to repay any overpayment that may have occurred.

The means test for a social assistance payment can be a complex calculation and it can differ from payment to payment. Here we look generally at the way income from different sources is assessed in the means test.