Rural Social Scheme Celebrates 10th Anniversary North Tipperary LEADER Partnership Rural Social Scheme recently celebrated our 10th Anniversary. To mark the occasion, Mairead Lavery was guest speaker at a function in Birdhill Community Centre. R.S.S. participants past and present from the North Tipperary area were joined by N.T.L.P. Board members, management and staff to celebrate the occasion.

Rural Social Scheme (RSS)

The Rural Social Scheme (RSS) provides income support to low income farm families who are in receipt of long term social welfare payments.

Working Conditions for Participants:

The scheme is operating at its full potential in North Tipperary with 37 participants and 2 supervisors placed in various locations across the North Tipperary area. Participants generally work 19.5 hours per week on the scheme. It is administered in a farmer friendly fashion so the participant can work their hours in a flexible way and in a way that best suits their farming situation. For example, a participant can work a week-on/week-off or times of work can be varied to suit personal circumstances – this flexibility should be agreed with the RSS supervisor. Participants are initially given a one-year contract on the scheme. This may be extended depending on availability of places and funding.


Weekly payment rates for the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) changed from 17 September 2012. The rates of payment for new participants on the RSS depend on your qualifying Department of Social Protection (DSP) payment. In most cases your RSS rate of payment will be equivalent to your existing payment plus a €20 top-up. So, if the actual social welfare payment (including dependants) you were getting was €188 a week or less, then you will get the minimum weekly rate of €208 (that is €188 plus €20). If your actual weekly social welfare payment (including dependants) was €188.01 or more, then you will get the equivalent rate plus €20.

Qualifying payment Rate of payment on RSS
Jobseeker’s Allowance or Benefit, Farm Assist Equal to your current rate of payment plus €20 top-up. Minimum weekly payment of €208.
One-Parent Family Payment Equal to your current rate of payment plus €20 top-up. Minimum weekly payment of €208.
Disability Allowance Equal to your current rate of payment plus €20 top-up. Minimum weekly payment of €208.
Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension You continue to receive your pension with a top-up of €20.
Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Non-Contributory Pension You continue to receive your pension with a top-up of €20 (The minimum combined payment is €208).
Qualified Adult on a State Pension (Non-Contributory) Your spouse will continue to receive the Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA). Your rate on the RSS will be the difference between your IQA payment and €208

An ‘A’ PRSI contribution will be paid in respect of all participants. All wage payments to participants are assessable for Income Tax (PAYE) purposes. However, the actual amount payable by an individual will depend on his/her circumstances.Participants on the RSS will be exempt from paying the Universal Social Charge.

What type of work will I be doing?

The rural social scheme provides certain services of benefit to rural communities by harnessing the skills and talents of the people participating on the scheme. The type of work carried out by RSS participants includes:

  • Projects relating to maintenance and enhancement of way-marked ways, agreed walks, bog roads etc;
  • Energy conservation work for elderly and less well-off;
  • Village and countryside enhancement projects;
  • Social care and care of the elderly, community after-school support groups and community pre-schooling support groups;
  • Maintenance and caretaking of community and sporting facilities
  • Projects relating to not for profit cultural and heritage centres
  • Community administration/ clerical duties
  • Other appropriate community projects (permission MUST be sought from the Department)

To participate in the scheme you must be getting:

Farm Assist Or If you are actively farming or fishing (this means that you must meet the criteria set out below), you may qualify for the scheme if you are also getting one of the following social welfare payments:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Jobseeker’s Benefit (if previously on CE or RSS within the last 12 months)
  • Disability Allowance
  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension or Widow’s,Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Non-Contributory Pension
  • Increase for a Qualified Adult under 66 years of age as part of your spouse, cohabitant or civil partner’s State Pension    (Non-Contributory)

Actively farming criteria:

You must provide proof that you are actively farming. To do this, you must provide a copy of your application for the EU Single Payment Scheme for the current year, including a valid herd number.

If you are an interested farmer or a community group who wish to apply for work to be carried out under the Scheme, you can contact one of the RSS supervisors. New applications from Host Community Groups are currently being accepted.


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