Over 8,000 farmers were in receipt of Farm Assist payments during March, according to the Department of Social Protection.

In response to Parliamentary Question from Independent Roscommon TD Michael Fitzmaurice, the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton confirmed that 8,039 farmers received Farm Assist payments in March.

Farmers in Donegal and Mayo were the main recipients of this payment, with 1,309 and 1,259 farmers receiving support from the Department of Social Protection.

Meanwhile, Kildare, Wicklow and Dublin had the lowest number of recipients, with a combined total of just over 100 farmers.

The Farm Assist scheme was introduced in 1999 to replace ‘Smallholders Unemployment Assistance’ for low income farmers, without the requirement to be available for and genuinely seeking work.

The Farm Assist scheme provides support for farmers on low incomes and is similar to jobseeker’s allowance.

Farm Assist scheme Assessment

The scheme is means tested and the Department of Social Protection previously said it was designed to reflect the actual net income from farming.

The income and expenditure figures for the preceding year are generally used as an indicator of the expected position in the following year.

Exceptional circumstances are also considered to ensure that it accurately reflects the farmers current situation and any farmer experiencing lower levels of income can ask for a review of their means.farm assist