Rural Social Scheme

The aims of the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) are to provide income support for farmers and fishermen who are currently in receipt of long term Social Welfare payments including Farm Assist, and to provide certain services of benefit to rural communities.

This scheme allows low-income farmers and fishermen who are unable to earn an adequate living from their farm holding/fishing, to earn a supplementary income.

The intention of the Scheme is that the projects carried out are beneficial to the local community and that participants have the opportunity to improve existing or develop new skills.


Qualifying Criteria

To be eligible to participate in the RSS you must be in receipt of:

  • Farm Assist
  • OR have a herd / flock number AND be in receipt of one of the following Social Welfare payments:
  • Jobseekers Assistance
  • Disability Allowance
  • One-Parent Family Payments
  • Widow(ers) Pension (Contributory and Non Contributory
  • Copy of your Application for the EU Single Payment Scheme for the current year

    If permission is given by the herd owner then the following individuals may also participate on the scheme (if in receipt of one of the above listed payments):
  • Dependant Spouse/civil partner or cohabitant
  • Children / Siblings
  • Qualified adult dependant (under 66) of State Pension

Please note that each herd number may only be used once.


Rural Social Scheme in Offaly

The scheme is operating at its full potential in Offaly with over 60 participants placed in various locations across the county.

The type of work carried out by RSS participants includes:

  • Maintaining and enhancing various walking routes (that is waymarked ways, agreed walks) and bog roads
  • Energy conservation work for older people and those at risk of poverty.
  • Village and countryside enhancement projects.
  • Social care and care of older people
  • Community care for pre-school and after-school groups.
  • Environmental maintenance work - maintenance and care-taking of community and sporting facilities.
  • Projects relating to not-for-profit cultural and heritage centres.
  • Community administration or clerical work
  • Any other appropriate community based project identified during the course of the scheme

Community groups

Does your organisation have projects which require a labour input? The Rural Social Scheme (or Tús Scheme) may be able to help. An application form for community groups to avail of the scheme can be downloaded (see below).

If you are a member of a community group or a farmer interested in the scheme please contact us:

Tullamore office 057 9322 850
John Moran    087 9013 759
George Digan     087 9948 132
Tracy Pigott  087 1336 515

This is a  Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection service, fully funded by the Department, and delivered under contract in Offaly by OLDC for and on behalf of the Department.