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Social Welfare Information
The Department of Social Protection (DSP) is the Government Department that controls and administers most income supports in Ireland but some are administered by the Health Service Executive through local centres.
The Department has a range of benefits available to people who are unemployed.
To find out if you are entitled to any payment please contact your local welfare office. Contact details may be found on www.welfare.ie
Jobseekers Payments (JB and JA) The main social welfare payments for unemployed people are either Jobseekers Benefit (JB) or Jobseekers Allowance (JA).
How to qualify for Jobseekers Benefit or Jobseekers Allowance
For all Jobseekers payments you must be:
• unemployed (fully unemployed or unemployed for at least 4 days in 7)
• aged between 18 and 66 for Jobseeker’ Benefit and Jobseekers Allowance
• available for and capable of full-time work
• Genuinely Seeking Work
• willing to accept any reasonable offer of education, training, re-training or work experience recommended by the Department of Social Protection, or any persons appointed by the Minister for Social Protection, which is relevant and appropriate to your circumstances.
For Jobseekers Benefit you must also
• satisfy the PRSI contribution requirements For Jobseekers Allowance you must also
• satisfy a means test
• satisfy the Habitual Residence Conditions (HRC) Intreo – Services and Supports to Jobseekers Intreo is a single point of contact for all employment services and in the provision of income supports.
Intreo provides individualised supports to jobseekers to assist them in getting back to work and increasing their employability, and to employers. Jobseekers will be called to engage with Intreo in identifying and agreeing employment, work experience, training and education options to support their progression into work.
JobPath – Employment Services for Jobseekers JobPath is a new approach to employment activation to support people who are long-term unemployed and those most likely to become long-term unemployed to secure and sustain full-time (30 hours per week or more) paid employment Participation in JobPath is compulsory, there is a requirement that the unemployed person engages with the JobPath provider.
Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme (SWA)
The Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) scheme provides a basic income support payment to eligible people who are habitually resident in the State and whose means are insufficient to meet their needs and those of their dependants. The main purpose of the basic supplementary welfare allowance scheme is to provide immediate and flexible assistance for those in need. The scheme is subject to certain terms and conditions.
A typical example of this is where:
• an application for a Social Welfare payment has been made and is being processed and the claimant has no other income.
• a request for a Review of a negative decision has been made and pending the outcome of the review the claimant has no other income.
• an official Appeal against a decision or refusal of payment has been lodged with the Social Welfare Appeals Office and the claimant has no other income.
• a single/once-off payment is required to help meet an exceptional and unforeseen need which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income.
SWA – Types of Payment
• Basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA)
• Rent Supplement • Basic SWA Payment – (where “Pending Payment of Wages” from employer)
• Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
• Mortgage Interest Supplement *
• Heating Supplement
• Diet Supplement
• Travel Supplement
• Exceptional Needs Payment (ENP)
• Urgent Needs Payment (UNP) * Scheme closed to new applicants SWA – Who is eligible for a payment? Any person resident in the state whose means do not meet her/his needs, and the needs of any child dependant or qualified adult, is entitled to apply for a Supplementary Welfare Allowance payment.
In order to get a payment you must:
• Satisfy a means test
• Satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition (HRC)
• Have applied for all possible benefits or assistance from either the Department of Social Protection or other appropriate state agency
• Have provided all information or documentation reasonably requested by the Department, where such request pertains to material you could reasonably be expected to provide where it is relevant and appropriate to the processing or administration of your application
• Have registered with Department of Social Protection / Intreo if you are of working age • Have positively engaged with the Department in pursuing any offers of training, education or work experience as recommended by an official of the Department
• Satisfy the Department of Social Protection that you need the particular payment The following groups are not normally entitled to a basic weekly payment:
• Full-time students (but students studying under an approved educational scheme can apply) see Chapter 6.
• Full-time workers, unless employment is under 30 hours per week.*
• People involved in trade disputes, however they may claim Supplementary Welfare Allowance for their dependents.
Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA)
The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance encourages unemployed people and those receiving other Social Welfare payments to take up self employment opportunities by allowing them to retain a proportion of their social welfare payment, plus secondary benefits.
BTWEA – Who is eligible? You will qualify for the BTWEA if you:
● Are setting up a self-employment business that has been approved in advance in writing by a Case Officer or Integrated Development (Partnership) Company And
● Are 12 months getting Jobseekers Benefit or Allowance. If you are on Jobseekers Benefit you must have an underlying entitlement to Jobseekers Allowance. If there is no Jobseekers Allowance entitlement, the qualifying period for Jobseekers Benefit is two years. Or
● Getting One-Parent Family Payment, Disability Allowance, Blind Pension, Farm Assist, Disablement Pension (Incapacity Supplement), Pre-Retirement Allowance, Invalidity Pension, Carer’s Allowance, Widow’s/Widower’s (NonContributory) Pension, Deserted Wife’s Benefit / Allowance, or Prisoner’s Wife Allowance for at least 12 months Or
● Getting Illness Benefit for 3 or more years
● Getting Farm Assist, providing that the self-employment is now in relation to the holding and not the continuation of an existing operation
● A person released from prison who satisfies the eligibility criteria for the scheme BTWEA – Helping you Qualify for BTWEA Periods spent on SOLAS or Fáilte Ireland training courses, Community Employment, Community Services Programme, Rural Social Scheme, Tús, Gateway, FIT, Job Initiative and VTOS, count towards the qualifying period – only if you received a qualifying Social Welfare payment before participating in any of these and have an entitlement to a qualifying Social Welfare Payment immediately prior to commencing on the BTWEA. Periods spent in receipt of Supplementary Welfare Allowance and Direct Provision count towards the qualifying period – only if you are receiving a qualifying Social Welfare payment after these periods.
Periods spent on Live Registers in the E.U. can be accepted as periods of unemployment provided you have signed the Live Register here for 13 weeks. Time spent on other Social Welfare payments can be combined to make up the qualifying period and other additional qualification exceptions may apply, subject to your circumstances.
BTWEA – Duration and Payment The amount of time you can participate on the BTWEA is 2 years. You will receive:
● 100% of your Social Welfare payment in the first year, and
● 75% of your Social Welfare payment in the second year
Your payment on the BTWEA will be based on the rate of payment in force at the time of your application for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance. If qualifying Social Welfare payment is not being paid at the full rate you will only receive 100% and 75% of this reduced rate during the period of the BTWEA. You should ensure that you are in receipt of the maximum rate of payment applicable to your circumstance before taking up the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance. The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance is paid directly into your current, deposit or saving account in your bank or building society account each week. The allowance cannot be paid into a mortgage account.
BTWEA – Additional supports available
● Enterprise Support Grants, of up to €2,500 in any 24 month period, are available to support customers who wish to engage in viable selfemployment Enterprises.
● Training grants are available to give you the skills necessary to run your business e.g., computer skills, management skills etc.
● Local Enterprise Boards develop enterprise in their area and are responsible for grant aiding and supporting new businesses with less than 5 employees
BTWEA – Income from employment Your income from self-employment will not affect your payment on the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance. However, your combined income from employment and the BTWEA may affect your secondary benefits.
BTWEA – Tax and PRSI
While participating on the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance you will pay a Class S PRSI contribution on your earnings from self-employment. Class S PRSI does not enable you to avail of the full range of Social Welfare benefits available to an employee, for example you would not be entitled to claim either Jobseeker’ Benefit or Illness Benefit. You will not accrue any entitlement to Jobseekers Benefit while self-employed. Self-employed persons cannot make Class A PRSI contributions. You will not receive any paid or credited class A PRSI contributions while on the BTWEA. Your income from self-employment will be subject to Tax at the appropriate rate.
Losing your Job
Losing your job – Short-time A short-time situation occurs when there is a reduction in the amount of work available, and applies where the reduction to your pay or hours is less than half the normal weekly amount of your normal pay/hours. Short-time is a change to your terms and conditions of employment and must be agreed with you. This must be a temporary situation and your employer must notify you before the reduction in hours/pay starts.
Losing your job – Lay-off A lay-off situation arises where your employer is temporarily unable to provide work for you. Your employer can lay you off if it is in your contract of employment or it is custom and practice in your workplace. Lay-off is a change to your terms and conditions of employment and must be agreed with you, unless it is a term of the contract or if it is custom and practice in the industry. This must be a temporary situation and your employer must notify you before the reduction in hours/pay starts.
Losing your Job – Redundancy (Short-Time and Lay-off) If you do not agree to Short-time or Lay-off your employer could seek to make you redundant. If a short-time or lay-off situation exists and has continued for 4 weeks or more, or for 6 weeks in the last 13 weeks, and your employer cannot guarantee you at least 13 weeks employment, at your full hours and rate of pay, you may be able to claim redundancy.
This is considered voluntary redundancy and you are not entitled to notice or pay in lieu of notice. It is the responsibility of the employer to pay statutory redundancy to all its eligible employees. Where an employer can prove to the satisfaction of the Department that he/she is unable to pay the statutory redundancy to his/her employees the Department will make lump sum payments directly to the employees and will seek to recover the debt from the employer. If claiming a redundancy lump sum payment from the Department of Social Protection you will need to complete the RP50 application form which must be signed by the employee and employer. There is no limit on the number of times an employer may put an employee on short-time or lay-off, as long as the employer can guarantee at least 13 weeks employment. However, if it becomes apparent that the short-time or lay-off is no longer temporary then the situation could be considered a redundancy.
Losing your Job – Entitlement to Jobseekers payment If your hours of work are reduced so that you are unemployed for at least 4 out of 7 consecutive days you may be entitled to a Jobseekers payment from the Department of Social Protection.
Losing your Job – Working on a Sunday – Jobseekers Allowance: Sunday is treated as a day of employment and taken into account when calculating the amount of Jobseekers Allowance you will qualify for. Income from employment on a Sunday will be assessed as means when calculating entitlement to Jobseekers Allowance.
– Jobseekers Benefit: Sunday is treated as a day of employment and taken into account when calculating the amount of Jobseekers Benefit paid.
– Jobseekers Benefit: Where a person in receipt of Jobseekers Benefit is working for part of a week, the payment entitlement will be based on a 5-day week rather than a 6-day week, this means that you will lose 1/5 of your weekly payment for each day that you work
To qualify for Jobseekers Benefit you must have enough PRSI contributions and must have suffered a substantial loss of employment in any period of 7 consecutive days. This means, you must have lost at least one day's employment and as a result of this loss be unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7 days. Your earnings must also have been reduced because of the loss of employment. If your employer reduces your days at work to 3 days a week or less, and you do not qualify for Jobseekers Benefit, you may get Jobseekers Allowance for the other days. You must meet the other conditions that apply to Jobseekers Allowance, for example, you must satisfy a means test.
Please contact us on 044 9345060 if you have any queries regarding welfare information.
"Supported by the Department of Social Protection, which is funded by the Irish Government"