Jobseekers Allowance and Jobseeker's Benefit - Frequently Asked Questions


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  1. What payment can I claim if I lose my job or my working week is reduced?
  2. Where should I apply for Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance?
  3. What is the means test for Jobseeker's Allowance and how do I work it out?
  4. What counts as means?
  5. How are the means of my spouse/civil partner/cohabitant assessed?
  6. Is my pension assessed as means?
  7. What does not count as means?
  8. Are means assessed if you are living at home with your parents?
  9. If I get a redundancy payment, am I entitled to anything?
  10. What happens if I voluntarily leave my employment?
  11. What happens if I lose my employment because of misconduct?
  12. Can I get paid Jobseeker's Benefit/ Allowance if I am on strike?
  13. Are credits awarded for periods of disqualification?
  14. If I am late making my claim what date am I paid from (Late Claims)?
  15. What documents do I need when making a claim?
  16. How will I get my payment?
  17. What are the current rates of payment for JB/JA?
  18. What is the rate of Jobseeker's Allowance that applies to customers aged 18-25 years?
  19. How long can I continue to get my payment?
  20. If I take up employment or training for a short period, do I have to reapply for my Jobseeker's payment all over again?
  21. What happens if I am aged 20-25 (inclusive) claiming Jobseeker's Allowance and go on a Solas training course?
  22. Do I have to pay tax on my Jobseeker's payment?
  23. I have been working abroad for the last couple of years. I have now returned to Ireland and I am looking for a job. Can I apply for a Jobseeker's payment?
  24. I have been self-employed for some time but I now have no work. Is there anything I can claim?
  25. I have been on a career break. My employer is not in a position to take me back on completion of the career break. Am I entitled to claim JB/JA?
  26. Is Sunday treated as a day of employment or unemployment?
  27. I am currently on a Jobseekers payment. I am thinking of setting up a business but will I be entitled to any payment if I don't get sufficient work?
  28. Will I qualify for the Fuel Allowance while I am in receipt of JB/JA?
  29. If I want to transfer my Jobseeker's benefit to another EU country, what must I do?
  30. Where can I find out more about the National Internship scheme?

1. What payment can I claim if I lose my job or my working week is reduced?

You can claim Jobseeker's Benefit / Jobseeker's Allowance.

To qualify for a Jobseeker's payment you must be unemployed for at least 4 days in 7 and be available for and looking for full-time employment.

For Jobseeker's Benefit you must satisfy the PRSI contributions conditions and have a loss of employment and earnings.

For Jobseeker's Allowance you must satisfy the means test and the habitual residence condition.

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2. Where should I apply for Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance?

You should apply at your Local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Local Office or you can apply online at www.welfare.ie. You can download an application form (UP1) at Form UP1.

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3. What is the means test for Jobseeker's Allowance and how do I work it out?

  • The means test for Jobseeker's Allowance looks at all your household income. Your means are any income that you and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant has and any capital or property (except your own home) that you own. See Q 4.
  • For further information on how to work out how your means are assessed see means assessment guideline

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4. What counts as means?

The means test examines the following types of income:

  • Cash Income (includes income from work, maintenance, farm income)
  • Capital (savings and investments) and property not personally used
  • Pensions (occupational/private, foreign)

Means Assessment guideline

Cash Income that you or your spouse/ civil partner/ cohabitant receives

All cash income is assessable as means. Among the cash income that is assessed is:

Employment

Insurable employment

If you or your spouse/ civil partner/ cohabitant are working in insurable employment the income less the following deductions are taken into account: PRSI, Superannuation including Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC's) and Personal Retirement Saving Accounts (PRSA's), the Pension Levy and Union dues. A disregard of €20 for each day worked subject to a maximum of 3 days a week will also be deducted from the income. 60% of the balance is assessable as means.

Example Single Customer works 2 days a week, gross weekly income is €303 a week. The customer pays Union Contribution of €3.00. The personal rate is €188. The Jobseeker's rate payable is €32 (€188 - €156) calculated as follows: (€303 - €3 – €40 = €260 X 60% = €156).

Self-employment

If you or your spouse/ civil partner/ cohabitant are self-employed the yearly income less the expenses for the business are taken into account for means assessment. The income for the previous 12 months is used as an indication in estimating your likely future earnings; it is not simply assumed that the previous year's earnings will be received in the coming year. Instead, account is taken of the potential for significant upward or downward variations in income from one year to the next.

Example Customer is self-employed he has a dependant spouse and one child. The customer's self-employed income for previous 12 months is €20,000 – €5,000 (yearly expenses) = €15,000/52 = €288.46 weekly means. Your weekly family rate is €342.60 (€188+€124.80+€29.80) less means. Family rate payable is €54.14 (€342.60 – €288.46).

Farm Income

All Farm income is assessable less the expenses incurred in farming.

Income from maintenance paid to you or your spouse/ civil partner/ cohabitant

Housing costs actually incurred by the customer to a maximum of €95.23 per week may be offset against the maintenance payment, with half the balance of the maintenance being assessed as means in the determination of the rate of payment

Capital

This includes money invested in all institution, all properties other than the customer's home. The capital assessment is: First €20,000 is disregarded, next €10,000 is assessed at €1 per €1,000, the next €10,000 is assessed at €2 per thousand, and anything over €40,000 is assessed at € 4per €1,000. Where property (capital) has a mortgage the capital value of the property less outstanding mortgage on that property applies. If a property is in negative equity then no capital assessment applies.

Example of assessing capital

Capital means assessment is assessed as follows:

Person has €5,000 in a Bank account and has a 2nd property valued at €90,000 with a mortgage of €10,000 outstanding on it. The capital assessment in this case is €85,000 (€5,000 plus €80,000). The total capital assessment is €85,000.

Capital Weekly means assessment
First €20,000
Nil
Next €10,000
€1 per €1,000
Next €10,000
€2 per €1,000
Excess of €40,000
€4 per €1,000

The capital assessment is €210 weekly assessment in this case.

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5. How are the means of my spouse/civil partner/ cohabitant assessed?

They are assessed in the same way, as outlined in FAQ 3.

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6. Is my pension assessed as means?

Yes, your pension is assessable euro for euro. All occupational /private pensions and pensions from other countries are assessable.

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7. What does not count as means?

Social welfare payments (for Benefit & Privilege see Question 9)

The first €20,000 of your capital/ savings / investments is disregarded.

Compensation awards to individuals made by the Tribunal for Hepatitis C

Compensation awards to individuals who have a disability caused by Thalidomide

Compensation to individuals who were awarded under the Magdalen Laundries & Residential Institutions Statutory Fund

Income from Letting a room in your home. If a portion of your home is being let, deductions from rental profits should be allowed in respect of ground rent and mortgage interest in proportion to the area used for business purposes. If rooms are let furnished 5% of the gross amount received are allowed for wear and tear and 15% of the gross receipts maybe allowed for voids.

See Part 2 of Means Assessment guideline for cash income that is not counted as means.

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8. Are means assessed if you are living at home with your parents?

The value of the Board & Lodgings is taken into account for customer under 25 years living at home. See Benefit & Privilege guideline for further information.

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9. If I get a redundancy payment, am I entitled to anything?

In certain circumstances, a person who has been made redundant shall be disqualified from receiving Jobseeker's Benefit for a period of up to 9 weeks from the last date of employment. This disqualification applies only to persons who are:

under age 55, AND

have received or are entitled to a payment in excess of €50,000 under the Redundancy Payments Acts or under an agreement with their employer. This amount includes the gross amount of all payments in respect of the redundancy, e.g. statutory redundancy, top-up or ex-gratia payments related to weeks of service, early encashment of pension entitlements (if from employer's funds) and any other money received under an agreement with the employer.

Period of Disqualification

It should be noted that, while the imposition of a disqualification is mandatory, the duration of the disqualification is discretionary and may range from one day up to the maximum period of 9 weeks.

The disregard that applies to Jobseeker's Benefit recipients is as follows:

Amount of Redundancy Payment New Banding Period of Disqualification
€50,000.00 to €55,000
1 week
€55,000.01 to €60,000
2 week
€60,000.01 to €65,000
3 weeks
€65,000.01 to €70,000
4 weeks
€70,000.01 to €75,000
5 weeks
€75,000.01 to €80,000
6 weeks
€80,000.01 to €85,000
7 weeks
€85,000.01 to €90,000
8 weeks
€90,000.01 and over
9 weeks

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10. What happens if I voluntarily leave my employment?

You may be disqualified from receiving Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance for up to 9 weeks from the date of leaving employment if you left the employment voluntarily and without just cause.

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11. What happens if I lose my employment because of misconduct?

You may be disqualified from receipt of JB or JA for up to 9 weeks where you have lost your employment through your own misconduct. The duration of the disqualification is discretionary, although it cannot exceed 9 weeks.

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12. Can I be paid Jobseeker's Benefit/Allowance if I am on strike?

No. You are disqualified from receiving Jobseeker's Benefit and Jobseeker's Allowance for the duration of the strike.

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13. Are Credits awarded for periods of disqualification?

Credited contributions are awarded for the duration of the above disqualifications, subject to the conditions of being available for and capable of work being satisfied.

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14. If I am late making my claim what date am I paid from (Late Claims)?

A claim may be backdated for a maximum of 6 months where the person can prove to the satisfaction of the Deciding Officer or Appeals Officer that they satisfied the qualifying conditions throughout the period and that there was good cause for delay in making the claim.

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15. What documents do I need when making a claim?

P.45 or a letter from your employer

Proof of address

Proof of Identity

Public Services Card (PSC) if issued or photographic identification i.e. valid passport or valid driver's license

OR

Photographic identification: Current Valid Passport. Alternatively, Current Valid National Identity Card is acceptable for EEA Nationals OR

Current Valid Driver's Licence or Current Learners Permit and

The following items are not accepted as proof of identity:

Short Version of Birth Certificate

Baptismal Certificate

Bills or Personal Letters

Photo Copies of Certificates or Documents

Savings Accounts recently opened

Persons are advised that no claim can be decided until identity has been proven.

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16. How will I get my payment?

Jobseeker's Benefit and Jobseeker's Allowance are paid weekly in arrears in a post office using a social welfare services card.

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17. What are the current rates of payment for JB/JA?

Jobseeker's Benefit /Jobseekers Allowance – full weekly personal rate is €188.00, qualified adult rate €124.80 and qualified child rate €29.80. The rates booklet is the SW 19.

Example of Max Pay:

If one of a couple qualified for a personal rate of €188 and a qualified adult allowance of €124.80 then the couple would be in receipt of the maximum amount that they could receive e.g. €312.80. If they both wished to claim in their own right the person on Jobseeker's Benefit would receive €188 and the Jobseeker's Allowance would have their personal rate of €188 reduced by €63.20. Therefore the Jobseeker's Allowance customer would receive €124.80. Total payment to couple is €312.80. This is assuming that all the conditions for Jobseeker's payments are satisfied by both customers.

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18. What is the rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance that applies to customers aged 18-25 years?

From 15th January 2014
Age Personal Rate Qualified Adult rate
18-24
€100
€100
25
€144
€124.80
26 or over
€188
€124.80

If one of a couple is claiming Jobseeker's Benefit and the other person is claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, the couple can only receive the maximum amount that one would receive if they claimed for the family. See FAQ 17 Example of Max Pay.

The rates booklet is the SW 19.

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19. How long can I continue to get my payment?

Jobseeker's Benefit may be paid for up to 156/234 days of unemployment depending on the total contributions paid since commencing employment. A person with 260 or more contributions paid may qualify for 234 days and a person with less than 260 total contributions paid qualify for 156 days.

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20. If I take up employment or training for a short period, do I have to reapply for my Jobseeker's payment all over again?

The Department operates a fast-tracking system for customers who sign off to take up employment or training for a short period (up to 12 weeks), you do not have to reapply for your Jobseeker’s payment when the employment or training ends. The 12 week suspension period ensures that your payment is re-instated without delay. It is important that you inform your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Local Office in advance that you are taking up work or training.

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21. What happens if I am aged 20-25 (inclusive) claiming Jobseeker's Allowance and go on a Solas training course?

The personal rate (subject to any means that may apply) while attending the course is €160. If a higher rate of payment than €160 was in payment before the course began, that higher rate will apply.

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22. Do I have to pay tax on my Jobseeker's payment?

Jobseeker's Allowance is not taxable.

Jobseeker's Benefit is taxable. The Department pays Jobseeker's Benefit directly to recipients without any deduction for tax. See www.revenue.ie for more information

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23. I have been working abroad for the last couple of years. I have now returned to Ireland and I am looking for a job. Can I apply for a Jobseekers payment?

If you have been working in another EU Member State, your social insurance record in that Member State may be taken into account to help you qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit in this country. If you need to combine your contributions from another EU country to qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit your last employment must have been in this country.

If you do not qualify for Jobseeker's benefit you may qualify for Jobseeker's allowance. Your Local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Local Office will advise you.

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24. I have been self-employed for some time but I now have no work. Is there anything I can claim?

Applicants who do not have the required PRSI contributions for Jobseeker's Benefit may apply for Jobseeker's Allowance.

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25. I have been on a career break. My employer is not in a position to take me back on completion of the career break. Am I entitled to claim JB/JA?

A person on a career break is considered to be 'not unemployed' during the agreed period of the career break and will not receive JB/JA during this time. Where the agreed period of the career break has ended and you have sought to return to work but cannot due to a lack of a vacancy, you may apply for Jobseeker's benefit/allowance.

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26. Is Sunday treated as a day of employment or unemployment?

The Jobseeker's benefit week is based on a 7 day week. Sunday is treated as any other day in the week, as a day of employment or unemployment as appropriate.

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27. I'm currently on a Jobseekers payment. I'm thinking of setting up a business but will I be entitled to any payment if I don't get sufficient work?

You may qualify for Jobseeker's payment or Back to Work Allowance please contact your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Local Office.

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28. Will I qualify for Fuel Allowance while in receipt of JB/JA?

The National Fuel Allowance is payable for the duration of the fuel season to those receiving Jobseeker's Allowance for 15 months or more who live alone or only with a qualified dependant or other eligible recipients and who satisfy the conditions for the scheme. Payment of the National Fuel Allowance is limited to one per household.

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29. If I want to transfer my jobseeker's benefit to another EU country, what must I do?

Call into your Local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Local Office and ask to have your payment transferred.

A person in receipt of Irish JB for at least 4 weeks may transfer the JB claim to a country covered by EC Regulations (No. 883/2004) for up to 3 months (78 Days) if the person is looking for work

You must register as a jobseeker with the social security authorities in the other country within 7 days of your departure from Ireland.

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30. Where can I find out more about the National Internship scheme?

Information regarding JobBridge - The National Internship Scheme can be found at National Internship Scheme - JobBridge Scheme page. You check on Internships available, or register you interest in providing an internship(s).

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Further Information:
Jobseeker's Benefit guideline

Jobseeker's Allowance guideline

Last modified:07/04/2015
 

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