If you are aged 18 or over and unemployed, you may be paid either
Jobseeker's Allowance (JA) or Jobseeker's Benefit (JB). Both payments are
paid by the Department of Social Protection (DSP).
You may get Jobseeker's Allowance if you don't qualify for Jobseeker's
Benefit or if you have used up your entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit. In some
cases, if you are only entitled to a reduced rate of Jobseeker's Benefit you
may be better off on Jobseeker's Allowance. However, Jobseeker's Allowance is
means-tested and your means must be below a certain level to qualify.
You must be unemployed to get Jobseeker’s Allowance. You must also be
capable of, available for, and genuinely seeking work to qualify for
Jobseeker’s Allowance – and you must be able to show evidence of this to
the Department of Social Protection. However, you may get a proportion of your
Jobseeker’s Allowance if your days at work are reduced or if you can only get
part-time or casual work. Income from work affects the amount of Jobseeker’s
Allowance you get. Find out more about how
income from work is assessed for Jobseeker’s Allowance.
There is an exemption from some
of the rules for retained firefighters. People who had been getting a
One-Parent Family Payment and who no longer qualify because their youngest
child has reached the age limit can qualify for a special payment called Jobseeker's
You can use a new Benefit
of Work Ready Reckoner from the Department of Social Protection to help you
assess out the financial consequences of taking up full-time work. The Reckoner
works out the total amount you would receive on taking up full-time work
(including any Family Income Supplement) and compares this to what you are
getting in jobseeker payments (including Rent Supplement).
From 15 January 2014 reduced age-related rates of Jobseeker's Allowance took
effect. Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) claimants without children aged between 18
and 24 receive €100 per week. JA claimants without children aged 25 receive
€144 a week. This weekly €144 rate will increase to €188 when they reach
26 years of age. (The previous rates were €100 a week for people aged between
18 and 22 and €144 for people aged between 22 and 24.)
People aged between 18 and 26 who were getting a higher rate will not have
their rate reduced. However, the new age bands will apply to their payment as
they reach the relevant age. So, for example, a person who was getting €100 a
week in 2013 who turns 22 after 15 January 2014 will stay on their original
€100 payment until they turn 25 and a person who was getting an age-related
payment of €144 in 2013 will remain on that rate until they turn 26.
These reduced rates of Jobseeker’s Allowance will apply to people aged 25
and under who have exhausted their entitlement to Jobseeker’s Benefit.
The HSE care provision for people getting JA was also extended to age 24 for
new claims taken on or after 15 January 2014. So, for example, a person who
applies for JA after 15 January 2014 and is aged between 18-24 will get a rate
of €188 because they were in the care of the HSE during their 17th year.
New provisions for older jobseekers
The Department of Social Protection is putting new administrative provisions
in place to ease the transition from the labour force into retirement.
From 1 January 2014, if you are claiming Jobseeker’s Benefit
or Allowance and are aged 62 or over, the following will apply:
- You will no longer be required to engage with the activation process and
you will not be subject to penalty rates for non-engagement
- You can voluntarily avail of a range of supports (for example, training
or employment support programmes) from the Department of Social
In addition, most jobseekers aged 62 or over will be placed on a yearly
signing arrangement with their local social welfare office (this means that
they do not need to sign on regularly) and most will be transferred to
Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) payments so payment can be made directly into
their bank account. Certain categories of older jobseekers may be required to
engage more frequently with their local social welfare office. For example,
casual jobseekers of 62 and older must continue to submit weekly dockets of
their work patterns.
Note that to qualify for either Jobseeker’s Benefit or Allowance you must
be genuinely seeking work and be available for full-time employment and these
conditions will continue to apply to older jobseekers.
Intreo - the integrated employment and support service
Intreo is a new
service from the Department of Social Protection which will provide a
single point of contact for all employment and income supports. Currently
Intreo is available in 43 Department of Social Protection offices. More Intreo
centres are due to open during 2014. Details of new locations will be published
To get Jobseeker's Allowance you must:
- Be unemployed (you must be fully unemployed or unemployed for at least 4
days out of 7)
- Be over 18 and under 66 years of age
- Be capable of work
- Be available for and genuinely seeking work
- Satisfy the means
- Meet the Habitual
To get Jobseeker’s Allowance you must be unemployed. However, there are
circumstances in which you can do some work and get Jobseeker’s Allowance.
You can also take up to two
weeks holiday in a year and continue to get your payment.
Part-time or casual work
If you get part-time or casual work (up to and including 3 days per week),
you may still be paid a proportion of your Jobseeker's Allowance. However, you
must show that you are trying to get full-time employment.
If you have been getting long-term Jobseeker's Allowance (over 390 days or
15 months) and you take up part-time work for less than 24 hours a week you may
be eligible for the Part-time
Job Incentive Scheme (PTJI). This scheme allows you to take up part-time
work and get a special weekly allowance instead of your jobseeker’s payment.
Reduced days at work
If your employer reduces your days at work to 3 days week or less, you may
get Jobseeker's Allowance for the other days. You must meet the other
conditions that apply to Jobseeker's Allowance, for example, you must satisfy a
A lay-off situation arises where your employer is unable to provide work for
you, but believes this to be a temporary situation and tells you this before
the work finishes. If you are laid off work you may get Jobseeker’s
Allowance. You will not get Jobseeker’s Allowance for any day you are getting
If you are self-employed, you may be entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance,
depending on your income from your business. You can find out out more about self-employment and
unemployment on selfemployedsupports.ie.
Self-employed farmers on a low income should apply for Farm Assist.
You may be able to do voluntary work and continue to get Jobseeker's
Allowance. You must continue to satisfy the conditions of the payment, which
means that you must be available and looking for work. You must also get
permission from a Deciding Officer at your social welfare local office or
Intreo centre. Find out more about voluntary work and
social welfare payments.
If you are on strike, you will not be considered unemployed
and will not get Jobseeker's Allowance. However, if you are out of work as a
result of a strike, for example, you have been laid off because of the strike,
you may get Jobseeker's Allowance. You may get Jobseeker's Allowance if you are
"not participating in or directly interested in the trade dispute which caused
the stoppage at work".
If you are on strike your family may get Supplementary
Capable of work
You are capable of work unless you can produce medical evidence to prove
that you are not able to work. If you have spent some time incapable of work
you must produce a final medical certificate to prove that you are now fit for
work. If you are ill and incapable of work you may be entitled to Disability
Allowance or Illness Benefit.
If you are pregnant you are considered to be capable of work unless you have
complications during your pregnancy or you are ill. You
can read more in our document on 'Pregnancy and social welfare
Available for work
The Department of Social Protection’s Operational Guidelines state that
you are considered available for employment, if:
- You state that you are available for work
- You do all that is asked to show compliance with this availability
- There is no evidence to suggest the contrary
Essentially the Department of Social Protection considers that you are
available for employment if you are prepared to accept any offers of suitable
However you can be regarded as not being available for work and therefore
not entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance if you put unreasonable restrictions on
- The nature of the employment
- The hours of work
- The rate of pay
- The duration of the employment
- The location of the employment
If a Deciding Officer thinks that that you have placed unreasonable
restrictions, you will be interviewed and given the opportunity to respond.
Note that if you refuse a suitable offer of work you can be disqualified from
Jobseeker’s Allowance. If you are looking after a sick or elderly person you
may be entitled to Carer's Allowance.
can read more about the available for work condition in the Department of
Social Protection’s Operational Guidelines. See also 'Further
Genuinely looking for work
You must also show that you are genuinely looking for work. The Operational
Guidelines state that a day is not treated as a day of unemployment unless on
that day you are genuinely seeking suitable work.
You must be able to show that you are making genuine efforts to secure
employment. You need to provide examples of such steps. Steps which would
indicate that you are considered to be genuinely seeking work may include:
- Making oral or written applications for work
- Looking for information on the availability of employment from employers,
advertisements and employment agencies
- Taking up reasonable training opportunities
- Acting on the advice given by a Job Facilitator or other placement agency
such as the Local Employment Service (LES)
- Taking positive, well advised steps towards establishing yourself in
self-employment such as researching possible areas of self-employment
- Preparing business plans for a self-employment project
- Attending relevant "start your own business" courses or seeking
information, advice or guidance in relation to any of these steps
can read more about the genuinely looking for work condition in the Department
of Social Protection's Operational Guidelines.
Jobseeker's Allowance is a means-tested payment. Your means must be below a
certain level to get Jobseeker’s Allowance. A means test looks at all your
sources of income including your spouse’s, civil partner’s or
cohabitant's. However, some income may not be taken into account. (A
cohabitant is a person living in an intimate and committed relationship with a
person of the same or opposite sex who is not that person’s spouse, civil
partner, or a close relative.)
Your total household means is deducted from the maximum payment for your
household's circumstances (usually this is the personal rate including any
increases for adult and child dependants) to find the actual amount of
Jobseeker’s Allowance you are entitled to. Find out more about the
means test for Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Your means are halved if your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is getting
a social welfare payment in his or her own right* or is on a SOLAS or VTOS
course and getting an allowance. If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is
getting a payment in his or her own right you will not get an Increase for a
Qualified Adult but you will get a half-rate increase for each qualified child.
*Except for Child Benefit, Domiciliary Care Allowance, Disablement Pension,
Welfare Allowance and half-rate Carer's
You can claim an increase for your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant while
they are taking part in a Community
Employment (CE) scheme. Their earnings from the scheme are assessed in the
same way as earnings from insurable employment (and your combined means are not
If you are 24 years of age or under and you are living with
a parent or a step-parent in the family home, some of your parents' income will
also be taken into account in the assessment for Jobseeker's Allowance. The
Department call this an assessment of the 'benefit
andprivilege' you get from living with your parents. Find out
more about how
living with your parents is assessed in the means test.
Spouse, civil partner or cohabitant working
If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant works or is taking part in a
Community Employment (CE scheme) it can affect your Jobseeker's Allowance.
Their earnings from insurable employment are assessed in the same way as your
earnings from part-time or casual work. Find out more about work
and Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Disqualification and reduction in payment
You may be disqualified from getting Jobseeker's Allowance for 9 weeks if
- Left work voluntarily and without just cause
- Lost your job through misconduct
- Refused an offer of suitable alternative employment or suitable training
Suitable employment does not include employment in a job that is vacant
because of a trade dispute. In addition, the employment must be suitable,
having regard to your age, sex, physique, education, normal occupation, where
you live, rate of pay offered and your family circumstances.
Your payment can be reduced if you refuse or fail to attend meetings
requested by the Department or if you refuse or fail to participate in an
appropriate employment support scheme, work experience or training.
If you have just left school you cannot get Jobseeker's Allowance. To get
Jobseeker's Allowance you must have been out of school for three months and you
must be at least 18 years of age.
Third-level students cannot claim Jobseeker's Allowance or Benefit while
they are studying full-time. This disqualification also applies to the summer
holiday periods between academic years (unless you are a mature student).
However once you have finished college permanently you can claim a jobseeker's
payment if you cannot find work. This is also the case if you leave college
without finishing your course.
Short-term employment or training
The Department of Social Protection operates a fast-tracking system for
people who sign off a jobseeker's payment to take up work for a short period
(up to 8 weeks) or to go on a short training course (up to 8 weeks). This
ensures that your payment is re-instated without delay. It is important that
you inform your local social welfare office in advance that you are taking up
work or training. Your Rent
Supplement or Mortgage
Interest Supplement claim can also be suspended for up to 8 weeks.
Work experience for jobseekers
JobBridge, the National Internship
Scheme provides work experience for people who have been getting a
jobseeker’s payment or signing for credits for at least 3 months. See our document
on JobBridge. The Work
Placement Programme provides 9 months’ work experience for graduates and
other unemployed people. For more information contact your local employment
Jobseeker's Allowance rates in 2014
Maximum rate for people aged 26 or over
|New and existing
||Increase for a qualified
||Increase for a qualified
Maximum rate for people under 26 without
||Increase for a qualified
|18 - 24
The reduced personal and qualified adult rates of Jobseeker’s Allowance
(JA) for claimants under 26 do not apply to:
- Claimants with dependent children
- People transferring from Disability Allowance to JA
- People aged 22-25 who were getting a higher rate before 15 January 2014
(see Existing claimants below)
- People whose claim is linked to a previous JA claim made within the
previous 12 months to which the maximum personal rate applied
- Certain children who were in the care of the HSE during the 12 months
before reaching 18. These people are assessed using the JA rate for people
aged 26 or over. This exception only applies between the ages of 18 and 24.
From the age of 25, the age-related rate applies.
If you were getting a age-related reduced rate of JA and you take part in a
course of education, training, Community Employment, Rural Social Scheme or
Tús, the reduced personal rate of payment applicable to that course or scheme
will apply as long as you are aged under 26. When you complete the course you
will revert to your previous age-related JA rate.
From 1 January 2014 all new Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) participants
aged under 26 who were getting a reduced age-related Jobseeker’s Allowance
payment, will get a maximum BTEA rate of €160 per week (any means
participants have will be deducted from this rate).
Existing claimants before 15 January 2014
There are no reductions in rates for existing claimants aged between 18 and
25 who were getting a higher rate before the changes on 15 January 2014.
(People aged 18-21 got €100, people aged 22-24 got €144 and at 25 the full
personal JA rate was payable.) However their payments will increase in line
with the new rates.
For example, John turned 22 on 5 January 2014. He has been claiming JA since
January 2013 and his rate increased from €100 to €144 on 5 January 2014.
John can continue to get a rate of €144. If John continues to claim JA his
rate will increase to €188 on his 26th birthday.
Mary is aged 21 and was getting a JA payment of €100 before 15 January
2014. She will turn 22 on 2 March 2014. Mary will continue to get a rate of
€100. If Mary continues to claim JA her rate will increase to €144 on her
25th birthday and to €188 on her 26th birthday.
Payments for dependants
If you qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance you get an amount for yourself,
which is called the 'personal rate of payment'. You may also get an increase in
your payment for an adult dependant and any
child dependants you may have.
A 'child dependant' is usually a child up to 18 years of age who lives
If you are getting a Jobseeker’s Allowance for at least 156
days and your child is in full-time education, an Increase for a
Qualified Child (IQC) will be paid up to 22 years of age or up to the end of
the academic year in which he or she reaches 22.
You will only get a half-rate IQC if you and your spouse,
civil partner or cohabitant are both getting a social welfare payment. You will
each get a half-rate IQC.
You may get an Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA) for an adult dependant
(this is usually your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant). If you are single,
widowed, divorced, separated, a former civil partner or not living with your
civil partner, and living with a person aged 16 or over, you can claim an IQC
for them but only if he or she is caring for a child dependant of yours. See
also 'Means test' above.
You can collect your Jobseeker’s Allowance payment weekly from your
nearest Post Office.
You must bring valid photographic identification (photo ID) with you to
collect your payment. The following is considered to be valid photo ID:
- Driving licence
- GNIB card
- EU/EEA nationals may use a National Identity Card
Staff working in the Post Office may ask to see your photo ID before giving
you your payment.
Extra benefits with your Jobseeker's Allowance at the end of
Unavailable for work
You can be regarded as not being available for work and not entitled to
Jobseeker's Allowance (JA) or Jobseeker's Benefit (JB) if you put unreasonable
restrictions on the following:
- The nature of the employment
- The hours of work
- The rate of pay
- The duration of the employment
- The location of the employment
In any case where a Deciding Officer is of the opinion that you have
placed unreasonable restrictions, you will be interviewed and given the
opportunity to respond.
For example, you are considered unavailable for work in the following
- You are looking for a particular type of work only
- If you state that you are looking for part-time work only. However, if
you cannot get suitable full-time employment, you can still accept
- If you are in part-time employment and getting an unemployment payment
you must show that you are trying to get full-time employment
- If you are only available during hours which are not typical of the
employment you are looking for, for example, looking for clerical office
work in evenings only
- If you are unwilling to take up an offer of reasonable short-time
employment, for example, relief work or employment under a short-term
- If you move to a location where your prospects of getting suitable
employment are significantly reduced. However, the reasons for the move
will be taken into account. You can move under a resettlement programme and
still claim JA.
- If you are placing unreasonable restrictions on the distance which you
are willing to travel to find work. However, access to public and private
transport is taken into account.
- You may also be asked about your responsibilities at home, for example,
who is looking after your child dependents. This question must be asked of
both male and female applicants. Other circumstances in which you could be
considered unavailable for work include: if you are ill, or if you are
looking after a sick or elderly person.
If you are ill and not capable of work you may be entitled to Disability
Allowance. If you are getting Jobseeker's Benefit and become ill you may be
entitled to Illness Benefit.
If you are looking after a sick or elderly person you may be entitled to Carer's Allowance.
Special provisions regarding availability
There are legislative provisions specifying the circumstances in which a
person may be deemed to be available for work or is exempted from the
requirement to be available for work:
Night workers: When you are employed to work continuously
from one day through to another, the general rule is that the day on which the
shorter number of hours is worked is treated as a day of unemployment. You are
also deemed to be available for work on that day.
Rehabilitation training: You are considered to be available
for work on any day you are participating in a course of rehabilitation
training provided by an organisation approved by the Minister for Health and
Children for that purpose.
Courses of education, training or development: You are
deemed to be available for work while participating in a course of education,
training or development approved by the Minister of Social Protection provided
that you are at least 21 years of age, you are getting JA or JB for at least 6
months (156 days) and you have given notice of your intention to participate in
the course. The course chosen must enhance your employment prospects. Courses
may be approved by the Department's Job Facilitators or by Back to Education
benefits with your Jobseeker's Allowance
If you are getting Jobseeker's Allowance, you may be entitled to:
Supplement - a payment that helps with the cost of your rent.
- a weekly payment between October and April to help with fuel costs. Fuel
Allowance is payable to people who have been getting a jobseeker’s payment
for 390 days, if they satisfy the relevant qualifying conditions. Days of
unemployment on Jobseeker's Benefit count towards the 390 days if the
Jobseeker’s Benefit claim was immediately before the award of Jobseeker’s
to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance - a payment designed to help
towards the cost of uniforms and footwear for children who are attending
school. The scheme is payable between June and September each year - contact
your local health centre.
card - if your income is below certain level, you may get a medical card.
It covers you for free doctor care, prescriptions, etc. - contact your local
Books Grant Scheme - each year, the Department of Education and Skills
provides grants to primary, secondary and comprehensive schools towards the
cost of schoolbooks for students in financial need. You should contact the
school principal for more information. The school principal will also advise
you whether the school runs a book loan scheme, whereby your children's books
are provided for a nominal rental charge each year.
You do not qualify for the Household
Benefits Package or Free Travel
with Jobseeker’s Allowance.