Frequently Asked Questions - Benefit of Work Ready Reckoner


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  1. What it is the Ready Reckoner?
  2. What does it do?
  3. What does it not do?
  4. Why is it called a Ready Reckoner and not a calculator?
  5. How do I use it?
  6. When should I use the Ready Reckoner?
  7. Will there be any further information about the Family Income Supplement available?
  8. What is Back to Work Family Dividend?
  9. What is the relationship status on the Ready Reckoner used for?
  10. Is mortgage interest supplement still available?
  11. Does the Ready Reckoner take into account other costs of returning to work such as travel and childcare?
  12. When the Ready Reckoner presents the 'Employment Amount' in comparison to the 'Welfare Amount' will I still need to factor in other costs such as rent or mortgage?
  13. Can a couple with separate Jobseeker claims use the Ready Reckoner?
  14. If my partner gets work at minimum wage and we are not eligible for FIS can I apply for a job seeker payment in my own right?
  15. Are there any plans to expand the Ready Reckoner so that those unemployed looking for casual/part-time work or those in casual/part-time work looking for fulltime employment will be able to use it?
  16. Will there be any further information about rent supplement or mortgage interest supplement?
  17. What should I do if the Ready Reckoner has indicated that I would be better off on welfare rather than in employment?
  18. Will the Department of Social Protection be able to advise me about tax and tax credits?
  19. Does the Ready Reckoner also work on browsers that are not Internet Explorer?
  20. Is the Ready Reckoner available as an app?

1. What it is the Ready Reckoner?

The Ready Reckoner is a tool that gives an indicative calculation of the total amount that would be received by a Jobseeker on taking up fulltime work, including any entitlement to Family Income Supplement. This is compared to what you currently receive in Jobseeker payments (including any rent supplement or mortgage relief). This tool does not take into account other allowances you may be in receipt of.

2. What does it do?

The Ready Reckoner will:

  • Calculate a person's net weekly pay based on the tax credits for the following relationship statuses:
    • Single Person
    • Married Person or Civil Partner
    • Widowed Person or Surviving Civil Partner qualifying for One Parent Family
    • Widowed Person or Surviving Civil Partner without dependent children
    • One Parent Family
    • PAYE
    • Home Carer
  • Calculate your weekly take home pay (net pay) based on standard PRSI and Universal Social Charge rates
  • Calculate Back to Work Family Dividend (if it applies)
  • Calculate Family Income Supplement if it applies (the top up payment which working families on low pay with children may qualify for)
  • Compare your weekly take home pay (net pay) plus any Family Income Supplement and/or Back to Work Family Dividend entitlement a person may have with their existing Jobseeker payments
  • Display a bar chart showing the results

3. What does it not do?

The Ready will not:

  • Take your personal circumstances into account
  • Take all tax, income and expenses into account
  • Calculate for two income households
  • Calculate for any social welfare payment other than a Jobseeker Payment
  • Include any in-work income supports that you may qualify for
  • Take account of potential work associated costs such as travel or childcare
  • Take Child Benefit into account as it will not be affected if you take up full time employment
  • Apply to those Jobseekers who
    • May be exploring self-employment as a possible option
    • Are considering taking up casual or part-time employment
    • Are moving from casual or part-time to fulltime employment

4. Why is it called a Ready Reckoner and not a calculator?

It is called a Ready Reckoner because it just gives a rough guide to what you would earn in employment without taking into account all of your individual circumstances. The Ready Reckoner does not calculate exactly what you will earn on the basis of the information the Department holds about you.

5. How do I use it?

You must first agree to the disclaimer. Once you have agreed to the disclaimer you need to provide the following five or six pieces of information

  1. Your estimated gross weekly wage
    For gross weekly wage you should enter the appropriate amount (there is a link to sample salaries to help you convert your annual salary or hourly rate to a weekly rate). The minimum amount for fulltime work is 30 hours a week which at minimum wage is €259.50. The minimum wage at 40 hours a week is €346.00.
  2. Relationship status
    The relationship status is a drop down menu for you to choose from and is required to calculate the relevant standard tax credits.
  3. The number of dependent children (if any)
    You should enter in the appropriate number of dependent children (this is used to calculate any entitlement to Family Income Supplement)
  4. How long you have been in receipt of a Jobseeker's payment
    If you have any dependent children you will also be asked to state whether you have been in receipt of payment for 12 months or longer (for calculating your eligibility to Back to Work Family Dividend).
  5. Current weekly job seekers payment
    You should enter what you currently get as a Jobseeker payment (e.g. €188 for a single individual, no children, or €372.40 for an individual claimant with a dependent adult and two dependent children). You should include your weekly fuel allowance in your welfare payment amount. You should not include any other payments.
  6. Current weekly rent supplement or mortgage interest supplement (if any)
    You should enter the amount you receive in either rent or mortgage interest supplement. If you receive nothing you should leave it at 0.

When all the information is entered, press calculate. The Ready Reckoner will present a snapshot of your possible Employment Amount in comparison to your current Welfare Amount.

6. When should I use the Ready Reckoner?

The Ready Reckoner has been developed to help you work out the benefit to work and to calculate the amount of FIS and/or Back to Work Family Dividend you may be entitled based on the information you provide. It is available to use at any time on www.welfare.ie.

 

7. Will there be any further information about the Family Income Supplement available?

Family Income Supplement (FIS) is a weekly tax-free payment for families at work on low pay. The Ready Reckoner site includes a link with details of the Family Income Supplement. The link is also available here.

8. What is Back to Work Family Dividend?

Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) will be introduced from April 2015; new applications will be processed from 1 January 2015. The scheme is available to Jobseeker's Benefit or Allowance recipients with children who have been on these schemes for more than one year where they leave these schemes to take up employment or self-employment. It is also available to OPFP and JST recipients who exit these schemes to employment or due to age related changes to the OPFP scheme. The dividend is €29.80 per week per child and will be paid at half rate, or €14.90 per child, for the second year in employment. People who are eligible for this payment may also be eligible for FIS, and so may get both payments.

9. What is the relationship status on the Ready Reckoner used for?

The relationship status on the Ready Reckoner is used to calculate the appropriate standard tax credits. Further details about standard tax credits are available on the Revenue Commissioners website here.

10. Is mortgage interest supplement still available?

Mortgage interest supplement was closed to new applicants from 1 January 2014. If you were receiving mortgage interest supplement at that time there is a possibility of retaining some of it when you return to employment. Details are available here.

11. Does the Ready Reckoner take into account other costs of returning to work such as travel and childcare?

No. The Ready Reckoner cannot cater for individual circumstances and therefore will not reflect costs such as travel or childcare.

12. When the Ready Reckoner presents the 'Employment Amount' in comparison to the 'Welfare Amount' will I still need to factor in other costs such as rent or mortgage?

Yes, the indicative 'Employment Amount' shown by the Ready Reckoner takes into account tax but no other weekly cost. You will need to take away the cost of rent/mortgage, the cost of travel, the cost of childcare, etc. to get an estimate of what you would have at the end of a week.

13. Can a couple with separate Jobseeker claims use the Ready Reckoner?

No. While the tool will be available to everyone it will only calculate based on a single Jobseeker payment (including dependent adults or children). If a couple with separate Jobseeker payments use the Ready Reckoner, the amount calculated for standard tax credits and FIS and/or BTWFD will probably be inaccurate. In such cases the Jobseeker should discuss the matter with their Case Officer at their local DSP office or Intreo centre.

14. If my partner gets work at minimum wage and we are not eligible for FIS can I apply for a job seeker payment in my own right?

Yes, if you are available for and seeking work you are entitled to apply for a jobseeker payment.

15. Are there any plans to expand the Ready Reckoner so that those unemployed looking for casual/part-time work or those in casual/part-time work looking for fulltime employment will be able to use it?

Not at this time. The Department will monitor the use of the Ready Reckoner before further development is considered.

16. Will there be any further information about rent supplement or mortgage interest supplement?

The Ready Reckoner site includes links with details on the eligibility criteria under which those who return to work keep their Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement. Further details about rent supplement are available here. Further details about Mortgage Interest Supplement are available here.

17. What should I do if the Ready Reckoner has indicated that I would be better off on welfare rather than in employment?

It is required that a Jobseeker takes up a reasonable offer of employment rather than stay on a Jobseeker payment. A Jobseeker payment is meant to provide some financial assistance while a person is seeking employment not to act as a barrier to taking up work. If you do not take up a reasonable offer of employment this may impact on your Jobseeker's payment.

18. Will the Department of Social Protection be able to advise me about tax and tax credits?

No. Queries about tax and tax credits are better addressed to the Revenue Commissioners. The Revenue Commissioners website is available here. The Citizen's Information site also provides a short guide to tax credits here. The reason tax is included in the Ready Reckoner is to more accurately estimate your net weekly wage when in employment.

19. Does the Ready Reckoner also work on browsers that are not Internet Explorer?

 Yes. The Ready Reckoner works on Firefox and Chrome. It also works on smart phones and tablets.

20. Is the Ready Reckoner available as an app?

The Ready Reckoner is not available as an app to download.

Last modified:31/12/2014
 

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