Back to Work - Very Long Term Unemployed (VLTU) Programme

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This scheme is closed to new applications from 1st May 2009 as a result of the Supplementary Budget of 7th April 2009. Pre 1/5/2009 claims who continue to satisfy the criteria of the scheme will remain in payment.

(These Guidelines should be read in conjunction with the Guidelines for the Back To Work Allowance)

Table of Contents



Qualifying Conditions
Nature of employment
Secondary Benefits



4. APPENDIX 1 - VLTU form to be completed by Facilitator in pdf Format


The VLTU Programme was introduced in August 2000 as an addition to the Back To Work Allowance (BTWA).

The objective of the programme is to address the particular problems faced by the very long term unemployed in gaining a foothold in the active labour market.

The Allowance incorporates an additional payment of 44.50 per week for up to six weeks compulsory training with an employer followed by an automatic transfer to the BTWA when the person takes up regular employment.

The Programme is targeted at those who are at least five years on the Live Register (Jobseeker's Allowance/Jobseeker's Benefits). Recipients of the following Non Live Register payments One Parent Family Payment, Carers Allowance, Disability Allowance, Blind Pension, Farm Assist, Invalidity Pension, Incapacity Supplement, Pre Retirement Allowance, Widows/Widowers Non Contributory Pension and Illness Benefit can also qualify (subject to the 5 year condition).


Qualifying Conditions

A person should beĀ five years on the Live Register and satisfy the rate and age requirements for the Back To Work Allowance


Be five years on one of the other qualifying payments - see above).

Note: Qualified adults whose spouse/partner are eligible may also qualify for the programme (see main Guidelines).

Periods on FS, Failte Ireland, Community Employmnet, Social Economy Programme, Job Initiative, Rural Social Scheme, Fastrack to Information Technology (FIT), Vocational Training Opportunity Scheme and the Back to Education Scheme can be accepted as qualifying periods of unemployment.

Where an applicant has been employed for a brief period(s) within the previous five years, the application can be allowed where there is at least five years unemployment in the previous seven years. This provision will only be used at the discretion of the Facilitator.


If the six-week training period is not successful, the person may continue on the Live Register without interruption or loss of entitlement.

Nature of employment:

As per BTWA Allowance.


Participants in the Programme will receive the following:

  • A weekly travel/meal allowance of 44.50 per week will be paid in addition to the appropriate social welfare payment, for up to six weeks compulsory training.
  • An employer may pay some wages to the applicant for the six week training period. This will not give rise to a reduction in the persons social welfare entitlement.
  • Automatic transfer to the BTWA for three years when the person takes up regular employment.
  • Payment of 254.00 on commencing full employment (after the training period)
  • Payment of a further 254.0 on completion of six months employment

(Only those who complete the six weeks training period qualify for the 254.00 payments. A lesser period of training may be agreed between the local Facilitator, the employer and the employee. In such cases the Facilitator can approve the payment of the bonuses).

Secondary Benefits

The Health Service Executive has been instructed to disregard payments received by VLTU recipients over the first six weeks. This includes the 44.50 per week training allowance and any payments employers may give them during those six weeks.

Also disregarded will be the 2 x 254.00 payments.

From the seventh week, Rent and Mortgage Interest Supplement will be retained on the same basis as any other recipient of BTWA.


  • See RDO Memo 41/00
  • A BTWA applicant will not qualify for the Programme unless s/he completes a training period with an employer of up to six weeks which has been approved inadvance by the Facilitator.
  • The Jobs Facilitator will approve the applicant for the Programme, i.e. the training allowance, the 2 x 254.00 bonuses, and the BTWA itself. ( Appendix 1 should be completed by the Facilitator)
  • Changes of employment will not affect payment of the bonus. The second 254.00 can be paid once the claimant is still at work and has remained off the Live Register for six months.
  • During the six week training period applicants are counted on the Live Register
  • A claimant can requalify for the Programme at the discretion of the Facilitator where mitigating circumstances have occurred.
  • Non Live Register applicants (OPFP, DA, BP, Carers, etc) wishing to avail of the Programme will be processed by Back to Work Alloance Section, Employment Support Services, Shannon Lodge, Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim.
  • All VLTU claims must be approved in advance by a Facilitator.

Last modified:19/07/2010

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