Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (Self-Employed)


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(SELF-EMPLOYED ONLY)

GUIDELINES

INDEX

PART 1: GENERAL

  1. 1.1 Description of Scheme
  2. 1.2 Legislation
  3. 1.3 Application Form
  4. 1.4 Administration

PART 2: ENTITLEMENT

  1. 2.1 Qualifying Conditions
  2. 2.2 Other Qualifying Periods
  3. 2.3 Qualifying Combination of Payments
  4. 2.4 Extending the Periods in Receipt of Social Welfare
  5. 2.5 Qualified Adults Spousal Swap
  6. 2.6 Disqualification
  7. 2.7 Absence from the State
  8. 2.8 Resumptions
  9. 2.9 Nature of Employment
  10. 2.10 Rates Structure
  11. 2.11 Extra benefits

PART 3: CLAIMS AND PROCEDURES

  1. 3.1 Investigation
  2. 3.2 Claims
  3. 3.3 Decisions
  4. 3.4 ESF/YEI Requirements
  5. 3.5 Request for Review of Entitlement (Appeals)
  6. 3.6 Payment
  7. 3.7 Maintenance/Review
  8. 3.8 Continuing Payment after a Death in the Family
  9. 3.9 Credits

PART 4: THE ESF AND BACK TO WORK ENTERPRISE ALLOWANCE

  1. 4.1 Policy Context
  2. 4.2 Proposed Expenditure and Refunds
  3. 4.3 Segregation of Roles and Responsibilities
  4. 4.4 Eligibility for Costs and Periods
  5. 4.5 Documents Required for Proof of Expenditure
  6. 4.6 Availability of Supporting Documents
  7. 4.7 ESF Procedures Manuals
  8. 4.8 Verification Checks and Audits
  9. 4.9 Information and Publicity

PART 1: GENERAL

1.1 Description of Scheme

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance was established in March 1999. Prior to that, the first year was known as the Area Allowance (Enterprise) (AAE) aspect of the Area Based Initiative (ABI) while Years 2-3-4 were known simply as the Back To Work Allowance (Self-employed).

It is designed to encourage the long term unemployed to take up self employment opportunities by allowing them to retain a reducing proportion of their social welfare payment plus secondary benefits over two years.

From May 1st 2009, the allowance is paid on a reducing scale over a two year period, i.e. 100% of a person's social welfare payment in year one and 75% in year two.

The European Commission is providing co-funding to BTWEA for participants under 25 years. BTWEA is jointly backed by the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) and the European Social Fund (ESF) and Department of Social Protection on an equal funding basis. For the period 2015 - 2017 the allocation from each of the ESF and YEI is €1.55m approx.

For information purposes, details of budget changes to the scheme from 1997 are contained at Appendix 1.

1.2 Legislation:

The Back to Work Allowance Scheme is a non statutory scheme approved by Government. Government Decision S.27511B of 21 Iúil 1993 refers.

1.3 Application Form:

The BTWEA application form is available at the following link at www.welfare.ie (BTW2).

1.4 Administration:

The scheme is administered by:

Back to Work Allowance Section
Department of Social Protection
Employment Support Services
Shannon Lodge
Carrick-on-Shannon
Co Leitrim

Telephone Number: (071) 9672698

Fax (071) 9672553


PART 2: ENTITLEMENT

2.1 Qualifying conditions

To qualify, applicants must satisfy the following conditions immediately prior to commencing self employment:

  • Be under the age of 66 - the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance is only payable up to 66th Birthday.
  • Be setting up a self-employment business which has been approved, in writing, in advance by a Partnership Company or a Departmental Case Officer.
  1. AND
  • Be 12 months (312 days) getting Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance. A person on Jobseekers Benefit must have an underlying entitlement to Jobseekers Allowance. If there is no jobseekers allowance entitlement, the qualifying period is two out of the last 3 years on a qualifying payment.
  1. OR
  • in receipt of One-Parent Family Payment, Disability Allowance, Blind Person's Pensions, Carer's Allowance (Having ceased caring responsibilities), Farm Assist, Invalidity Pension, Incapacity Supplement, Pre-Retirement Allowance, Widows/Widowers Non Contributory Pension, Deserted Wife's Benefit/Allowance, or Prisoners Wife's Allowance for at least 12 months.
  • Be in receipt of Illness Benefit for three years or more.

In addition to those listed above the following may also be considered for participation in the scheme;

  • Recipients of Farm Assist provided that the self-employment is not in relation to the holding and not the continuation of an existing operation.
  • Casual signers require 312 days on the Live Register and an underlying entitlement to Jobseekers allowance to qualify.

2.2 Other Qualifying Periods

  1. Periods spent on full-time FÁS/Fáilte Ireland training courses, Community Employment, Social Economy Programme, Rural Social Scheme, FIT, FÁS Job Initiative, National Internship, WPP, TÚS and BTEA/VTOS, count towards the qualifying period provided they are preceded by a qualifying payment. The applicant must re-establish an entitlement to a qualifying payment as the BTWEA rate paid is based on this figure.
  2. Time spent on the Community Services Programme can qualify as a period of Unemployment. However 50% of the qualifying period must have been spent in receipt of a qualifying Social Welfare Payment. Time spent on the CSP must be preceded by a qualifying payment. 
  3. Periods spent in receipt of Supplementary Welfare Allowance and Direct Provision count towards the qualifying period provided the applicant establishes an entitlement to a relevant SW payment prior to commencing on the scheme.
  4. Periods spent as Qualified Adult for (i), (ii) and (iii) above count towards qualifying period once person has established entitlement to a qualifying social welfare payment.
  5. The qualifying period for Back to Work Enterprise Allowance for ex prisoners is 12 months. Periods spent in prison in the State can be taken as, or count towards the qualifying period once an underlying entitlement to Jobseeker's Allowance is established.
  6. Periods spent on Live Registers in the E.U. can be accepted as periods of unemployment provided the applicant has signed the Live Register here for at least 13 weeks since their return. (Periods spent on the Revenue 'Job Assist' are NOT considered as periods of unemployment).

2.3 Qualifying from a combination of payments.

From 1 March 2006, in cases where a combination of payments are required to make up the qualifying period it is no longer a condition to have at least half of the period in receipt of JA/JB. All qualifying payments will be treated in the same regard.

For example:
BTWEA applicant in receipt of JA for 4 weeks with a combination of IB and OPFP making up the balance of the 1 years required will now qualify for BTWEA. (Under the previous conditions the applicant would not have qualified as half of the qualifying period was not JA/JB).

Illness Payments may be restored to a person who subsequently wishes to revert during the lifespan of BTWEA provided they satisfy the medical condition pertaining to the illness related scheme which qualified the person for Back to Work Enterprise Allowance .

2.4 Extending the period in receipt of Social Welfare in order to satisfy the qualifying period.

From 1 March 2006 the following consideration will be given to persons who do not have the required period in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment:

  • Qualifying from JA
    1 out of 2 years in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment.
  • Qualifying from JB
    2 out of 3 years in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment
  • Qualifying from IB
    3 out of 5 years in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment.
  • Qualifying from all other payments
    1 out of 2 years in receipt of a qualifying payment

2.5 Qualified Adult - Spousal Swap

Where a person is partaking in the BTWEA scheme and they are no longer in a position to continue with the running of the business. Their qualified adult may avail of entitlement for the duration remaining on the original claim, provided they continue to run the business that was approved on the original BTWEA application for the purpose of these arrangements, an adult dependent is a spouse in respect of whom a qualified adult allowance is payable. When the Qualified Adult commences BTWEA, a separate claim should be set up in his/her name. S/he can claim an increase for the existing BTW recipient, who should sign for credits instead. There should be no loss suffered by the couple when entering this arrangement.

It is of vital importance that the existing recipient is made aware of the importance of credits in keeping his/her record up to date. It is usual that this person will have the principal social insurance record in the household on which future pension entitlements will be based. The normal rules for entitlement to credits will apply to persons whose partner is on BTWEA.

If the original owner of the qualifying social welfare payment decides to claim another Social Welfare payment during the lifespan of the BTWEA claim, the BTWEA claim MUST CEASE as BTWEA cannot be claimed concurrently with another SW payment.

2.6 Disqualification:

  • Persons who leave the country are no longer entitled to the Allowance.
  • Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas are not eligible to participate on the scheme.

2.7 Absence from the State

In cases where BTWEA applicants whose self employment ventures require that they spend time out of the country, it is a requirement that the intention/need to be absent from the state is highlighted on business plan/application and if/when approved is noted on the claim. In cases where it comes to the Department's attention that a client is out of the State without prior approval the claim shall be suspended initially and depending on the circumstances terminated and overpayments raised where necessary. The JA/JB holiday rule states 'a person may receive JB or JA for two weeks holidays (i.e. 12 days excluding Sundays) in any calendar year. These holidays may be taken abroad'. Any trip in excess of the holiday rule may result in suspension of a claim and payments for the periods involved. In all instances absences from the State must be notified to a Case Officer. In the main, a reasonable business trip shall be classified as being in the region of 2/3days

Any trips in excess of this will be at the discretion of a Case Officer or the local Integrated Development Company to approve and strong supporting evidence should be available to confirm the nature of the trip abroad.

Participation in the BTWEA can be periodically reviewed, to confirm that the conditions of entitlement continue to be satisfied. A review may also be initiated on receipt of notification of any change in circumstances which may affect entitlement. This may include a request for proof of residency in the state.

2.8 Resumptions

Persons are generally allowed to resume the BTWEA once. In exceptional cases and with due explanation, an applicant may be allowed resume the BTWEA for a second time provided there is less than five years since the claim was withdrawn. (Participation in seasonal type activities should NOT be allowed - see below).

In this way, persons simply resume where they left off. Once entitlement to the allowance has been previously established it is not necessary to receive a qualifying payment for a specified period. However, it is necessary to be in receipt of a Social Welfare payment immediately prior to commencing employment. The rate of payment is based on first qualifying Social Welfare claim.

2.9 Nature of Employment:

Seasonal, temporary or part time work is not acceptable for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance.

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance participants can avail of Employment Grants from a County Enterprise Board (CEB) or LEADER Employment Grants and receive the BTWEA.
A person taking up self-employment under the BTWEA scheme must not displace other people in the same business.

2.10 Rates Structure:

The claimant is paid a portion of their previous social welfare entitlement - 100% in Year 1 and 75% in Year 2

Claimants coming from JA/JB are paid the appropriate portion of their latest JA/JB entitlement. These rates are set and do not vary, except where a qualified adult makes a claim for Social Welfare in his/her own right. ( See also 3.7 Maintenance Review).

A person on Jobseekers' Benefit may qualify after 12 months provided they have an underlying entitlement to Jobseekers' Allowance. Where a person establishes an underlying JA entitlement and JB is exhausted, the BTWEA payment will be based on the appropriate Jobseekers allowance rate. Waiting days do not count as time spent on a qualifying payment for the purposes of qualifying for BTWEA. The 12 months period (312 paid days) on JB is the qualifying period in these instances and does not serve the purpose of establishing the rate at which future BTWEA should be based.

Every applicant for JB waits three days from the day they make their claim for their JB to go into payment. They are then entitled to a maximum of 312 days payment. While waiting days may count for time on the live register, these three days are not to be used when establishing entitlement to BTWEA.

OPFP's who have been in receipt of ½ Rate JB only receive 100% & 75% of their OPFP. (The ½ Rate JB ceases)

BTWEA applicants previously in receipt of Maximum Pay JA (i.e. half the family rate) should receive 100% of their Max. Pay amount. The JA recipient should immediately be subject to a Means Review. ).

2.11 Extra Benefits:

Participants in the scheme may retain any secondary benefits they were in receipt of prior to participation such as Fuel Allowance, Medical Card provided they satisfy a means test.

Back to School Clothing & Footwear allowance, Diet Supplement, Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme.

Any increase in income may affect your Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement. Income in excess of the first €75.00 or weekly earnings you or your spouse or partner get is assessable for Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement. (Any amount in excess of the €75.00 disregard is assessed at 75%).

Contact your local Department of Social Protection Office administering Supplementary Welfare Allowance to see how your Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement may be affected.

From the Department of Social Welfare:

  • Fuel Allowance 
  • Back To School Clothing & Footwear Allowance
  • Diet Supplement
  • Rent/Mortgage Interest Supplement (tapering out over four years: 75%->50%->25%->25%)

From the Health Service Executive:

  • Medical Card (no income limit)

Where a person moves from one programme to another, for example from Community Employment to Back-to-Work Enterprise Allowance, the four-year cycle dates from the commencement of the first programme, Community Employment in this example.

From the Local Authority:

  • Differential Rents

Note:

  • FREE Schemes ARE NOT regarded as Secondary Benefits.
  • Former recipients of Invalidity Pension and Disability Allowance RETAIN their Free Schemes (e.g. Free Travel, Free TV Licence, and Free Electricity Allowance).
  • Former recipients of Carers Allowance DO NOT RETAIN these Free Schemes.
  • Half Rate Carers Allowance cannot be claimed with BTWEA but a Qualified Adult may have an entitlement.

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance recipients may also be eligible for;

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance is not subject to tax or PRSI. However, the income from self-employment may be subject to Tax/PRSI.


PART 3: CLAIMS AND PROCEDURES

3.1 Investigation of self employment applications:

Those taking up self-employment must first have their self-employment project approved.

In Partnership areas this will be done by the Partnership Company. In non-Partnership areas this will be done by the Departement's Case Officer.

Approval normally involves an interview with the applicant to assess the viability of the proposed project, to provide advice on funding or on 'Start Your Own Business' courses etc. The Project may be recommended for approval if it is deemed likely to succeed and will not displace existing similar business'

3.2 Claims

Following approval as mentioned above applications are treated thus:

Applications from those receiving Jobseeker's Allowance, Jobseeker's Benefit, Farm Assist, One Parent Family Payment and Pre-Retirement Allowance are dealt with by the Department's Local Offices.

All other applications should be sent directly to BTWA HQ Section, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.

In the case of restarts for JA/JB qualifiers -
BTWA section will deal with if they have already dealt with the original claim

Applications should be submitted 14 days before the self-employment commences, in order to be approved.

  • However, applications MAY be accepted up to ONE month after work commencing, provided that the claimant has signed off at the appropriate time. This is particularly appropriate where there is corroborating evidence that the claimant expressed an interest in the BTWEA while signing off.
  • However, lack of knowledge of the scheme is not, in itself, an acceptable explanation for a late claim. The BTWEA must have been instrumental in the claimant deciding to leave the Live Register. The best evidence of this is that they apply on commencement of work or within one month thereof. As places on the scheme are limited it is important that the Back to Work Allowance is proven to be instrumental in the applicants' return to the workforce.

3.3 Decisions:

Claims are decided by Clerical Officers at a Local Office level for Live Register cases. All other applications are dealt with by Back to Work HQ Section.

BTWEA Awards Processing:

  • Claim is checked to ensure that all necessary details have been provided (e.g. bank details etc.) Incomplete forms must be returned to the applicant.
  • Claim is checked for qualifying conditions.
  • SW details are checked on ISTS etc.

Note: Applications must be accompanied by:

A. Copy of Business Plan and 1 year Financial Projection

B. Documentary proof of registration with the Revenue Commissioners.

If all is in order:

  • Decision Sheet is completed and the applicant is notified.
  • Reviewed after 312 days and BTW17 is issued to Customer informing them of 75% rate.

A claimant who has previously participated in the BTWA/BTWEA scheme may re-qualify for BTWEA (2 year scheme since 1/05/2009) after a period of five years has elapsed provided they satisfy the new qualification criteria for the scheme. The person is not required to have exhausted full entitlement on their previous BTW claim to be considered. Under NO circumstances can a person qualify for more than two years (as a self-employed person) on any one claim or a combination of claims.

Back to Work Allowance Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) is not payable in respect of a period for which a Social Welfare payment which is specified in Section 209 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 1993 (as amended) is made.

BTWEA is not payable to a person to whom an allowance is in payment in respect of a course of education, training, development or employment.

Periods spent on BTWEA are acceptable as periods of unemployment for the purposes of qualifying for Back to Education.

Periods spent on BTWEA are not acceptable as periods of unemployment for the purposes of qualifying for CE Schemes.

Where a person is in receipt of Back to Work Enterprise Allowance and subsequently becomes entitled to the Survivor Contributory pension, the Back to Work payment continues at the single rate. No increase for a qualified child can be included.

3.4 ESF/YEI Requirements:

All forms relating to those under 25 years on Back to Work Enterprise Allowance should display the ESF and European Structural Funds logos along with a statement informing clients of ESF/ YEI involvement. All documentation must be available for inspection for at least 3 years from the 31st December after the client finishes on the scheme. This period may be extended by legal proceedings or justified request by the Commission. When the RSU roles out the scanning system this should be used to store the documents.

3.5 Requests for Review of Entitlement:

As this is a non-statutory scheme there is no right of appeal to an Appeals Officer appointed under the Social Welfare Acts. Form SWAO1 should NOT be used for this purpose.

On receipt of new or additional information, an Officer of the Department may make a revised decision.

Where a person is not satisfied with the decision s/he may request a review of entitlement. The result will be determined by an Officer of a higher grade

The rate in payment is adjusted after 12 months from 100% to 75%. Claimants are entitled to the appropriate Budget Increases. Participation in the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance scheme may be periodically reviewed, to confirm that the conditions of entitlement continue to be satisfied. A review may also be initiated on receipt of notification of any change in circumstances which may affect entitlement or the appropriate rate of payment.

Adjustments can be made, when appropriate, in respect of Increases / Decreases for a Qualified Adult and additional Child Dependents ( except in the case of claims based on a previous entitlement to One-Parent Family Payment or Carers Allowance). In these cases a Qualified Adult Dependent increase is not payable since it would not have been payable on the previous and underlying entitlement).

3.6 Payment

People participating on the scheme are paid via weekly Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) or Electronic Information Transfer (EIT).

3.7 Maintenance/Review

The rate in payment is adjusted after 12 months from 100% to 75%. Claimants are entitled to the appropriate Budget Increases. Participation in the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance scheme may be periodically reviewed, to confirm that the conditions of entitlement continue to be satisfied. A review may also be initiated on receipt of notification of any change in circumstances which may affect entitlement or the appropriate rate of payment.

Adjustments can be made, when appropriate, in respect of Increases / Decreases for a Qualified Adult and additional Child Dependents (except in the case of claims based on a previous entitlement to One-Parent Family Payment or Carers Allowance). In these cases a Qualified Adult Dependent increase is not payable since it would not have been payable on the previous and underlying entitlement).

Once entitlement to BTWEA is established, a qualified adult is free to take up employment without affecting the BTWEA. However, a qualified adult claiming Social Welfare in his/her own right or taking up Community Employment will result in the BTWEA payment being reduced accordingly. Where a spouse claims a payment in their own right, no MAX PAY shall apply and both claimants should receive their full personal entitlements (subject to a person claiming JA satisfying the Means conditions).

If the self-employment ceases, BTWEA claimants are free to re-apply for their previous Social Welfare payment at any time. When a claimant changes address the BTWEA file should be transferred to the new SWLO (if appropriate) for payment.

If a BTWEA recipient claims any other Social Welfare type payment, except the Survivors Contributory Pension (SCP), the BTWEA claim should be closed immediately. However, if the Survivor's Contributory Pension is awarded, Back to Work will continue at the single rate. No increase for a qualified child can be included.

Where a BTWEA recipient ceases to claim BTWEA, the claim should not be purged from ISTS for at least five years.

3.8 Continuing Payment after a Death in the Family

If a person dies while receiving Back to Work Enterprise Allowance the payment can continue to be paid to the qualified adult for 6 weeks. Payment may also continue for 6 weeks after the death of a qualified adult or qualified child.

3.9 Credits:

Since the person is in self-employment during the period on Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, PRSI is payable at the appropriate (S) rate and credits are not awarded.
(However, Credits will be awarded to former recipients of Invalidity Pension for the duration of their BTWEA claim only).

PART 4: THE ESF AND BACK TO WORK ENTERPRISE ALLOWANCE

4.1 Policy Context

The European Social Fund (ESF) is the European Union's financial instrument for investing in people. Its mission is, to help prevent and fight unemployment, to make Europe's workforce and companies better equipped to face new challenges and to prevent people losing touch with the labour market. The operation of the programme is governed under EU Regulations 1303/2013, 1304/2013, 821/2014 and 1605/2002.

The ESF, with additional dedicated funding provided under the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) aims to assist Members States in their efforts to put their Youth Guarantee implementation plans in practice. The YEI is specifically aimed at tackling unemployment for those under 25.

DSP’s means of supporting young people who are not in employment, education or training is to provide them with access to a number of employment and other work-supported schemes. These include Tús, JobBridge (including First Steps), JobsPlus and Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Schemes which will be eligible for YEI/ESF funding.

4.2 Proposed Expenditure and Refunds

Expenditure relating to the under 25s on the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme will be re-claimed from both the ESF and YEI on a tripartite basis; for every €300 of eligible expenditure, €100 ESF and €100 YEI (i.e. ⅔) will be refunded by the European Commission with the balance being funded by the Exchequer.

The Department will reclaim these funds from the European Commission through the Department of Education and Skills (DES) as the designated Management Authority as part of the 2014-2020 ESF Operational Programme (OP). Appendix 4 contains a flowchart of the ESF financial management and control, reporting cascade structure.

4.3 Segregation of Roles and Responsibilities

Each area within the process is required to fulfil its respective roles in its respective part of the process. The key players however in terms of ensuring proper observance of the ESF/YEI requirements are the Scheme Areas and EU Funding Compliance Unit (EUFCU). The role and respective responsibilities are set out as follows:

Table 1: Roles of Sections

Intreo/LO offices are responsible to: Responsible Person: Divisional Manager
  1. Ensure clients meet the scheme eligibility criteria.
  2. Carry out on the spot verification checks whilst schemes are running.
  3. Ensure client details are correct and complete on relevant systems ISTS/CSS/PEX.
  4. Ensure publicity/communication guidelines and procedures from the scheme policy areas are followed.,/
  5. Ensure relevant documents are available for inspection by the bodies involved in the cascade (EU Commission, DES, etc.).
  6. Notify the EUFCU of any issues such as negative audit reports, review and known control weaknesses that may lead to YEI/ESF not being claimed.
  7. Notify the EUFCU of any overpayments relating to the YEI/ESF clients.
  8. Verify the claim data sent by the EUFCU is correct for each client.
  9. Provide signed assurances that the relevant procedures have been followed. EUFCU will supply the relevant form annually for this.
Scheme Areas are responsible to: Responsible Person: Scheme PO
  1. Incorporate the YEI/ESF requirements into the relevant procedures with assistance from EUFCU.
  2. Communicate these procedures / guidelines to the relevant sections.
  3. Ensure the verification checks carried out by the operational units are sufficient to provide a high level of assurance for the claims.
  4. Input the claims onto the ESF system (currently being developed by DPER through e-cohesion), once relevant assurances are received.
  5. Notify the EUFCU of any issues that may lead to YEI/ESF not being claimed.
  6. Ensure publicity/communication guidelines are followed.
Accounts Branch are responsible to: Responsible Person: Accountant
  1. Maintain financial records
  2. Notify the EUFCU of any issues that may lead to YEI/ESF not being claimed.
EU Funding Compliance are responsible to: Responsible Person: PO
  1. Construct and circulating guidance for the relevant sections.
  2. Collate data for all clients to match claims.
  3. Circulate data to relevant parties for verification.
  4. Carry out verification checks to provide assurances.
  5. Ensure publicity/communication guidelines are followed.
  6. Aid Scheme Policy Areas in revising procedures to incorporate the YEI/ESF requirements.
  7. Submit claims received from the scheme areas with the relevant assurances to the ESF Managing Authority in DES.
  8. Co-ordinate monitoring visits from DES and audits by the Commission and the Financial Control Unit within DES.

4.4 Eligibility for Costs and Periods

The table below sets out the co-funding arrangements with the EU for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme.

Table 2: Co-Funding Arrangements

BTWEA €1.550m €1.550m Payments to the clients are eligible. Equivalent to 100% of client social welfare rate in year one and 75% in the second year 1st Jan 2015 – 31st Dec 2017

 

4.5 Documents Required for Proof of Expenditure and Activities

To support the ESF/YEI claims for these schemes the following proof of expenditure and associated documentation is required (either physical or approved scanned versions of documentation are acceptable). The following list should not be interpreted as exhaustive:

Table 3: supporting client documentation/electronic records to be maintained

Intreo/LO offices: Responsible Person: ​Divisional Manager ​
  1. BTW2 application forms signed by clients.
  2. Proof of registration with Revenue Commissioners.
  3. Business plan as agreed with the relevant partnership body.
  4. Evidence of the client eligibility.
  5. Documentation setting out the rate the client receives per week/month and how it was calculated.
  6. Evidence of any change of circumstances and revise rate.
  7. Evidence of checks/progress/monitoring/verification reports and audits carried out
Scheme Areas: Responsible Person: Scheme PO
  1. Documents showing in respect of each programme as appropriate the technical specification and financial plans, funding approvals,
  2. Evidence of checks/progress/monitoring/verification reports and audits carried out
Accounts Branch: Responsible Person: Accountant
  1. Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) and EIT files with ability to identify individual client payments
  2. Bank statements showing payment of EFT and EIT from the Department/ Post Office
  3. Evidence that the aggregated amounts certified can be reconciled back to the EFT/EIT files and the agreed rate per client.
EU Funding Compliance Responsible Person: PO
  1. Evidence of checks/progress/monitoring/verification reports and audits carried out
  2. Protocols and procedures to coordinate the co-funding
  3. Service Level Agreements with the relevant scheme areas
  4. Service Level Agreements with the Managing Authority
  5. Activity Implementation Plans
  6. Data Protection Protocols
  7. Operational Units signed verification forms (Form B1)
  8. The Secretary General’s verification Form (Form A)

 

Intreo Centre or Local/Branch Office should ensure that a checklist (Appendix 3) is complete for each BTWEA client under 25.

4.6 Availability of Supporting Documents

All supporting documentation for eligible expenditure submitted for ESF co-financing must be available for a minimum of two years from the 31st December after the final accounts is submitted to the Commission. This means that the documentation above must be available for inspection for at least 3 years from the 31st December the client finishes on the scheme. This period may be extended by legal proceedings or a justified request by the Commission.

NO DOCUMENTATION OR ELECTRONIC RECORD RELATING TO THE CLIENT RECORD OR CLAIM MAY BE DESTROYED BEFORE THIS PERIOD HAS ELAPSED.

The documents shall be kept in the form of the originals, certified true copies of the original, or on commonly accepted data carriers including electronic versions of original documents or documents existing in electronic version only. When the RSU roles out the scanning system this should be used to store the documents.

4.7 Verification Checks and Audits

Verification checks and audits are required by each level of the cascade including the operational units. These visits are designed to provide assurances that the administrative, financial, technical and physical aspects of operations are compliant with national rules and ESF requirements at every level.

Verification visits by the operational units should already be a standard part of controls for these schemes and must be undertaken. However, the additional ESF requirement must be monitored during these visits e.g. publicity and document retention. Further documentation on these will be circulated by the DES (the Managing Authority) to DSP and will be forwarded to scheme areas as required.

4.8 Information and Publicity

It is anticipated that DES will shortly issue guidelines regarding minimum requirements to ensure compliance with the information and publicity requirements. In the interim, each level of the cascade must take responsibility for ensuring that the Information and Publicity requirements are adhered to at their respective levels.

Ireland’s Structural Funds logo and the EU ESF logo (Appendix 5) must feature in colour if a project has received or will receive EU funding. These should feature on the following items produced in relation to the projects or schemes involved:

  1. Publicity / Signage
  2. Brochures / Literature
  3. Application/Registration Forms
  4. Reports
  5. Display / Exhibition stands
  6. Videos/ DVDs
  7. Advertisements
  8. Websites
  9. Offer Letters, correspondence with project beneficiaries
  10. Press Release
  11. Launches/Awards
  12. Posters

A statement advising clients that Back to Work Enterprise Allowance receives ESF and YEI funding must also feature on all such items. The suggested statement is:

“The European Commission is providing co-funding to this scheme for participants under 25 years. The scheme is being backed jointly by the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Department of Social Protection on an equal funding basis. You may be contacted by the Department or its agencies for follow-up questions relating to ESF/YEI”

4.9 Data Requirements and Other Compliance Requirements

The data requirements that must be complied with in order to attract EU co-funding are extensive. EU Funding Compliance is working to develop a system through which all relevant data can be captured electronically on entry to the EU-funded operation. Separate instructions will be issued later in this year when a system is in place.

Compliance for co-funding requires that all bodies in the ESF cascade should ensure that the ESF projects are in conformity with the relevant State Aids regulations. EU funding Compliance will monitor this to ensure we are compliant. A key requirement in this regard is compliance with public procurement stipulations. All bodies are responsible for ensuring that projects/operations are in compliance with all public procurement requirements for public spending at their level in the cascade. Public procurement guidelines are available on the public sector procurement website www.e-tenders.gov.ie. EU Procurement Directives can be accessed under the Rules and Guidelines on the EU procurement website: www.simap.eu.int.

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Last modified:03/06/2015
 

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