Back to Work Family Dividend Scheme Guideline


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Internal Guidelines used in processing claims

Table of Contents

PART 1: GENERAL INFORMATION

  • 1.1 Description of Scheme
  • 1.2 Information
    • Leaflet
    • Website
  • 1.3 Legislation
  • 1.4 Back to Work Family Dividend and Income Tax
  • 1.5 Back to Work Family Dividend & Overpayments
  • 1.6 Administration
  • 1.7 Family Benefits

PART 2: ENTITLEMENTS

  • 2.1 Qualification Conditions - Summary
  • 2.2 Qualification Conditions – In detail
    • a. Qualifying from Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit
    • b. Qualifying from One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) or a Jobseeker’s Allowance (payable under the arrangements that apply to customers who are parenting alone only)
    • c. Qualification from a combination of relevant payments or schemes
  • 2.3 Qualification of a customer where the spouse/civil partner or cohabitant takes up employment
  • 2.4 Requalifying for Back to Work Family Dividend
  • 2.5 Changing employment or taking up self-employment
  • 2.6 Disallowances
    • a. Customer (Customer here also refers, where relevant, to a spouse/civil partner or cohabitant).
    • b. Children
  • 2.7 Rates Structure

PART 3: CLAIMS AND CLAIM PROCEDURES

  • 3.1 Claims
  • 3.2 Late Claims
  • 3.3 Documentation
  • 3.4 Decisions
  • 3.5 Review of entitlement and Appeals
  • 3.6 Payment
  • 3.7 Back to Work Family Dividend and other Social Welfare payments (2.6a also refers)
  • 3.8 Claim Maintenance and review of entitlement
  • 3.9 Back to Work Family Dividend and Jobseeker's Credits 

PART 1: GENERAL INFORMATION

1.1 Description of scheme

The Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) scheme was introduced on January 5th, 2015. The scheme is designed as an in-work, income support to assist families when exiting welfare. It will provide a financial support (dividend) to Jobseeker’s who take up or are in insurable employment or take up self-employment within four weeks of the end of their claim. Similarly, One-Parent families who take up or are in insurable employment or take up self-employment within four weeks of the end of their claim will be entitled to the dividend.

The dividend, payable over a two year period will be based on the customer’s Qualified Child (IQC) entitlement on the date of their exit from welfare (most recent claim always), subject to a minimum payment of €29.80 per qualified child. For the first year an amount equal to 100% of the qualified child increase (up to a maximum of four children) is payable. This will reduce to 50%, or half that amount, for the second year.

It is important to note that although BTWFD rates are based on and equate to IQCs, BTWFD legislation has no link to qualified child provisions and therefore a child in respect of whom BTWFD is paid is not a qualified/dependent child in the normal sense.

Only one entitlement to the dividend exists for each family unit, though this may be paid over a maximum of three non-consecutive periods, subject to a maximum duration of two years (104 weeks) of the dividend being paid.

1.2 Information

Leaflet

SW 139: Back to Work Family Dividend

Website

Back to Work Family Dividend - Information leaflet, SW 139, on welfare.ie

Back to Work Family Dividend on welfare.ie

1.3 Legislation

The Back to Work Family Dividend is a legislative scheme. The main provisions are set out in Part 7A, Section 238 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005, as amended.

1.4 Back to Work Family Dividend and Income Tax

The Back to Work Family Dividend is exempt from Income Tax, Universal Social Charge (USC) or PRSI and as such is not reckoned for calculation purposes in relation to Income Tax. The Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, is amended accordingly.

1.5 Back to Work Family Dividend & Overpayments

The Back to Work Family Dividend is included under the schedule of payments from which overpayments may and can be recovered.

1.6 Administration

The scheme is administered for the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection by staff at the Departments network of Intreo Centres and Branch Offices.

Operational guidelines for staff administering the Back to Work Family Dividend scheme are issued by;


Regional Support Unit
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Gandon House
Amiens Street
Dublin 1
Tel: (01) 8172691

1.7 Family Benefits

Under EU Regulations, the Competent Authority that deals with a Family Benefit is determined by the EU State in which the worker pays their Social Insurance. Accordingly, claims for BTWFD are only acceptable from workers who are paying their social insurance to the Irish State.

If an employee pays their social insurance to another EU State, it is to that State that they should make a claim for Family Benefits.

BTWFD is classified as a family benefit under EU rules and will form part of the basket of Irish family benefits under EU regulations.

Part 2: Entitlement

2.1 Qualification Conditions - Summary

Customers in receipt of one of the following qualifying payments or who are on a qualifying scheme, who exit that payment or scheme on or after the 5th January 2015 and are in or take up insurable employment/self-employment within four weeks, may have an entitlement to the Back to Work Family Dividend.

Qualifying payments;

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Jobseeker’s Benefit
  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (payable under the arrangements that apply to customers who are parenting alone only)

Qualifying schemes;

  • Community Employment
  • Tús
  • Rural Social Scheme
  • Gateway
  • National Internship Scheme
  • Back to Education Allowance
  • Job Initiative Scheme
  • Work Placement Programme
  • Youth Developmental Internship

Note: BTWFD legislation allows that other schemes or programmes of education, training or work experience may be approved as qualifying schemes for the purposes of BTWFD. The critical deciding factors in respect of any such scheme or programme is whether, while on the scheme or programme, the person received a payment equivalent to the payment they would have received if they had remained on a qualifying payment (If a person retains OFP while on a scheme or programme then the issue of qualifying from the scheme or programme does not arise – they would qualify direct from OFP).

Combined periods spent on any of the above qualifying payments or schemes may also be used in determining entitlement.

The customer must satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition (HRC) and be working in the State to qualify for and continue to be in receipt of the dividend.

Detailed qualifying conditions are set out in 2.2 below.

2.2 Qualification Conditions – In detail

a. Qualifying from Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit

  • A customer must be aged less than 66 years and have been in receipt of an increase in their Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit, in respect of at least one qualified child at the end of the Jobseeker’s claim.
  • A customer must be in or have taken up insurable employment/self-employment within four weeks of the close of their jobseeker’s claim.
  • At the end date of the claim the customer must have been signing on for at least 312 days of unemployment, of which 156 days of unemployment must have been in the 12 months period up to the date of closure of the claim i.e. the last day of entitlement counts for the 156/312.
  • Time spent on a qualifying scheme (see 2.1 above); where as part of the scheme or programme an increase in respect of at least one qualified child was in payment can be used for the purposes of counting the periods of unemployment. The time spent on the qualifying scheme can be before or after the time spent on Jobseeker’s Allowance or Benefit.
  • Persons applying for and in receipt of BTWFD must satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition (HRC). HRC must be satisfied at all times and can be reviewed in respect of the claim at any time.
  • The employment must be in the State.

b. Qualifying from One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) or a Jobseeker’s Allowance (payable under the arrangements that apply to customers who are parenting alone only)

  • A customer must be aged less than 66 years and have been in receipt of an increase in their One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) or Jobseeker’s Allowance (payable under the arrangements that apply to customers who are parenting alone only), in respect of at least one qualified child at the date of cessation of the prior claim.
  • A customer must be in or have taken up insurable employment/self-employment within four weeks of the close of their One-Parent Family claim.
  • Time spent on a qualifying scheme (see 2.1 above); where as part of the scheme or programme an increase in respect of at least one qualified child was in payment can be used for the purposes of counting the periods of unemployment. The time spent on the qualifying scheme can be before or after the time spent on One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) or Jobseeker’s Allowance (payable under the arrangements that apply to customers who are parenting alone only).
  • Persons applying for and in receipt of BTWFD must satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition (HRC). HRC must be satisfied at all times and can be reviewed in respect of the claim at any time.
  • The employment must be in the State.

c. Qualification from a combination of relevant payments or schemes

A customer may qualify for the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) from a combination of time spent on the relevant payments and schemes, under the normal linking rules that apply to those payments and schemes. This will be subject to the conditions that;

  • A customer must be aged less than 66 years and have been in receipt of an increase to their relevant payment or scheme, in respect of at least one qualified child at the end date of their claim/scheme.
  • A customer must be in or have taken up insurable employment/self-employment within four weeks from the close of their claim/scheme.
  • Persons applying for and in receipt of BTWFD must satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition (HRC). HRC must be satisfied at all times and can be reviewed in respect of the claim at any time.
  • The employment must be in the State.

2.3 Qualification of a customer where the spouse/civil partner or cohabitant takes up employment

Subject to all the qualifying criteria set out above for customers on Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit or a qualifying scheme (2.2a above), the employment requirement outlined above may be satisfied by a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant but it is always the former primary claimant who must satisfy scheme, duration and HRC requirements as it is they who must claim BTWFD. In every case both, the qualified customer and the spouse/civil partner or cohabitant, must be exiting the relevant payment or scheme.

Entitlement to the Back to Work Family Dividend does not exist where a spouse/civil partner or cohabitant is an adult dependant on any claim, has or makes a claim in their own right or is a participant on any qualifying scheme or Departmental approved course of employment/work experience or education/training/development (see 2.6 ; ‘Disallowances’ below).

2.4 Requalifying for Back to Work Family Dividend

The Back to Work Family Dividend is payable for a two year period only, in respect of each qualified customer or couple. Where there is a break in payment and less than two years duration of the dividend has been paid, entitlement to payment may resume, subject to the normal qualification conditions. This is subject to a maximum of two breaks in a Back to work Family Dividend claim.

In the case of requalification by a customer who originally came from jobseekers or who went to jobseekers during their break in BTWFD payment the requirements to have 312 days and 156 in the last 12 months should NOT be applied at the time of requalification.

2.5 Changing employment or taking up self-employment

A qualified customer in receipt of the Back to Work Family Dividend is free to change employment or take up self-employment at any time, for any number of times during the lifetime of the Back to Work Family Dividend claim.

2.6 Disallowances

A claim for the Back to Work Family Dividend will be disallowed in the following circumstances, where an entitlement is no longer deemed to exist.

a. Customer (Customer here also refers, where relevant, to a spouse/civil partner or cohabitant).

  • The customer did not commence employment or self-employment within four weeks of the date of the end of their prior claim or qualifying scheme.
  • The customer ceases to be employed or self-employed.
  • The customer takes part on any of the qualifying schemes mentioned at 2.1 above.
  • The customer is in receipt of any benefit or assistance payment as specified under the legislation. This includes Basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) but not Family Income Supplement (FIS) or Child Benefit. See 3.6 below.
  • The customer does not satisfy HRC.
  • The customer is employed outside the State.

b. Children

Where a child in respect of whom the Back to Work Family Dividend is in payment, is subject to any of the following, entitlement in respect of that child will cease:

  • If the child is a qualified child in respect of any assistance or benefit payment as set out in the legislation or the equivalent to a qualified child on any scheme or programme.
  • If the child is a qualified adult in respect of any assistance or benefit payment as set out in the legislation or the equivalent to a qualified adult on any scheme or programme.
  • If a child claims in their own right for any assistance or benefit payments as set out in the legislation.
  • If the dependant or dependants participates in any of the qualifying schemes as outlined at 2.1 above.

Where entitlement ceases to exist in respect of a child, for example where the child is an IQC on another claim, BTWFD may cease (if this was the only child on the claim) or be reduced. Following such a reduction, if for example the child ceased to be claimed as an IQC on another claim, BTWFD should not increase back to the original rate (See note below).

Note: In a case where a claimant had 6 children (s) he would be paid for a max of 4. Regardless of the children used on ISTS for the purposes of the claim, if any one of these 6 is claimed, for example, as an IQC BTWFD entitlement remains at 4/€199.20 – it is only when the number of children falls 3 that BTWFD is reduced.

2.7 Rates Structure

The Back to Work Family Dividend is payable for a two year period only, in respect of each qualified customer or couple. For the first year (52 weeks) the rate of dividend payable is €29.80 in respect of each previously qualified child, per child, subject to a maximum to four eligible children i.e. €29.80 per qualified child, subject to a maximum payment of €119.20 (4 x €29.80).

In the second year of payment (weeks 53 – 104), the rate of dividend payable is €14.90 in respect of each previously qualified child, per child, subject to a maximum to four eligible children i.e. €14.90 per qualified child (€29.80 @ 50%), subject to a maximum payment of €59.60 (4 x €29.80 @ 50%).

Part 3: Claims and Claim Procedures

3.1 Claims

Applications for the Back to Work Family Dividend are processed by the Department’s network of Intreo Centres and Local & Branch Offices. Applicants must complete form BTWFD1, available from all the Department’s Offices and from the Department’s website - Back to Work Family Dividend on welfare.ie

Employment or self-employment must commence within four weeks of the end date of the customers claim or qualifying scheme.

No more than the 104 weeks, as set out by legislation, are payable to any customer or couple in respect of a Back to Work Family Dividend claim. As outlined at (2.4 above), a customer who does not receive 104 weeks of entitlement to Back to Work Family period in one continuous claim period, will be entitled to claim for the balance of the 104 weeks, subject to the qualifying conditions again being satisfied (2.4 above). There is no time limit attached to the period of time that can elapse between claims other than the lifetime of the scheme itself, and subject to there not being more than two such breaks in the Back to Work Family Dividend claim.

3.2 Late Claims

Entitlement to BTWFD starts from the date of claim. However, in line with other schemes such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, a Deciding/Appeals Officer may award in respect of a period of up to 6 months prior to the date of claim – if s/he is satisfied that entitlement to BTWFD existed on this date and that there was good cause for the delay in making the claim.

The prescribed time for making a claim is 3 months – claims within this period are paid from date of entitlement, claims outside of this period are paid from the date of claim.

3.3 Documentation

Part 3 or Part 7 (as applicable) of the application form (BTWFD1) must be properly completed per instructions on the form.

In the case of self-employment (Part 3), the self-employment registration certificate as issued by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners must accompany the application form. In the case of employment, Part 7 must be fully completed by the employer or their agent only.

In all cases of repeat claims, form BTWFD8 must be completed, as above, with the employment/self-employment verified accordingly.

Incomplete or insufficient applications will be returned to the customer.

3.4 Decisions

All decisions on Back to Work Family Dividend claims are decided at local level by a Deciding Officer of the Department.

Where a claim is awarded, the customer is notified and the claim goes in to payment. A review date of twelve (12) months from the date of award is entered.

3.5 Review of entitlement and Appeals

If a customer is dissatisfied with the decision of a Deciding Officer, they may request a review of entitlement, to be carried out by another Deciding Officer of that Office. Also, on receipt of any new or additional information in support of application, a Deciding Officer may make a revised decision.

The Back to Work Family Dividend scheme is a legislative scheme and as such a right of appeal, of a decision, to an independent Appeals Officer as appointed under the Social Welfare Acts, may be made. Appeals must be submitted to the Social Welfare Appeals Office within 21 days of the decision being made.

3.6 Payment

Back to Work Family Dividend is payable weekly, in arrears, for a maximum of two years. Payment is made by Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) only. Payment is daily based.

3.7 Back to Work Family Dividend and other Social Welfare payments (2.6a also refers)

A customer may be in receipt of Back to Work Family Dividend while also in receipt of Family Income Supplement.

A customer may also be in receipt of Back to Work Family Dividend and Illness Benefit, Injury Benefit or Occupational Injury Benefit, for the first 36 days (6 weeks) of any such Illness Benefit, Injury Benefit or Occupational Injury Benefit claim. This applies for every Illness/Injury or Occupational Injury Benefit claim opened with any one BTWFD claim. The Back to Work Family Dividend claim will be suspended after the 36th day of any such Illness/Injury or Occupational Injury Benefit claim.

Maternity Benefit and Paternity Benefit are payable concurrent with Back to Work Family Dividend effective from December 19th 2016.

Entitlement to certain payments under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Schemes may continue for example SWA Supplements, Rent Supplement, Mortgage Interest Supplement; the BTWFD is disregarded in the Rent Supplement and Mortgage Interest Supplement means assessments.

Note: BTWFD is not payable with Basic SWA.

Full information on specific entitlements is available from the Departments network of Intreo Centres and Branch Offices.

3.8 Claim Maintenance and review of entitlement

Back to Work Family Dividend claims are reviewed at 12 months in order to determine a customer’s continuing entitlement. The rate in payment is adjusted down by 50% at this point.

The Back to Work Family Dividend is subject to any appropriate budgetary changes.

Changes in circumstances, such as a reduction in the number of children payment is being made in respect of, may apply from the date of the change in circumstances.

3.9 Back to Work Family Dividend and Jobseeker's Credits

Jobseeker’s Credits is a scheme in its own right. If one of a couple avails of the Back to Work Family Dividend this will not preclude the other from availing of Jobseeker’s Credits provided that they have an entitlement to and satisfy all the other conditions of the Jobseeker’s Credits scheme. 

Last modified:10/02/2017