Assessment of means for Jobseeker's Allowance (JA)
Table of Contents
- Parental Leave
- Limitation on assessment
- Examples of assessment previous to April 2008
1. Parental Income
Where a person is living with a parent or step-parent in the family home, an assessment is be made of the yearly value of any benefit and privilege enjoyed by that person by virtue of residing with a parent or step parent. The value of the benefit and privilege assessed is based on the level of the parents income.
No assessment is made where the person is living with other relatives e.g. a brother or sister or with non-relatives.
a) Where a married/co-habiting son/daughter is living with his/her parents, no assessment is made. Or where daughter/son has a child dependant and is living with her/his parents.
b) Where a person returns to the parental home having had an independent life-style elsewhere in Ireland or abroad for an appreciable length of time e.g. at least 3 years, the assessment in this case is €7.00 per week.
The assessment of B & P from parental income was abolished for all PRETA customers with effect from 30 April 2003
In recent years, the assessment of Benefit & Privilege from parental income was abolished for persons in excess of certain ages as follows:
Excess of Certain Ages:
JA customers aged 29 and over
30 April 2003
JA customers aged 27 and over
7 April 2004
JA customers aged 26 and over
13 April 2005
JA customers aged 25 and over
1 February 2006
Persons aged under 25
Benefit & privilege applies to persons under 25 years. The assessment of parental income continues to apply to persons aged under 25 who reside with a parent or step-parent. On reaching age 25 the B & P assessment should be revised to "Nil".
3. Calculation of benefit & privilege from 30th April 2008
Budget 2008 provided for a change in the method of calculating the yearly value of benefit and privilege. The new assessment method is effective from 30th April 2008 and applies to all relevant JA claims whether existing or new.
Under the new arrangements, parental income includes:
- Income from employment
- Income from self employment
- Income from occupational, Irish Statutory Pensions and foreign pensions
- Rental Income
- Maintenance payments
- Social Welfare payments
- Health Service Executive payments
- Solas/Educational Training Board (ETB) Training Allowances
- Income from Community Employment Schemes
All Social Welfare payments are included as income for B & P purposes with the exception of the following:
- National and Smokeless Fuel Allowance
- Child Benefit
- Early Childcare Supplement
- Respite Care Grant
- Guardian Payment
- Domiciliary Care
HSE payments that are not included as income for B & P:
- Blind Welfare Allowance
- Mobility Allowance
- Infectious Diseases Maintenance Allowance
- Foster Care Allowance
Deductions are allowed for income tax, pension levy income levy, PRSI, superannuation/ PRSA contributions, private health insurance contribution, union dues and rent/mortgage payments. Where parents are in receipt of Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement, a disregard applies only to the amount of rent or mortgage actually paid by the parents.
No deductions are allowed in respect of travelling expenses, life assurance premiums, sports/social club subscriptions or savings schemes deductions e.g. Instalment Savings, Credit Union lodgements etc.
In cases where parents have property other than the family home and that property is yielding an income, the net income of that property is asessed e.g. rental income less expenses such as mortgage repayments, insurance costs, repairs etc.
Calculate the net income of the family (gross income less the various deductions, as appropriate). Apply a disregard of €600.00 for a two parent family and €470.00 for a one parent family. An additional disregard of €30.00 applies for all children up to 18 years of age who are not getting a SW or HSE payment in their own right and for all children over 18 years in full time education irrespective of their age (excluding children who are in receipt of a Social Welfare payment in their own right or in employment or self employment).
Claimant (24 years) is living with his parents, father earns €1,200.00 a week, mother non earner, claimant's two brothers are under 18 years of age. Parents Gross income €1200.00, less tax €100.00, VHI €70.00, Union €30.00. Parents net income €1,000.00.
Net Income €1,000.00
Less Parental allowance €600.00
Less disregard for 2 brothers €60.00
Total €340.00 X 34% = €115.60
Means €115.60, rounded €116.00.
4. Assessment of benefit & privilege prior to 30th April 2008
There were two means assessments previous to the 30th April 2008. The most beneficial method was applied.
Parents' income from all sources was taken into consideration for this purpose (including income from insurable employment, self employment, Community Employment schemes, occupational pensions, etc.) with the exception of payments made by this Department and the Health Service Executive. The net income was calculated as the gross income less income tax, PRSI, Health Insurance e.g. VHI, HSF, superannuation and union dues. Rent or mortgage repayments and reasonable travelling expenses necessarily incurred in travelling to and from work were also deducted.
A standard allowance of €133.32 applied for a two parent family and €120.63 for a one parent family.
Where a person's father/mother was working abroad a special parental allowance of €215.86 per week was deducted in the assessment of benefit and privilege.
The balance was divided among the non earning members of the household, that is:
- the claimant
- school going children,
- persons in receipt of JA, JB, IB, DA
- persons on FÁS courses (excluding CE)
Members of the household in receipt of State Pension (Contributory and Non Contributory), Invalidity Pension, One Parent Family Payment, Widow's Pensions, and on Community Employment schemes are not included in the count of non-earning members.
Limitation on assessment
An upper limit was applied to the assessment, by reference to the net family income. The limit was 17% of net family income in all cases.
NOTE: The 17% limit was applied before the parental allowance (€120.63 or €133.32) was deducted. All other deductions were allowed.
Examples of assessment previous to 30th April 2008
Father, mother and 2 dependent children plus claimant:
Father's net earnings = €400.00 per week
Less rent €40.00
= €360.00 (€360.00 X 17% = €61.20)
Less parental allowance €133.32
€226.68 divided by 3 non earners = €75.56
Weekly means are €61.00 (17% limitation)
Father, insurably employed, mother self employed and 5 dependent children including claimant:
Father's gross earnings = €500.00 per week
Mother self employed Net weekly profit = €130.00
Less tax €50.00
PRSI € 21.00
union dues €3.00
Combined parental income €556.00
Less mortgage €100.00
Less travelling €17.00 (Bus Fares)
(€439.00 X 17% = €74.63)
Less parental allowance €133.32
= €305.68 divided by 5 non earners = €61.14
Weekly means are €61.00
5. Claimant working on the family farm or business
If the person is participating in a family business or farm, his/her means will include an assessment of the beneficial interest in the business/farm. The assessment will depend on the particular circumstances of the case including the value of the work done and of the benefit in kind actually received.
See also separate guideline re assessment of "Assessment of Income from Farming".
6. Other Benefit and Privilege Cases
Failure to Supply Details of Parental Income
In cases where the claimant refuses or fails to take reasonable steps to obtain the relevant information regarding parental earnings, a "failure to establish that means do not exceed the statutory limit" decision will be applied.
7. Assessment of Benefit & Privilege from Seasonal Earnings
When the parent(s) income is derived from seasonal employment, the assessment of benefit and privilege will only be applied during the season. The son/daughter's means will be reviewed at the end of the working season and any means accruing from that seasonal work will be deleted at that stage.
8. Minimum Weekly Payment
The minimum weekly payment of JA in cases where the customer's means are solely derived from benefit of parental income and where those means are less than the personal rate of JA is €40.00. This is effective from 7 April 2004.