Jobseeker's Allowance


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GUIDELINES FOR PROCESSING CLAIMS

Index:

Introduction

  1. Description of Scheme
  2. Information Leaflets
  3. Legislation
  4. Administration

Part 1 ENTITLEMENT

» Qualifying Conditions in Summary

» Qualifying Conditions in Detail

» Condition: Habitually Resident

» Condition: Unemployed

  1. Day of Unemployment
  2. Person on Career Break
  3. Person on Garden Leave
  4. Person Suspended from Employment
  5. Suspension from Employment With Pay
  6. Suspension from Employment Without Pay
  7. Disqualifications and Disallowances
  8. Employee Holiday Entitlements for Paid and Public Holidays
  9. Revised Qualification Condition for Public Holidays
  10. Pay for Public Holidays for Employees
  11. Full-Time Employees
  12. Part-Time/Casual Employees
  13. Holiday Pay
  14. Temporary Lay-Off
  15. Termination of Contract of Employment
  16. P45 and Termination of Contract
  17. Accrued Holiday Entitlement
  18. Calculation of Paid Holidays
  19. Rounding of Days
  20. Examples
  21. Hours Varied per Day
  22. Public Holidays
  23. Persons Engaging in Self-Employment
  24. Night-Shift Work and Days of Unemployment

» Condition: Between 18 and 66 years

» Condition: Capable of work

  1. JA payable pending Illness Benefit Appeal
  2. JA Entitlement pending Disability Allowance(DA) Decision
  3. Pregancy

» Condition: Available for work

  1. Suitable Full-Time Employment
  2. Unreasonable Restrictions
  3. Special Provisions Regarding Availability
  4. Night Workers
  5. Part-time fire-fighters
  6. Rehabilitation training
  7. Courses of Education, Training or Development
  8. Information Leaflet
  9. Specific Courses Approved
  10. JA Disqualification - Course of Study
  11. Part-Time Courses of Education
  12. JB payable during the summer period - Reinstatement of BTEA after the summer period
  13. Voluntary Work

» Condition: Genuinely Seeking Work

  1. Availability and Genuinely Seeking Work: EEA and Non-EEA Nationals
  2. Conditions of Entry to Ireland for EEA Nationals
  3. Residency in Ireland
  4. EEA Nationals and Availability
  5. EEA Nationals and Genuinely Seeking Work
  6. Questions concerning Genuinely Seeking Work
  7. Non-EEA Nationals
  8. Conditions of entry to Ireland for Non-EEA Nationals
  9. Non-EEA Nationals and Availability
  10. Non-EEA Nationals and Genuinely Seeking Work
  11. Questions concerning Genuinely Seeking Work
  12. Non-EEA Nationals who have previously worked in Ireland
  13. Miscellaneous Cases
  14. Refugees
  15. Students
  16. Asylum Seeker who has been granted Refugee Status
  17. Non-EEA Spouse/Civil Partner of an Irish or other EEA National
  18. Non-EEA National with an Irish Born Child
  19. Person who has been granted Leave To Remain
  20. Payment of JA
  21. Payment of IQA in respect of Non-EEA National/Spouse/Civil Partner
  22. Payment of IQA in respect of Non-EEA National/Cohabitant (Cohab Case)
  23. British Citizens born outside the UK
  24. Irish Passport Holders born abroad
  25. New Age Travellers
  26. Refusal or Failure to Engage with Activation Measures – Penalty Rates
  27. Completion of Decision Form UP 24
  28. Completion of the Previous History Code

» Condition: Proving unemployment in the prescribed manner

» Condition: Satisfy a Means Test

» Maximum rate of Jobseeker's Allowance that applies to claimants aged 18 - 24 years (inclusive)

» Jobseeker’s Allowance Transition

» Fish Assist

» Definition of Share fishing

» Disqualifications

  • Disqualifications: General
  • Full Disqualifiation
  • Refusal of Employment
  • Disqualification 9 weeks
  • Lost employment through his/her misconduct
  • Voluntarily left employment
  • Refusal or Failure to Engage with Activation Measures where penalty rate applied
  • Effective date of disqualification
  • Credits

» Other Disqualifications:

  1. Inmate of institution
  2. Employment on CE
  3. Student
  4. Exception to Student Disqualification
  5. Absence from State
  6. Holidays abroad
  7. International Sporting Events
  8. Imprisonment
  9. Involvement in Trade Dispute
  10. Procedure
  11. Strike Credits
  12. Social Welfare Tribunal

» Late Claims

» Duration of payment

» Rates Structure

  1. Personal rates
  2. Increases for Qualified Adult and Qualified Child
  3. Maximum Payments and Limitation for Couples- JA PRETA FA
  4. Maximum Payments and Limitation for Couples- SW Payment
  5. Limitation for Couples: Pre-07 April 1999 Saver Clause
  6. Special Category
  7. Entitlement where a person or spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is on an Educational/Training Programme
  8. Payment for a week of Unemployment
  9. Payment for days - special circumstances
  10. Continuous period of unemployment and linking
  11. Waiting days
  12. Periods disregarded for linking purposes

» Secondary benefits

  1. National Fuel Scheme

» Carer's Allowance

» Overlapping provisions

  1. Option of claiming JA instead of JB
  2. Cumulative Total of days claimed
  3. Reverting back to JB
  4. Exceptions to the Overlapping Rules
  5. Disablement Benefit/Pension
  6. Guardians Payment
  7. JA and Back To Work Allowance

» EEA/EU Regulations

  1. Special Category - JA Pending Action under Art 67 or 69

Part 2 CLAIMS, INVESTIGATION & DECISIONS PROCEDURES

  1. Claims
  2. Repeat Claims
  3. Surrender of P45
  4. Proof of Identity
  5. Proof of Address
  6. Change of Address
  7. Documentation
  8. Investigation of claims
  9. Cases where Means are Decided by a Deciding Officer
  10. Parents/Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant on a Social Welfare Payment
  11. Parents/Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant in Employment
  12. Payment of SWA pending determination
  13. Decisions
  14. Disallowances
  15. Appeals
  16. Concurrent Working and Signing Cases
  17. Overlaps of Weeks of Insurable Employment and Credits

Part 3 PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD

  1. Method of Payment
  2. Maintenance
  3. Signing arrangements
  4. Certification
  5. Review
  6. Suspension
  7. Credits
  8. Week on / week off

Part 4: OTHER CHAPTERS RELEVANT TO JA SCHEME

Appendices:

  1. Schedule of forms used
  2. JA Checklist
  3. List of Contact Points

INTRODUCTION

Description of Scheme

Jobseeker's Allowance is a means-tested payment made to people who are unemployed and

  • who do not qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit,
  • whose entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit has expired
    OR
  • who do qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit but choose to claim Optional Jobseeker's Allowance.

Information Leaflets

SW 4 : Guide to Social Welfare Services

Legislation

The main provisions relating to Jobseeker's Allowance are contained in Chapter 2 of Part III of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005, as amended.

Administration

Jobseeker's Allowance is administered by staff at the Department's network of Intreo Centres/ Local/Branch Offices throughout the country.

All guidelines for staff on the operation of the JA scheme are issued by the Regional Support Office, Gandon House, Amiens Street, Dublin 1. Guidelines for Deciding Officers are prepared by RSU Schemes Section, Gandon House, Amiens Street, Dublin 1.


PART 1: ENTITLEMENT

Qualifying Conditions in Summary

To qualify for Jobseeker's Allowance a person must:

  • be habitually resident
  • be unemployed
  • be over 18 and under pension age (66)
  • be capable of work
  • be available for work
  • be genuinely seeking work
  • satisfy the condition as to means
  • prove unemployment in the prescribed manner

See paragraph on Jobseeker’s Allowance Transition (JST)

Qualifying Conditions in Detail

Condition: Habitually Resident

N.B. For further details on this condition please refer to separate guideline Habitual Residence Condition.

Condition : Unemployed

From 20th February 2013

Jobseeker's Allowance is payable in respect of any week of unemployment.

From 20th February 2013 a person must be unemployed for 4 days within a 7 day period to be treated as a 'period of unemployment', which includes all days of the week (Sunday included).

This means that a person must be unemployed for 4 days in any consecutive 7 days in order to receive JA.

See paragraph on Jobseeker’s Allowance Transition (JST)

Prior to 20th February 2013

Jobseeker's Allowance is payable in respect of any week of unemployment. Any 3 days of unemployment within a period of 6 consecutive days is treated as a week of unemployment. Any two such weeks not separated by more than 52 weeks are treated as part of the same claim.

A person must, therefore, be unemployed for at least 3 days in a period of 6 consecutive days in order to receive JA

Day of Unemployment

Sunday is not treated as a day of unemployment and is disregarded in computing any period of consecutive days.

A day is not treated as a day of unemployment unless on that day the person is capable of, available for and genuinely seeking work. (see below).

A person is not regarded as unemployed in respect of any day on which s/he is working under a contract of employment (written or otherwise) or is in receipt of wages. For example, the following classes of persons would be considered to be not unemployed:

  • permanent full-time teachers who receive payment in respect of school holidays
  • a person who is voluntarily job-sharing
  • a person who is on a career break (during the agreed period of the career break)
  • a person who is on garden leave
  • a person who has been suspended on full pay
  • full-time nurses who are on a rest week following a week of night duty
  • seamen whose contract limits them to 84 hours a fortnight and who have worked the full 84 hours in one week
  • people who work the equivalent of full-time hours by way of intensive shifts. It is usual to treat persons who work 36 hours or over as being in full-time employment. However, persons who work a lower number of hours (perhaps as low as 30 hours) in a week may also be treated as in full-time employment.
Person on Career Break

A person on a career break is considered to be "not unemployed" during the agreed period of the career break.

Where the agreed period of the career break has ended and the person has sought to return to work but cannot due to a lack of a vacancy, Jobseeker's Allowance may be considered subject to all other relevant conditions being satisfied. In such cases, the terms/duration of the career break and reason/s for postponing the resumption of employment should be verified with the employer before a decision is made.

Person on Garden Leave

Garden leave (or gardening leave) describes the practice of giving an employee notice but telling them to stay away from work during their notice period. The practice is often used to prevent employees working for the employer's competitors for a period of time.

Employees continue to receive their normal pay during gatden leave and are covered ny any contractual duties, such as confidentiality agreements, until their notice period expires.

The term can also be used when an employee is sent home whilst subject to disciplinary proceedings, when thay are between projects, or where, as a resuly of publicity, their presence at work is considered counter-productive. The Tracy Temple affair is an instance of the latter case.

PERSON SUSPENDED FROM EMPLOYMENT
Suspension from Employment With Pay

An employee who is suspended from employment with pay is considered to be "not unemployed" within the meaning of the Social Welfare legislation, in that s/he is suspended from employment for a definite period and may be deemed to be under a contract of employment for the duration of the suspension.

Applications for Jobseeker's Allowance during this period of suspension should, therefore, be disallowed from receiving payment on the grounds of being "not unemployed" under Section 141(1)(a) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005.

Suspension from Employment Without Pay

A person who is suspended from employment without pay is not considered to be in employment and is therefore regarded as unemployed for Social Welfare purposes. However, the reasons for the suspension from employment should be examined to establish the conditions under which s/he was suspended. It is important to note that the reasons for the suspension from employment should also be checked with the employer before a disqualification or a disallowance is imposed.

Disqualifications and Disallowances

Section 147(4) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005 provides that a person may be disqualified from receipt of JA for up to 9 weeks where s/he has lost employment through his/her own misconduct. The duration of the disqualification is discretionary, although it may not exceed 9 weeks.

In addition, where an employee has been suspended from employment without pay, JA claims should be examined under the availability and GSW conditions rather than the "not unemployed" condition.

Payment may be allowed where all relevant statutory conditions are satisfied.

Persons who have been suspended from employment and who find themselves in financial difficulty may apply for assistance under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme.

EMPLOYEE HOLIDAY ENTITLEMENTS FOR PAID AND PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
REVISED QUALIFICATION CONDITIONS FOR PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 provides all employees with a minimum legally enforceable entitlement to paid holidays and public holidays. It repeals the Holiday (Employees) Act, 1973 and Section 4 of the Worker Protection (Regular part-time Employees) Act 1991.

PAY FOR PUBLIC HOLIDAYS FOR EMPLOYEES
Full-Time Employees

Employees who work or are normally required to work on a public holiday are entitled to payment by the employer for the public holiday.

Employees who are not normally required to work on a public holiday are entitled to one fifth of their normal weekly rate of remuneration from the employer for the public holiday.

A full-time employee, who ceases to be employed during the week ending on the day before a public holiday, is entitled to be paid by the employer for the public holiday if s/he has worked during the 4 weeks preceding that week.

Part-Time/Casual Employees

Casual or part-time employees must have worked at least 40 hours in the 5 weeks ending on the day before the public holiday to establish a statutory entitlement to pay in respect of a public holiday.

Part-time or casual workers are not entitled to Jobseeker's Benefit or Assistance in respect of paid public holidays.

NOTE: Good Friday is a bank holiday not a public holiday therefore employers are not legally required to pay in respect of that day. If the employer does pay in respect of Good Friday, JA/ JB is not payable.

HOLIDAY PAY

Entitlement to holiday pay is built up as a person works during the year. Therefore, a person who is let go on a temporary basis may have an underlying entitlement to holiday pay. JA is not payable in respect of any day for which a person receives holiday pay.

Holiday pay legislation provides that pay in respect of holidays is required to be paid in advance. However, it is also open to an employee to make an agreement with his/her employer not to receive accrued holiday pay at the time of a temporary lay off where s/he wishes to take these paid entitlements at a later stage. In this type of situation the person is considered to be on a temporary lay off and the number of days for which the holiday entitlement has accrued should not be deducted from the JA payment until the paid leave is taken.

Examples:

  1. A person from the education sector e.g. school warden etc. decides, with the employer's agreement, that s/he does not wish to receive holiday pay enitlements accrued at the Christmas/Easter etc lay off periods, until the summer lay off at the end of June. In such cases, the number of days for which the holiday entitlement has accrued should not be deducted from the JA payment until the person receives his/her holiday pay entitlements at the end of June.
  2. In some cases, e.g. factory work, with the employer's agreement, the employee may decide not to take his/her accrued holiday pay entitlement at the time of a temporary lay off because s/he intends to take holidays with pay from this employment at a later stage. In such cases, the number of days for which the holiday entitlement has accrued should not be deducted from the JA payment until the paid leave is taken.
Holiday Pay Received on Return to Work

Certain employments have regular seasonal lay offs where employees have an accrued holiday entitlement which is not actually paid during the period of the lay off. For example, a temporary school employee who is laid off during the summer months may not be paid during this period, instead s/he is paid his/her accrued holiday pay entitlement at the end of the summer holiday period.

If this situation occurs, the Intreo Centres/Local/Branch Offices should ensure that, before the end of this lay off period, the number of days for which JA is paid is reduced by the number of days for which holiday pay has accrued. This is to ensure that a person does not receive JA and holiday pay in respect of the same period.

Temporary Lay-off

Employees who are laid off temporarily (i.e. where they expect to return to the same employment at a later date) are not entitled to JA in respect of any day for which they receive holiday pay. This applies even if there is no definite date of resumption of work.

Termination of Contract of Employment

Employees whose contract of employment has ended and who have received holiday pay are entitled to JA from the first day of unemployment, provided all other conditions are satisfied.

P45 and Termination of Contract

It should be noted that, following consultation with the Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation, it has been confirmed that the issuing of a P45 does not necessarily denote a cessation of the contract of employment. Therefore where the lay-off is temporary, JA should not be paid in respect of any day(s) for which holiday pay has been received, even if a P45 has been issued by the employer.

Additional Holiday Pay Entitlements for Part-Time Workers

Part-time workers may also have an entitlement to additional holiday pay under the provisions of the Protection of Employees (Part Time Work) Act, 2001. JA is not payable in respect of any day on which a person receives holiday pay.

Treatment of the Additional Holiday Pay Entitlement for JA Purposes

Any additional holiiday pay entitlement received by an employee in respect of any part of the lay off period should be treated in the same manner as the accrued holiday entitlement, when calculating entitlement to JA.

Calculation of Paid Holidays

Where a part-time employee is laid off and receives holiday pay from the employer, the number of days deducted from his/her JA claim should represent the number of working days which the holiday entitlement represents. Therefore the number of hours for which s/he has received holiday pay should be divided by the number of hours worked per day in order to determine the number of days for which JA is not payable.

Rounding of Days

When calculating the number of days for which holiday pay has been received, a part of a day should be rounded up to the nearest day, as appropriate.

Examples

  1. A person normally works 2 hours per day, and receives 30 hours holiday pay. As this has been accrued at 2 hours per day, the number of days for which JA is withheld = 30/2 = 15 days.
  2. A person normally works 3 hours per day, and receives 40 hours holiday pay. 40/3 = 13.3 (rounded to 13).
Hours Varied Per Day

Where the number of hours worked per day varies, the total number of hours holiday pay should be divided by the average number of hours worked per day. In most cases, the average will be furnished by the employer. However where necessary, the 13 week period immediately prior to the date of claim, or a more representative period, may be used.

School-Related Employees

Where claims from school related employees have been made, the Employer/School Principal or other competent person will indicate the percentage increase due to the employee in respect of holiday pay entitlement i.e. 8%, 22%, 40% or 56%, so that the number of days holiday pay entitlement can br calculated.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

There are nine public holidays:

  • New Year's Day
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Easter Monday
  • First Monday in May
  • First Monday in June
  • First Monday in August
  • Last Monday in October
  • Christmas Day
  • St Stephen's Day
Persons engaging in self-employment

A self-employed person (including a farmer) may be entitled to JA provided s/he satisfies the normal qualifying conditions. Self-employed persons are assessed with the income (net profit) derived from the business/holding.

See Means Assessment guidelines.

See paragraph on Jobseeker’s Allowance Transition (JST)

Night-Shift Work and days of unemployment

From 20th February 2013

If a person works from one day into another, the day on which the longer number of hours are worked is treated as the day of employment, the other day is treated as a day of unemployment. If the hours of employment are equal for both days then the 2nd day is considered the day of employment, and the 1st day as a day of unemployment.

Prior to 20th February 2013

Special rules apply to determine which day is to be treated as a day of unemployment where a person is employed to work continuously from one day into another (so as to ensure that both days are not treated as days of employment or as days of unemployment). The general principle is: the day on which the shorter number of hours is worked is treated as a day of unemployment (for which JA is payable) and the other day is regarded as a day of employment (for which JA is not payable).

However, there are exceptions to this rule as follows:

  • The shift starts on a Saturday and extends into Sunday:
    Saturday is considered to be the day of employment regardless of the number of hours actually worked on the Saturday because Sunday is not counted as a day of unemployment.
  • The shift starts on a Sunday and extends into Monday:
    Monday is considered to be the day of employment regardless of the number of hours actually worked on the Sunday.

Condition : Between 18 and 66 years of age

A person who satisfies all the other conditions may receive JA from his/her 18th birthday up to the day before his/her 66th birthday. JA may not be paid outside these dates.

Persons approaching pensionable age are advised to apply for a State Pension (Transition) or State Pension (Contributory or Non-contributory) 3 months in advance of the relevant age limit.

Condition: Capable of Work

For a day to be regarded as a day of unemployment the person claiming JA must be capable of work on that day. A person is considered to be capable of work if there is no evidence to the contrary (e.g. unless he/she states otherwise), or where, on request, s/he fails to produce a final medical certificate following a period of illness.

JA Payable Pending Illness Benefit Appeal

When a person has been disallowed IB because s/he has been found "capable of work" following an examination by the Medical Assessor, it may be accepted that s/he fulfils the condition of being capable of work - notwithstanding any statement by the person that s/he does not consider him/herself to be capable of work. This is so even if the decision of the Medical Assessor is under appeal. JA may be paid pending the result of such appeal. Questions as to whether s/he satisfies the conditions as to availability for and genuinely seeking work are deferred in the interim.

In such cases the Deciding Officer should:

  1. ensure that the person satisfies the means condition for receipt of JA
  2. check that the person is not still in receipt of wages from the last employer (this may occur for example in permanent/pensionable jobs, or where the incapacity was due to an occupational injury)
  3. notify Illness Benefits Section that JA is in payment and confirm that the person has lodged an appeal
  4. advise the person that payment is authorised pending result of appeal only
  5. keep the claim under continuous review to ascertain the result of appeal. When the outcome of the appeal is known, the DO should, if the appeal has been successful, notify the relevant section (Benefits) of the amount of JA that has been paid during the overlapping period so that it will be treated as paid on account of the IB. If the appeal has not been successful, payment of JA may continue subject to the person satisfying the conditions of entitlement.
JA Entitlement pending Disability Allowance (DA) Decision

(a) Where a person applies for DA while in receipt of JA

Where a person applies for DA while in receipt of JA, the JA payment should continue pending the result of the DA claim (including appeal, where applicable).

NOTE:- Disability Allowance may be disallowed on grounds of failing to satisfy the medical eligibility criteria for receipt of DA. This means that the DA section/MR do not declare that the claimant is fit for work, but that s/he has failed to satisfy the MR/Advisor that s/he is not "..substantially restricted...".

In such cases the Deciding Officer should:

  • notify Disability Allowance Section that JA/ JB is in payment and confirm that the person has lodged an application/appeal
  • keep the claim under continuous review to ascertain the result of application/appeal.

When the outcome is known, the DO should;

  • if the application/appeal has been successful, notify the DA section of the amount of JA/ JB that has been paid during the overlapping period so that it will be treated as paid on account of the DA.
  • If the application/appeal has not been successful, continue payment of JA/ JB subject to all conditions being satisfied.

(b) Where a person applies for JA following DA Disallowance

  1. Where the DA disallowance is not under appeal, the claim should be decided in the normal way, with due regard to the requirement to be capable of work, available for full-time work and genuinely seeking employment.
  2. Where the DA disallowance is under appeal, JA is not payable. Persons in this position whose means are insufficient to meet their needs and the needs of their adult or child dependant(s) should be advised to apply for Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA).

(c) Pregnancy

Pregnancy is not an illness and in the absence of any complications of pregnancy or other illness, a pregnant woman (who may not be entitled to Maternity Benefit) satisfies the condition of being capable of work for the purpose of Jobseeker's Allowance throughout her pregnancy and in the period following the birth. She will also satisfy the availability condition unless there are other factors which could call her general availability for work into question. She must, however, continue to look for work throughout her pregnancy and in the period after the birth of her child in order to satisfy the condition of genuinely seeking work. On an administrative basis a woman will not normally be requested to prove that she is genuinely seeking work in the 4 weeks immediately before the expected date of birth of her child or in the 8 weeks period following the birth. She will not be required to attend at the Intreo Centre/Local/Branch Office for signing purpose during this period provided she informs the Intreo Centre/Local/Branch Office of her pregnancy.

Condition: Available for Work

A person must be available for work in order to qualify for and continue to receive Jobseeker's Allowance, i.e. be available for work in respect of each day for which s/he declares that s/he is unemployed. There must be no legal restriction on the person taking up employment (e.g. visa restrictions on taking up employment in the case of non- nationals). The onus is on the claimant to demonstrate that this condition is satisfied.

A person is regarded as available for employment if s/he is prepared to accept at once any offers of suitable employment.

While a person should be free to take up employment at once, a person may, in some circumstances require a day or two to make any necessary domestic arrangements.

It should generally be accepted that a person is available for employment, if

  1. s/he states that s/he is available for work,
  2. s/he does all that is asked to show compliance with the availability condition,
  3. there is no evidence to suggest the contrary.

See paragraph on Jobseeker’s Allowance Transition (JST)

Suitable full time employment

The person must be available for suitable full time employment. In determining what constitutes "full time" employment regard should be had to the normal working week (or normal working pattern) in the employment for which the person is holding him/herself available.

When deciding whether the person is available for suitable full time employment, the Deciding Officer should take into account:

  1. the person's skills, qualifications and experience,
  2. the length of time that the person has been unemployed; and
  3. the availability of job vacancies in the locality.

The Deciding Officer should have particular regard to the period of unemployment when deciding on availability. A person who has recently become unemployed (e.g. within the last 3 months) would be regarded as available where s/he is seeking to become re-employed in his/her usual employment, provided there is a reasonable prospect of this. However, if it was immediately obvious that there was no employment available within a specialised field in the local area, the person could be expected to broaden the search - either to a wider area or to other types of employment within a shorter period.

For example, a computer programmer who indicates that s/he will only work at programming, may stand a reasonable chance of securing employment despite such a restriction. However, such a restriction would not be reasonable if the person still had no employment after 3 months on the Live Register.

If a person has not found employment within his/her chosen field or industry within a reasonable period (e.g. 3 months), and the person is not broadening the range of employment sought, the onus is on the person to demonstrate that s/he still has a reasonable chance of obtaining employment in that field despite failure to do so to date. For instance, in a situation where a person is promised permanent work in the near future on the basis that s/he must be free to take it up immediately, it may then be considered reasonable to refuse an offer of short term employment in the interim. Physical health may be a legitimate reason to restrict the range of work for which a person holds him/herself available. This is particularly so where physical build/health is a condition upon which an offer of work is dependent.

If there is any doubt about the person's availability, the Deciding Officer should seek further information from the person such as:

  • the type of work which s/he is seeking and the reason(s) for any restrictions placed on the type of work which s/he is prepared or able to accept;
  • whether there are domestic or other commitments which limit his/her ability to accept a suitable job offer.
Unreasonable Restrictions

A person may be regarded as not being available for work if s/he imposes unreasonable restrictions on:

  1. the nature of the employment; or
  2. the hours of work; or
  3. the rate of pay; or
  4. the duration of the employment; or
  5. the location of the employment; or
  6. any other conditions of employment which s/he is prepared to accept.

In any case where a Deciding Officer is of the opinion that the person has placed unreasonable restrictions, s/he should be interviewed and given the opportunity to respond. In some cases a person may demonstrate that the restrictions are not unreasonable and that s/he has a reasonable prospect of getting full-time employment despite such restrictions. For example, a person may be qualified as a baker, but may have ceased seeking work in that field upon developing dermatitis. Employment which would bring that person into contact with agents that trigger the condition would obviously not be suitable employment. Such a restriction on availability may, in the circumstances, be regarded as reasonable.

The following are some of the circumstances where a person may be considered NOT to be available for work:

  1. s/he is looking for a particular type of work only. As previously stated, after a period of unemployment, a person must be prepared to accept any employment for which s/he is qualified,
  2. if a person states that s/he is unwilling to take up full-time work but is looking for part-time work only, e.g., 3 days per week or morning/evening work only, this could be regarded as an unreasonable restriction on his/her availability in terms of the hours of work s/he is prepared to accept.

    It should be noted that this does not preclude a person from accepting part-time work in the absence of suitable full-time employment if the person demonstrates that s/he continues to be available for work in respect of the remaining days of unemployment.

    It is expected that the person in part-time employment would continue to take steps which demonstrate that s/he is genuinely seeking full-time employment,
  3. if s/he is only available during hours which are not typical of the employment sought, e.g. clerical office work in evenings only,
  4. if a person is unwilling to accept an offer of suitable employment for which s/he holds him/herself available because s/he is unhappy with the going rate for the job this could be regarded as imposing unreasonable restrictions on his/her availability. Where a person has refused to take up employment because s/he is unhappy with the rate for the job, s/he should be interviewed by the Deciding Officer regarding the reasons for such refusal.

    If for example, taking up such employment would leave a person in a worse financial position, taking into account the various other income supports available to him/her, then it may be reasonable not to accept an offer of such employment. However, weight should also be given to the longer term benefits that accrue to a person by virtue of being in employment,
  5. the person is unwilling to take up an offer of reasonable short-time employment e.g. relief work or employment under a short-term contract,
  6. the person moves to a location where his/her prospects of getting suitable employment have been significantly reduced. In deciding whether a move to a location imposed unreasonable restrictions on availability for work, regard should be had to the reasons for the move. For example, people who relocate to be near family or relatives or under a resettlement programme would be regarded as indigenous residents,
  7. the person is placing unreasonable restrictions on the distance which s/he is willing to travel to find work having regard to the availability of public/private transport,
  8. s/he is placing unreasonable restrictions on his/her ability to take up work due to domestic commitments, e.g., caring for an elderly/sick relative or young children. If the person can show that s/he has made alternative domestic arrangements then s/he may be considered to be available for work.

    If another person has been nominated to assume these commitments, that person should not have domestic responsibilities of his/her own, live too far away or have no realistic means of travel to client's home. Deciding Officers should note the importance of applying this criterion to both men and women.

As a person has to be available to accept offers of employment, a refusal of an offer of suitable employment, training or placement may indicate that s/he is not satisfying this condition. The reasons for such refusal should be investigated.

Special Provisions Regarding Availability

There are legislative provisions specifying the circumstances in which a person may be deemed to be, or is exempted from the requirement to be, available for work:

  1. Night workers
    Where a person is employed to work continuously from one day through to another, the general rule is that the day on which the shorter number of hours is worked is treated as a day of unemployment. The person will also be deemed to be available for work on that day,
  2. Rehabilitation training
    A person will be deemed to be available for work on any day in respect of which s/he is participating in a course of rehabilitation training provided by an organisation approved by the Minister for Health for that purpose.
  3. Part-time fire fighters
    Retained fire fighters are required, under contract of employment, to reside within 1.5 miles of the fire station and to commit to turning out to the fire station within 5 minutes. Such employment should not, in itself, be regarded as representing an unreasonable restriction on availability. However, retained fire fighters must be available for additional part-time employment within the 1.5 mile area AND for suitable alternative full-time employment beyond it.
    In summary, while employment as a retained fire fighter is not sufficient grounds for a disallowance on availability, this does not mean that persons so employed are exempt from availability criteria.
  4. Courses of education, training or development
    A person shall be deemed to be available for work while participating in a course of education, training or development approved by the Minister provided that
    - s/he is at least 21 years of age
    - s/he has been in receipt of JA/ JB for at least 6 months (156 days)
    - s/he has given prior notice of his/her intention to participate in the course.

The course chosen must enhance the person's employment prospects. Courses must be approved by the Department's Case Officers.

Once a person has been accepted on a course, s/he must notify the Department by completing the BTEA application form (BTE1), which is available from Intreo Centres/Social Welfare Local/Branch Offices. The completed form should be returned to the relevant Intreo Centre/Loca/Branch Office for verification of the conditions regarding age and duration on the Live Register. The form should then be forwarded by the Intreo Centre/Local Office to a Case Officer for approval of the course. In determining whether participation in a course is likely to enhance the person's employment prospects, the Case Officer should have regard to the individual circumstances of the person concerned.

A broad range of courses may be approved - from personal development, or basic education through to general training or the acquisition of specific job skills. Full-time day third level courses of education which are not :

  • approved by the Department of Education and Science for Higher Education purposes, nor
  • approved for European Structural Fund purposes, nor
  • recognised by the National Council for Educational Awards

may not be approved for the purposes of this provision.

Information Leaflet

"Employment Support Services - Back to Education Programmes ( SW 70 ) "

Specific Courses Approved

The following specific courses have been approved :

  • The Horizon Project, which operates a Drug Rehabilitation Programme, and certain training courses for members of the travelling community.
  • The Access Project, which provides part-time courses in the College of Industrial Relations.
  • Short training courses provided by the Association for Personnel Services Overseas ( APSO) in Ireland for the purposes of training for persons who are preparing to go abroad as volunteer development workers.
  • VTOS "Taster" courses.
  • Drug Rehabilitation Courses. A person participating in a recognised drug/alcohol rehabilitation programme may be deemed to be available for work.

Persons participating in full-time courses who do not satisfy these conditions may be considered to be not available for employment.

JA Disqualification - course of study

Legislation provides that a person shall be disqualified from receipt of Jobseeker's Allowance while attending a course of study (including school/college holiday periods from 28th June 2011 Section 148 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act as amended)), except in such circumstances as may be prescribed. The exceptions to this disqualifications are :

  1. persons aged 21 years or over who have been in receipt of JA/ JB for at least 6 months and who are participating in approved courses of education, training or development, and
  2. From 28th June 2011 -  Mature students, i.e. persons over 23 years of age on or before 1st January in the year in which the course of study commences are exempt from the student disqualification for the period in between academic years only. The student disqualification applies during the academic year.

          Prior to 28th of June 2011 the student disqualification did not apply to 
          mature students.

Deciding Officers should note that disqualification while attending a course of study is completely separate from the availability condition. As mature students are exempted from this disqualification, (in between academic years only) they may be entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance during the summer holiday periods if they satisfy the availability condition in the normal way.

Part-Time Education

Persons who wish to pursue part-time courses under the Back to Education - Part-Time Option must demonstrate that their participation does not restrict reasonable availability for work.

Where a JA recipient is attending a part-time course under the Back to Education - Part-Time Option on the understanding that the course will help to enhance his/her employment prospects, s/he should be encouraged to complete this course. It should be noted, however, that attendance on a part-time course under the Back to Education - Part-Time Option is allowed on the clear understanding that availability for/genuinely seeking reasonable work opportunities must take precedence over course attendance, should a conflict arise.

JA payable during the summer period - Reinstatement of BTEA summer holiday period

BTEA participants formerly in receipt of JA are not entitled to be paid BTEA during the summer months (RSO MEMO 18/03 refers).

BTEA participants, based on the primary payment being Jobseekers Allowance,  who are progressing to the next year of their course or who are progressing from second level to  third level approved undergraduate qualifications or from undergraduate qualification to BTEA eligible postgraduate courses will have their BTEA reinstated from the commencement of the new academic year irrespective of whether they were in receipt of an unemployment payment for the summer period. 

The Back to Education Allowance is a non-statuatory, stand alone scheme using JA/JB (ISTS) as a payment mechanism. Once the claim category i.e. SLO/TLO is entered on approved cases, the claim is no longer considered to be one of JA or JB.

Voluntary Work

A jobseeker who engages in voluntary work within the State may continue to be entitled to a jobseekers payment provided that, in engaging in the voluntary work, they continue to satisfy the statutory conditions of being available for and genuinely seeking work.

Examples of voluntary work in which jobseekers may engage include

  • helping the sick, elderly or persons with a disability
  • assisting youth clubs, church groups, sports groups, cultural organisations, local resident associations

The groups involved may be nationally organised groups or local voluntary or community groups.

Aims of the Voluntary Work Option

The aim of the Voluntary Work Option is twofold, namely – to encourage voluntary organisations to involve jobseekers to the greatest extent possible in their existing activities by creating new opportunities for voluntary work and to inform jobseekers of their freedom to involve themselves in voluntary work and to encourage them to do so.

Applying for the Voluntary Work Option

The jobseeker or the voluntary organisation/group involved should request an application form VW 1 from the Intreo Centre/Local/Branch Office. The completed application form should be sent to the Intreo Centre/Local Office and a Deciding Officer will determine whether the customer may take up the work in question without affecting entitlement to the jobseekers payment.

Decisions in relation to Voluntary Work

In considering an application, the Deciding Officer will determine whether the work concerned is voluntary within the meaning of the scheme and whether the jobseeker would continue to satisfy the statutory conditions for getting the jobseekers payment. The Deciding Officer will need to be satisfied that the jobseeker is available to take up employment, if offered it, and that they are making genuine efforts to find work. This applies whether the voluntary work is full or part-time.

While it is not possible to lay down hard and fast rules as to what constitutes voluntary work the position should be clear in most cases. Factors to be taken into account will include:

  • the type of work involved,
  • the aims and standing of the voluntary body,
  • the weekly hours worked,
  • amount of any payment received by way of out-of-pocket expenses

The voluntary work would normally involve only a few hours a day or a few days a week but full-time involvement in voluntary activities would not necessarily be ruled out. However, there should be no implication of Job Replacement or Cheap Labour. Any payment for the voluntary work should generally be limited to out-of-pocket expenses such as travelling expenses or meal allowances.

Condition: Genuinely Seeking Work

A day is not treated as a day of unemployment unless on that day the person is genuinely seeking work which is suitable for him/her, having regard to his/her age, education, physique, location and family circumstances.

To satisfy this condition, it is necessary for the person to demonstrate that s/he has taken some positive action and is making genuine efforts to secure employment. The person must show that s/he has taken reasonable steps to secure employment during the relevant period and provide examples of such steps. The relevant period is the period in respect of which the person concerned has made a declaration that s/he has been continuously unemployed since the date of his/her application for JA.

The steps which a person is required to take must :-

  1. be reasonable in his/her case, and
  2. offer him/her the best prospects of securing employment.

Steps which would indicate that a person is genuinely seeking work may include :

  1. making oral or written applications for work to employers or persons who have advertised job offers on behalf of an employer;
  2. looking for information on the availability of employment from employers, advertisements, employment agencies and people who have placed advertisements indicating that employment is available;
  3. availing of reasonable training opportunities suitable in his/her case;
  4. acting on the advice given by a Case Officer, or Officer in the Local Employment Service (LES). A Deciding Officer should question a person on whether s/he has acted on the basis of that advice;
  5. taking positive, well advised steps towards establishing him/herself in self-employment which would take the form of:
    - researching possible areas of self-employment, or
    - preparing business plans for a self-employment project, or
    - attending relevant "start your own business" courses, or
    - seeking information, advice or guidance in relation to any of these steps.

Regard may be had to any other steps which a person has taken - provided they offer the best chance of getting employment.

Taking one step on a single occasion in a relevant period may not be enough to satisfy this condition unless that is all that was reasonable for the person to do in that period.

Each action, such as

  • reading the Situations Vacant columns in the newspaper; or
  • reading the job advertisements in the Intreo Offices & using the Work and Training Information System (WATIS) machine
  • writing to an employer; or
  • applying for a particular job vacancy,

constitutes a single step to get employment. For example, checking the WATIS machine, writing to an employer and applying for a job vacancy in the same period would be taken as 3 steps to seek employment.

The steps which people are expected to take to seek work will vary from person to person and from one period to the next. In determining what are reasonable steps, the Deciding Officer should consider the nature and conditions of the employment sought and have regard to the individual circumstances of the person concerned in examining the steps taken to seek the type of employment in question.

What can be reasonably expected of a person may change during the course of a claim. For example, a person who checks the newspaper every day for 3 weeks may be unsuccessful in getting employment. S/he may be advised that this course of action may no longer be considered a sufficient approach to take, and that it would be reasonable to expect him/her to take additional steps - such as visiting employers' premises and enquiring about job vacancies.

Some people will have good chances of getting employment and will have many steps open to them in getting an offer of employment. They would not be required to take all the steps open to them, only those which are reasonable and offer them the best prospects of getting such an offer. Other people may have poor prospects of getting employment and only a few steps open to them. In their case it may be reasonable for them to take all these steps.

For example, a highly skilled person seeking a highly skilled job writing to a particular employer in that field may be the best step for such a person to take rather than simply checking the Situations Vacant column in the paper for such a job.

When deciding whether people have made genuine efforts, i.e. taken reasonable steps, to seek employment, the Deciding Officer should consider all the circumstances of the case. Particular matters which must be taken into account are:

  • the person's skills, qualifications and work experience;
  • the period of unemployment;
  • the efforts made in previous weeks to seek employment;
  • the availability and location of job vacancies; and
  • the person's family circumstances.

A person's skills, qualifications and experience may affect both the type of employment being sought and the range of steps which s/he may reasonably be expected to take to seek such employment. For example, if a person is illiterate s/he cannot reasonably be expected to write to employers or read advertisements but may take other steps such as visiting or phoning employers.

Steps taken in previous weeks may affect the current efforts which a person may be expected to make to seek work. For example if a person has written to a number of employers and is awaiting replies, s/he cannot reasonably be expected to write to those employers again until a reasonable time has elapsed. However, this would not prevent a person from taking other appropriate steps to secure employment, e.g. checking advertisements, checking the WATIS machine or approaching other employers.

A person's family circumstances must also be taken into account. For example, such persons may need to make travelling arrangements in advance to visit prospective employers in view of their family circumstances. It may be unreasonable for a person with certain family responsibilities to seek work which involves a considerable amount of travelling time to and from work.

Availability and Genuinely seeking Work: EEA and Non-EEA Nationals
Conditions of entry to Ireland for EEA Nationals

The EU regulations that apply to the countries listed below are 883/2004 & 987/2009.  Under these regulations citizens of these countries can travel  to other member States to seek employment.

The member states of the European Union are - Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania,Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union on 1st January 2007.

From 1st January 2012

Romanian/Bulgarian Nationals do not require a work permit when taking up employment.

Persons who are engaging in self-employment here will be required to pay PRSI Class S contributions but will have limited cover for Maternity Benefit, State and Widow(er)'s Pensions and Bereavement Grant.

Prior to 1st January 2012

Romanian/Bulgarian Nationals required a work permit in order to participate in the Irish labour market unless exempt. The Treaties of accession provided that Bulgarian/Romanian Nationals working legally in Ireland with a valid work permit for 12 consecutive months after 1st January 2006, would have been entitled to access the labour market without the need for a work permit. Such workers would have been covered by the Irish social insurance (PRSI) system and may, under EU Regulation 883/2004, have qualified for Jobseeker's Benefit, on the basis of the social insurance contributions paid by him/her in Ireland and in his/her country of origin.

Romanian/ Bulgarian Nationals who were spouses/civil partners of fellow Romanian/ Bulgarian Nationals who wished to take up insurable employment did not require a work permit from 1st January 2010 if the other person of that couple had held a valid work permit.

Spouses/Civil Partners of Romanian/Bulgarian Nationals who came to Ireland on or after 1st January 2007 but before 1st January 2010 must have been living in the State with their Romanian/ Bulgarian ‘worker spouse’ for 18 months or until 1st January 2010, whichever was earlier (a ‘worker spouse’ was a spouse/civil partner who had held a valid work permit for 12 consecutive months and worked for a further 6 months).

Where a Romanian/Bulgarian couple were living legally in the State immediately before 1st January 2007 and one of the couple had held a valid work permit for 12 consecutive months immediately before the accession date, 1st January 2007, the other person of that couple did not require a work permit in order to take up insurable employment.

Bulgarian and Romanian Nationals who were self-employed did not require a work permit. Should a person who was self-employed have wished to take up insurable employment, they may have required a work permit.

NOTE 1: A person is regarded as being a citizen of one of the EEA member states if he or she is the holder of a valid passport of that country, irrespective of whether he or she was actually born in that country.

NOTE 2: Only holders of British passports which have the " EU logo" on the front cover have the right to enter Ireland without restriction. Holders of all other types of British passports should be referred to the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform to have their status in Ireland clarified.

Residency in Ireland

There is no minimum period of residence in Ireland required under the social welfare legislation before a person may apply for Jobseeker's Allowance. The entitlement to Jobseeker's Allowance of all non-nationals thus falls to be determined in accordance with the relevant standard criteria set out in the Social Welfare Acts, that a claimant be unemployed, capable of work, available for work, genuinely seeking work and whether means are less than the maximum rate payable.

EEA Nationals and availability

Where an EEA National can produce identification (passport, national identity card) confirming that he/she is from an EEA/ EU country then attention should focus on the GSW aspect of entitlement.

(If there is any doubt as to whether the applicant is from another EEA/EU member state then form NEEA1 should be sent to the Immigration and Citizenship Division of the Department of Justice, Department of Justice, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2. The purpose of this form is to seek information on whether the person concerned is legally entitled to live in Ireland and free to take up employment in Ireland).

As stated above there is no minimum period of residence in Ireland required in order to qualify for Jobseeker's Allowance. However, it is reasonable for a Deciding Officer, when determining if the person concerned is available for work, to check the arrangements made by the claimant in relation to his/her residence in Ireland.

Normally for this purpose it would be expected that the claimant would have established a permanent address;

  • if resident in rented property to be in possession of a rent book (landlords are required by law to provide same to tenants)
  • to have an account with the ESB, Bord Telecom etc.
  • to have contacted employment agencies or checked the WATIS machine.

Generally speaking, addresses in hostels that provide accommodation for budget travellers should not be accepted as sufficient evidence for social welfare purposes that the person is resident and available for employment in Ireland.

Note: Persons who habitually reside in hostels for the homeless are in a different category and the above does not apply to them.

EEA Nationals and Genuinely Seeking Work.

There are many difficulties faced by a person seeking employment outside their own country, e.g. unfamiliarity with local employment opportunities, differences in required educational and training standards and in most cases the need to have a good command of a second language.

Accordingly, special care should be taken to ensure that all EEA Nationals have genuinely come to Ireland with the intention of seeking employment as opposed to other motives such as travel, cultural, educational (improvement of English language skills), or to avail of social welfare payments not available in their state of origin or even where unemployment payments are paid at a higher rate in Ireland.

While an EEA National may be entitled to come and live in Ireland, it is reasonable to examine the circumstances surrounding his/her arrival in Ireland. Deciding Officers should therefore examine their previous employment history, educational qualifications (if any) (e.g. is applicant a full time student?), and whether the decision to come to Ireland and the chosen place of residence in Ireland is consistent with a genuine search for work.

In certain circumstances it would be reasonable to take the view that a person who chooses to reside in an area where there are little or no obvious job opportunities for their particular job qualifications or where there is no means of travelling to work daily is not genuinely looking for work.

Questions concerning Genuinely Seeking Work.

To assist Deciding Officers in processing applications by EEA and Non-EEA Nationals, a list of questions that should be put to ALL non-national applicants has been drawn-up - form NEEA2. Given the need to address these issues fully, it is recommended that ALL EEA and Non EEA applicants for Jobseeker's Allowance be scheduled for a desk interview by a Social Welfare Inspector.

Non-EEA Nationals
Conditions of entry to Ireland for Non-EEA Nationals

Non-EEA Nationals are generally subject to much tighter regulations regarding their right to come to Ireland, to reside and to work in Ireland. In many cases it is necessary for Non-EEA Nationals to obtain visas authorising entry to Ireland.

Such visas will generally state that the bearer is entitled to reside in Ireland for a specific period for the purposes of tourism, education, training etc. and will probably contain a prohibition on taking up work in Ireland without having first obtained a work permit from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Where a visa is not necessary the conditions of entry will generally be entered on an official stamp in the person's passport.

Non-EEA Nationals and availability

Where an Non-EEA National applies for Jobseeker's Allowance the question of availability has to be examined in-depth.

All Non-EEA nationals should be asked to produce their passport/Visa which should be examined to see what conditions have been imposed regarding entry/residence in Ireland.

Where the applicant does not possess a visa and there is no official stamp in his/her passport, form NEEA1 should be sent for completion to the Immigration & Citizenship Division, Department of Justice, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

As previously stated, the purpose of the form is to determine if the applicant is legally resident in Ireland and free to take up employment in Ireland. If the person is:

  • not legally resident or
  • if legally resident but not free to accept employment in Ireland (due to a D/Justice & Equality prohibition on taking up employment) it is reasonable to conclude that the person is not available for work in Ireland.
Non-EEA Nationals and Genuinely Seeking Work

As stated above in the case of EEA nationals, special care should be taken to ensure that all Non-EEA Nationals have come to Ireland with the firm intention of seeking employment as opposed to other motives such as travel, cultural, educational (improvement of English language skills), or to avail of social welfare payments not available in their state of origin or even where employment payments are paid at a higher rate in Ireland.

Questions concerning Genuinely Seeking Work

Deciding Officers should follow the same procedure as with EEA nationals. Appropriate questions from those listed on form AL 2 should be put to all Non-EEA applicants. Given the need to address the issues of availability and Genuinely Seeking Work fully, it is recommended that all Non-EEA applicants for Jobseeker's Allowance be scheduled for a desk interview by a Social Welfare Inspector.

Non-EEA Nationals who have previously worked in Ireland

Claims are sometimes received from Non-EEA nationals who have been admitted to Ireland with valid work permits in order to gain work experience or training, particularly in the medical field.

It appears that in relation to medical personnel there is a system of placements of up to 6 months duration in different hospitals and that in practice the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation renew the work permits of such persons on securing a further placement. Where such a person claims Jobseeker's Allowance after completing a work experience/training placement it should be generally accepted that there are no barriers concerning availability for employment.

In relation to other Non-EEA nationals who have been previously employed in Ireland the position is less certain and offices are advised to contact the Departments of Justice & Equality and Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to ascertain the position regarding residence and the issue of work permits respectively.

Miscellaneous Cases
Refugees

Persons seeking refugee status are normally Non-EEA nationals and have no rights of residence until a decision has been made on their position by the Department of Justice & Equality. The appropriate payment in their case is Supplementary Welfare Allowance. If it is necessary to impose a decision the appropriate one is "not available" on grounds that a person who is not entitled to reside in Ireland cannot be considered to be freely available for employment in Ireland.

Note: Exceptions may arise where special provision is made by the Government for specific groups of refugees e.g. Vietnamese, Bosnians. Local Inteo Centres/ Local offices are normally notified separately of such cases when they arise.

Students

Where a non-national states that he/she is a student written proof (in English) should be sought from the claimant that his/her studies have ended. In many continental countries the school leaving age for third level students is higher than in Ireland.

Asylum Seeker who has been granted Refugee Status
Non-EEA Spouse/Civil Partner of an Irish or other EEA National
Non-EEA National with an Irish Born Child
Person who has been given temporary leave to remain in the state on Humanitarian Grounds
Payment of JA

Where a Non-EEA National claims JA and is:

  1. an asylum seeker who has been granted refugee status,
    or
  2. the spouse/civil partner of an Irish or other EEA National,
    or
  3. the parent of an Irish born child,the child must have been born before 1st January 2005 and application for consideration under the (IBC/05) scheme must have been made by 31st March 2005
    or
  4. a person who has been given temporary leave to remain in the State on humanitarian grounds

a work permit is no longer required. S/he should have the following stamp, issued by the Department of Justice & Equality on his/her Certificate of Registration, stating:

"Permitted to remain in Ireland until.........."

Payment should not continue beyond the date the person is permitted to remain in the State.

Payment of IQA in respect of a spouse/civil partner who is a Non-EEA National

Entitlement to payment of an increase for a qualified adult (IQA) in respect of a Non-EEA spouse/civil partner of an Irish or other EEA National should be determined in exactly the same way as if the spouse/civil partner was an EEA national.

Payment of IQA in respect of a cohabitant who is a Non-EEA National (Cohabitation Case)
  1. Where the partner is an asylum seeker:
    IQA is payable provided that the normal conditions for payment of an IQA are satisfied.
    The claim should be kept under review to examine the outcome of the application for asylum.
  2. Where the cohabitant's asylum application has been rejected:
    (i) An adverse decision on an application for asylum may be appealed.
    (ii) If an appeal fails, a Deportation Order is issued.
    (iii) The applicant may then apply for a Judicial Review.

    The IQA remains payable during the period of the Judicial Review provided all other conditions for payment of an IQA continue to be satisfied. The claim should be kept under review to examine the outcome of the application for Judicial Review.
  3. Where a cohabitant has a restricted visa:
    When a Non-EEA National enters the country for a specific period of time and for a specific purpose, e.g. on a student visa, s/he is obliged to show, before s/he is allowed to enter the State, that s/he has sufficient funds to support him/herself for the duration of the stay.

    In a cohabitation case, an application for an IQA in respect of a person with a restricted visa should be referred to a SWI to establish the details of the cohabitant's income. When it is established that the normal statutory conditions for payment of IQA are satisfied, IQA may be paid. The Department of Justice & Equality should be notified of the award of an IQA in this type of case. In addition, the IQA entitlement should be kept under review.
British citizens born outside the U.K.

(British passport holders who were not born in the United Kingdom e.g. citizens of Malta, Gibralter, Cyprus, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, South Africa and other former British colonies).

As there are a number of scenarios, all such cases should be referred to the Department of Justice & Equality for clarification regarding right of residence in Ireland.

Persons born in the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands do not benefit from the EEA/EU provisions relating to the free movement of persons and services.

Under the EEA/ EU Regulations a person shall be regarded as a UK citizen if:

  • s/he has a parent or grandparent who was born, adopted, naturalised or registered in the UK or,
  • s/he has at any time been resident in the UK for 5 years.
Irish passport holders born abroad

Where a claimant who is the holder of an Irish Passport but was born and reared abroad (e.g. in the USA) and claims Jobseeker's Allowance, the Genuinely Seeking Work aspect should be thoroughly checked having regard to the fact that most such persons come to Ireland for holiday or cultural purposes rather than to seek employment.

New age travellers

This is a term often used by the media to describe persons categorised as seeking to live an alternative life-style. Any person who describes him/herself as such should not be treated any differently or more strictly than other claimants. As in the case of all non-nationals such persons are obliged to satisfy the same conditions of entitlement with regard to availability for work etc. as other applicants. Intreo Centres/Local Offices are entitled to conduct whatever investigations are considered necessary to ensure that the statutory conditions are satisfied. Use should be made of the questionnaire (form AL 2) already referred to above.

Refusal or Failure to Engage with Activation Measures - penalty rates

Activation measures are separated into two categories

  1. Refusal or failure to attend activation meetings, (Section 141A), and
  2. Refusal or failure to participate in prescribed schemes, programmes or courses (Section 141B)

i) refuses or fails, without good cause, to attend at a meeting arranged by or on behalf of the Minister for the purpose of providing information to that person which is intended to improve his or her knowledge of the employment, work experience, education, training and development opportunities available to that person, or

ii) refuses or fails, without good cause, to submit to an assessment of that person’s education, training or development needs

iii) refuses or fails, without good cause, to participate in, agree to participate in or avail himself or herself of an opportunity of participating in

  • a) any scheme or programme of employment or work experience
  •  Or

  • b) a course of education, training or development, which is prescribed for the purposes of this section* and which is considered appropriate having regard to the education, training and development needs of that person and his or her personal circumstances

where a request is made by or on behalf of the Minister to that person (as a consequence of attendance for or submission to an assessment at i) or ii) above) to participate in, agree to participate in or avail himself or herself of an opportunity of participating in a participating in a scheme, programme or course, as the case may be, at a) or b) above.

Prescribed Employment Programmes and Schemes and Courses of Education, Training and Development

  • Community Employment
  • A course of training or development provided by or on behalf of FÁS
  • A course of training or development provided by or on behalf of a body replacing FÁS established by or under an enactment (to be known as SOLAS
  • A course of education, training or development provided by or on behalf of a Vocational Education Committee (VEC)
  • A course of education, training or development provided by or on behalf of an Education & Training Board (ETB)
  • Such other course of education, training or development as may be approved by or on behalf of the Minister from time to time
  • Completion of Decision Form UP 24

    It is very important that Deciding Officers give full details of the reasons for their decisions and that the evidence relied on is listed. If necessary use a second sheet. Also, officers should be careful to distinguish between the decision (not available, not Genuinely Seeking Work or both) and the grounds for the decision. Please see examples below.

    Decision - not available

    Grounds for decision
    The claimant does not have permission to reside in Ireland and accordingly cannot be considered to be freely available to take up employment in Ireland.

    Decision - not available

    Grounds for decision
    The claimant while permitted to reside in Ireland is prohibited by terms of residence from taking up employment in Ireland and accordingly cannot be considered to be freely available to take up offers of employment in Ireland.

    Decision - not genuinely seeking work

    Grounds for decision
    Having reviewed the investigating officer's report and the facts contained in the claimant's application form, I am not satisfied that the claimant is genuinely seeking work. Specifically I have had regard to the fact that (select reason(s) appropriate to each case),

    • lack of credible efforts to seek work since arriving in Ireland,
    • the claimant's decision to live in an area where he/she will not be in a position to travel to work due to a lack of public transport (having no transport of their own),
    • the claimant's decision to live in an area where there are no realistic work opportunities having regard to (select as appropriate) (i) the claimant's education, (ii) training, (iii) previous work experience etc.
    • admission that he/she came to Ireland to improve their knowledge of English rather than to seek employment,

    indicates that he/she is not genuinely interested in pursuing employment in Ireland.

    Completion of the Previous History Code

    It is clear from a printout of the names of persons classified under Previous History Code 1 - " Outside the State - non national" - that this code has been incorrectly applied to many persons who in fact should have been classified under Code 2 " Outside the State - Returned Emigrants ". Please ensure that persons of IRISH origin returning home to Ireland are not classified as NON-NATIONALS and revise any such existing cases that come to light.

    Condition: Proving Unemployment in the Prescribed Manner

    It is a requirement that a person prove unemployment by attending at a Intreo Centre/Social Welfare Local Office or Branch Office (or other designated place) on a day and at a time that an officer of the Minister may direct for the purpose of making a written declaration that s/he has been continuously unemployed since last signing-on or that s/he expects to be unemployed for a future period.

    (See also paragraph: " Signing Arrangements")

    Condition: Satisfy a Means Test

    To qualify for JA, a person must satisfy the conditions as to means. The person's weekly means, calculated in accordance with legislative provisions, must be below the amount of JA which would otherwise be payable to the person. The maximum rate of JA, payable to a person with no means, is known as the "scheduled rate". JA is not payable where the weekly means are equal to or exceed the scheduled rate. Means are deducted from the scheduled rate.

    Means are rounded to the nearest EUR1.00, 50c (being rounded upwards).

    (For details of what is assessable as means, and how means are calculated - See the following separate guidelines: Jobseeker's Allowance/Pre-Retirement Allowance - Assessment Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant Earnings)

    Maximum rate of Jobseeker's Allowance that applies to claimants aged 18 - 25 years (inclusive)

    From 15th January 2014 the reduced Jobseeker's Allowance rate of €100 per week applies to customers aged 18 to 24 years, it applies to both new and existing customers. For customers aged 25 years the rate of €144 per week applies.

    Existing customers (on 15th January 2014) aged 22- 24 years who were in receipt of €144 remain on that rate. Existing customers (on 15th January 2014) aged 25 years who were in receipt of €188 remain on that rate.

    Maximum personal rate aged 26 or over €188.00

    Increase for qualified adult €124.80

    Maximum personal rate aged 25 €144.00

    Increase for qualified adult €124.80

    Maximum personal rate aged 18-24 €100.00

    Increase for qualified adult €100.00

    The reduced rate does not apply in the following circumstances:

    • If a claimant has a qualified child dependant
    • If a claimant has a qualified adult and a qualified child dependant
    • Claimants who reached 22 to 25 years of age prior to 15th January 2014 and whose personal rate has already increased to €144/€188, as applicable
    • Persons transferring directly from Disability Allowance to Jobseeker's Allowance
    • If claim is linked to an earlier claim
    • People aged 18 to 25 participating in a Youthreach course for young early school leavers or a full-time course in a Senior Traveller Training Centre
    • Claimants who qualify for the Back to Education Allowance full-time second level course or post Leaving Cert course
    • People aged 18 to 25 participating in a full-time FAS training course.

     

    Persons leaving HSE care - For persons leaving HSE Care at aged 18 e.g. those in foster homes or HSE care facilities or who were under HSE care at any time during the last 12 months before they reached age 18, the reduced rate does not apply if the customer is between 18 and 24 years.

     

    Ex HSE customers & Budget 2014

    From 15th January 2014 new Ex HSE customers who claim JA will not be subject to a reduced JA rate if they are between 18 and 24 years. However, when they reach 25 year they are subject to the reduced rate of €144.

    An existing ex- HSE customer on 15 January 2014 (aged 25 years) who was in receipt of €188 (prior to Budget 2014) remains on that rate of jobseeker’s allowance.   

    JOBSEEKER ALLOWANCE TRANSITION (JST)

    The Social Welfare and Pensions (Miscellaneous) Act 2013 introduced a new provision within the jobseeker’s allowance scheme for ex-one-parent family payment (OFP) customers whose OFP has been withdrawn due to the age of the youngest qualified child AND where the youngest child is UNDER 14 years of age.  
    (NOTE:          OFP continues to be available to people parenting alone where the youngest child is under the relevant OFP age threshold.  For this reason full conditionality applies where a customer chooses jobseeker’s allowance over entitlement to OFP).

    This provision is known as jobseeker’s allowance transition (JST) and can be summarised as follows:

    1. JST was introduced with effect from 4th July 2013.
    2. It is a statutory provision, introduced by amendment to jobseeker’s allowance (JA) provisions in the Social Welfare Acts.
    3. Although recipients are JA customers the obligation to be unemployed, available for full-time work and genuinely seeking work does not apply to JST customers.
    4. 4-in-7 Rule does not apply to JST.
    5. The maximum weekly rate of JST is the same as the maximum weekly rate of JA.
    6. Payment of JST is based on the JA weekly means assessment.
    7. JST payment is made weekly in advance in respect of payment week from Thursday to Wednesday (identical to OFP payment week).
    8. JST customers are obliged to sign a declaration Quarterly to confirm continuing entitlement to JST.
    9. JST customers are obliged to participate in local office activation measures, including case management, and are also be obliged to participate in any recommended course of education, training or employment programme.
    10. Where a JST customer fails to participate as above, Penalty Rates may be applied.
    11. When the JST customer’s youngest child reaches 14 years of age, the JST exemptions outlined above no longer apply, and full JA conditionality applies. 

    Essentially, the following is the full conditionality governing JST customers:

    1. Customer must be resident in the State.
    2. Customer is an ex-OFP recipient whose OFP has stopped within 3 years prior to date of claim OR who has previously been in receipt of JST.
      For example where OFP claim ended as youngest child reached 7 years, 10 years or 12 years (depending on date of application), this ex-OFP customer can apply for JA and JST exemptions will apply so long as their youngest child is under 14 years and they are parenting alone etc.
    3. At time of application, the customer is excluded from OFP due to age of youngest child & for no other reason, e.g. must be parenting alone.
    4. The youngest qualified child dependant is at least 7 years of age and under 14 years of age.
    5. Customer must be capable of work
    6. Customer must attend the local office as required.
    7. Customer must make the required JST declaration.
    8. Customer must engage in the activation process, as required.
    9. Customer must declare any change of circumstances, including a change in living arrangements and/or means, which may affect entitlement to JA and/or JST exemptions.
    10. Customer must satisfy habitual residence condition.

    Fish Assist

    Fish assist is not a separate scheme it comes under Jobseeker's Allowance with an improved means test.

    A fisherman means a person engaged in sea fishing as a self-employed person:

    (a) on a fishing boat entered in the Register of Fishing Boats, or

    (b) on a fishing boat fishing that has a license to fish for salmon

    A self-employed fisherman may qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance. To qualify for jobseeker’s allowance a person must be available for and genuinely seeking work and satisfy a means test. The means of a self-employed fisherman is based on their net income. The net income is gross income less expenses. Means that a self-employed fisherman may have from other sources of self-employment is assessed in the same way. Generally, in assessing the means of a self-employed person the level of earnings in the preceding 12 months is used to determine their expected income in the following year. However, where there is a substantial change in the level of income this is taken into account in determining the means.

    Certain disregards apply to self-employed fishermen. The disregards are as follows:

    Where a self-employed fisherman or his/her spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is engaged on a seasonal basis in the occupation of fishing, one half of so much of the income from such as does not exceed EUR 153.00 per year and one third of so much of the income as exceeds EUR153.00 per year but does not exceed EUR 381.00 per year,

    * From 3rd April 2013 the income disregard for children is removed.

    From 1st January 2012 to 2nd April 2013 an income disregard of €127 (was €254.00) per annum of the net income is disregarded for each of the first 2 qualified children and €190.50 (was €381.00) per annum is disregarded for each subsequent child,

    and

    * From 3rd April 2013 the net income is assessed at100%

    from 1st January 2012 to 2nd April 2013 85% (was 70%) of the balance is assessed as means.

    A disregard of €1,270 a year is allowed to self-employed fisherman (or Farmer's spouse/civil partner/cohabitant) who harvest seaweed.

    A disregard of €2,540 is allowed against any payments under the Rural Environment Protection scheme (REPS) or the Special Areas Conservation Scheme (SACS). The balance is halved and any expenses associated with the scheme are deducted.

    Definition of Share fishing

    A “person engaged in share fishing” means a self-employed contributor who is a member of the crew of a fishing vessel and whose principal means of livelihood is derived from a share in the profits or the gross earnings of the working of the vessel.

    A fisherman can sign on if

    • the boat could not be put to sea due to bad weather
    • boat is undergoing repairs or maintenance work ( see note below)

    Note: Any day spent doing repair/maintenance work to ensure the boat is seaworthy does not count as a day of unemployment

    Shared fishermen who are classified as self-employed and who are already paying PRSI at Class S may pay a Class P contribution. Persons who pay PRSI at Class P may qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit (JB)

    DISQUALIFICATIONS

    Disqualifications: General

    A person may be disqualified from receipt of JA in certain circumstances. Any period during which a person is disqualified is not counted as part of the continuous period of unemployment.

    Full Disqualification

    A person who would otherwise be entitled to payment may be disqualified for the full period in the following circumstances:

    • Inmate of an Institution
    • Employment in a Community Employment Scheme
    • A student (except a mature student in between academic years)
    • Absent from the State
    • Imprisonment
    • Involvement in a trade dispute
    Disqualification 9 weeks

    A person who would otherwise be entitled to payment may be disqualified for receiving JA for such period as may be determined by a Deciding Officer, but in any case not exceeding 9 weeks, for any of the following reasons:

    • Refusal of offer of suitable employment
    • Loss of employment because of wilful misconduct
    • Leaving employment voluntarily without just cause
    • Refusal or Failure to Engage with Activation Measures where penalty rate applied
     
    Refusal of offer of suitable employment
     
    A disqualification of up to 9 weeks may be imposed if the Deciding Officer is satisfied that customer refused offer of suitable employment.  Each case is examined with regard to the particular circumstances that apply to it. . 
     
    Lost Employment through his/her own Misconduct

    A disqualification of up to 9 weeks may be imposed if the Deciding Officer is satisfied from the evidence before him/her that the reason the person lost his/her employment was due to his/her own misconduct. The period of disqualification may only be imposed from date that the person lost his/her employment.

    (See separate guideline REVISED DECISIONS.)

    Examples of misconduct that may lead to disqualification could include:

    • unexplained absence from work/bad time-keeping without a valid reason
    • stealing from place of work
    • wilfully disruptive/unreasonable behaviour at work

    Occasionally, an employer may give a person the option of resigning rather than being dismissed for misconduct. Where a disqualification is considered appropriate in such a case, the ground of disqualification is "misconduct" rather than "leaving the job voluntarily".

    Voluntarily Left Employment

    A person may be disqualified for receiving JA for up to 9 weeks from date of leaving employment if s/he has left the employment voluntarily and without just cause.

    'Good cause' is not defined and it is for the Deciding Officer to apply a common sense meaning to the expression in
    considering the case. Factors that may be taken into account could include the circumstances surrounding any changes in working conditions, the financial situation of the firm, whether leaving the employment amounted to constructive dismissal (i.e. the person left the employment following harassment/abuse from the employer).

    Refusal or Failure to Engage with Activation Measures where penalty rate applied

    A 9-week Disqualification of Jobseeker’s Allowance or Benefit may be imposed in circumstances where a person who has already had his or her rate reduced (Penalty Rate) for a period of not less than 21 calendar days (3 weeks) and continues to refuse or fail, without good cause, to engage in Group Engagement, 1to1 meetings, suitable education, training or development opportunities or specified employment programmes and Schemes.

    Effective Date of Disqualification

    Where any of the above disqualifications is imposed, the period must be calculated with reference to the day on which the loss or leaving of employment, refusal, failure, neglect or redundancy (as the case may be) occurred.

    Credits

    Credited Contributions are awarded for the duration of the above disqualifications, subject to the conditions of being available for and capable of work being fulfilled.

    Other Disqualifications

    Inmate of an Institution

    A person shall be disqualified for receipt of JA in respect of any period where s/he is detained in prison or a mental institution which is being maintained wholly or partly out of public moneys or by a local authority.

    Employment in a Community Employment Scheme

    A person is disqualified for JA for any period that s/he is participating on Community Employment. Credits are not awarded as PRSI contributions are payable. However, the period on CE is disregarded for linking purposes.

    Student Disqualifications

    A person is disqualified from receipt of JA for any days in which they are attending a full-time day course of study, instruction or training at one of the following institutions:

    • a school,
    • a university,
    • a college of a university,
    • a Regional Technical College
    • an Institute of Technology,
    • any institution to which the National Council for Educational Awards Act, 1979, applies,
    • any other institution to which the Local Authority (Higher Education Grants) Acts, 1968 to 1992 apply,
    • other institutions as may be prescribed by the Minister from time to time.
    SECOND LEVEL STUDENTS

    (a) Second level students who complete Examinations :

    The 3 month disqualification period for receipt of JA commences on the day following the last examination. This date will vary from student to student. It is incorrect to apply a disqualification period with a common start and end date for all cases. e.g. 3 months from 26 June to 26 September.

    This disqualification extends for 3 months after the person has completed the Leaving Certificate Examination or for 3 months after the person finally leaves full-time second level education (whichever is the later).

    (b) Students who do not sit Examinations:

    Students who leave second-level education without completing the Leaving Certificate are disqualified for 3 months from the date of leaving school. Written verification should be sought from the school confirming the date of cessation.

    (c) Repeat-year students:

    Students disqualified for receipt of JA for 3 months following completion of the Leaving Certificate, who resume studies or who repeat the examination the following year, are subject to disqualification in the repeat year.

    (d) Students studying abroad:

    Irish and other EEA/Non-EEA students studying abroad who have just completed second level studies abroad are similarly subject to disqualification (for 3 months from the date of leaving school or completion of examinations).

    (e) BTEA Participants:

    BTEA participants who are second level students are not subject to the 3 month disqualification.

    THIRD LEVEL STUDENTS

    (a) Students who have not completed their final year:

    Third level students who have not completed their final year at college are disqualified for receipt of JA during the academic term and for the duration of the summer vacation periods. This disqualification also applies to:

    • Students pursuing Post Leaving Certificate courses of more than one year's duration;
    • Irish/ EEA students returning from courses abroad; and
    • Non-EEA third level students applying for JA in Ireland.

    (b) Students who sit exams, but state that they do not intend to return to college:

    Third level students between academic years who sit summer examinations but state that they do not intend to return to college in the autumn should be regarded as following a course of study up to the commencement of the next following academic year. As such, they are subject to disqualification up to the commencement of the next academic year (in September/October, as appropriate).

    (c) Students who leave college mid-year:

    Third level students who state that they do not intend to continue with their studies and leave before the completion of the academic year (without sitting summer examinations) may be regarded as no longer "attending a course of study". As a result they are not subject to this disqualification. Colleges should be requested to confirm that the student has left and does not intend to sit end of year examinations.

    (d) Students completing theses/projects:

    The legislation provides for disqualification while attending a full-time day course of study. Third level students who have completed final examinations but are completing theses or projects cannot be regarded as still attending a full-time day course of study and, therefore, cannot be disqualified under this provision. Entitlement may, however, be considered under the availability condition, - Section 141 (4)(c) depending on the degree of commitment to the project/thesis.

    (e) Postgraduate (research) students:

    Students pursuing a course at Postgraduate level by research only, who do not have fixed lectures or holidays but who work "at their own pace" until the thesis is submitted should have their entitlement examined. Each case should be examined on an individual basis to ensure that the general availability/ GSW conditions are satisfied.

    (f) Third level examination only student :

    It is considered inappropriate to disqualify students who are only registered to sit examinations (i.e. are not attending an Institution of education). These are mostly repeat year students registered for examinations only but also include persons studying at night and those following Open University courses. Such persons are not disqualified for receipt of JA under Section 148 of the Social Welfare Act 2006. However, these students must continue to satisfy the availability/ GSW conditions.

    There are two exceptions to this disqualification

    1. persons aged 21 years or over who have been in receipt of JA/ JB for at least 6 months and who are participating in approved courses of education, training or development
      (as per the section of these guidelines dealing with "special provisions regarding availability"), and
    2. mature students, i.e. persons over 23 years of age on or before 1st January in the year in which the course of study commences.

    are not subject to this disqualification.

    Deciding Officers should note that disqualification while attending a course of study is completely separate from the availability condition. As mature students are exempted from this disqualification, they may be entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance during the summer holiday periods if they satisfy the availability condition in the normal way.

    Absence from the State

    A person shall be disqualified from receiving JA while s/he is resident, whether temporarily or permanently, outside the State.

    There are two exceptions to this disqualification :

    Holidays Abroad

    (a) A person may receive JA for 2 weeks holidays in any calendar year. These holidays may be taken abroad. S/he is required to inform the Local Office 2 weeks in advance of his/her departure and to complete the form UP 30. All holiday payments should be made retrospectively, upon confirmation of the position when the person signs on again (on the next normal signing day after his/her return). If a person goes on holiday for longer than 2 weeks, s/he may be paid in respect of the first two weeks, but should be disqualified for any period abroad in excess of this.

    International Sporting Events

    (b) The disqualification shall not apply in respect of any period during which a person is representing Ireland at an international sporting event in an amateur capacity.

    There is no limit on the amount of time that a person may spend abroad engaged in such a sporting activities, but only periods of actual competition are covered. Training abroad is not covered, except in respect of final preparation and acclimatisation immediately preceding the competition.

    An international event in this context means a competition such as the Olympics, Special Olympics, Para-Olympics World or European competitions where the participants are formally representing their countries. The mere presence of athletes from various countries does not make it an international event.

    Form UP 30 must be completed 2 weeks in advance.

    Imprisonment

    A person is disqualified for receiving JA while s/he is undergoing penal servitude, imprisonment or detention in legal custody.

    Involvement in a Trade Dispute

    A person is disqualified from receiving JA if he/she has lost employment due to his/her direct interest or involvement in a trade dispute at the factory, workshop, farm or other premises or place at which s/he is employed. The disqualification applies as long as the stoppage of work continues, except in a case where s/he has, during the stoppage of work, become bona fide employed elsewhere in the occupation which s/he usually follows or has become regularly engaged in some other occupation.

    This provision does not apply to a person who is not participating in or directly interested in the trade dispute which caused the stoppage of work.

    Where separate departments exist, or where branches of work are commonly carried on

    • as separate businesses in separate premises, or
    • at separate places

    each of those departments are treated as a separate factory, workshop, farm or separate premises or place.

    In these cases, if a lay-off occurs in one department of a company due to a stoppage of work in another department, persons who are employed in the department where the layoffs occur but who are not participating in or directly involved in a trade dispute are not disqualified from receipt of Jobseeker's Allowance.

    Procedure:
    In order to maintain a degree of consistency and because a strike in one place of employment may result in claims at several Social Welfare Local Offices, when a person has lost work due to a trade dispute the claim should be submitted to RSU Schemes Section, even if s/he is not directly involved in the dispute. When a number of similar claims are received, a test case will suffice. However each individual has the right to have his/her case examined and a separate decision made.

    If a claim is made the following information should be obtained for the benefit of RSO Schemes Section:

    • name of the personnel manager dealing with the dispute for the employer
    • name and contact details of the union official dealing with the dispute for the employees
    • any information available regarding which unions are involved and which are not participating.

    If a disqualification is applied, it applies for the duration of the dispute, or until the person's situation changes.

    Before a decision can be made on a claim, the Deciding Officer in RSO Schemes Section contacts the employer and the union to obtain a background to the dispute and to establish all the facts of the case. The Deciding Officer notifies the Local Social Welfare Offices of the decision on the claim submitted.

    Strike Credits

    Credited contributions are awarded to the person for the entire duration of the dispute.

    Social Welfare Tribunal

    The purpose of the Tribunal is to deal with cases where entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit or Assistance is refused by a Deciding Officer due to an involvement in a trade dispute. A person may apply to the Tribunal for an adjudication on his/hers claim.

    See also separate guideline (SOCIAL WELFARE TRIBUNAL)

    Late Claims

    A claim may be backdated for a maximum of 6 months where the person can prove to the satisfaction of the Deciding Officer or Appeals Officer that s/he satisfied the qualifying conditions throughout the period and that there was good cause for delay in making the claim.

    Circumstances which may constitute 'good cause' for a delay in making a claim are not defined in legislation and Deciding Officers must decide each individual case on its merits.

    In all cases, without exception, the maximum period that a claim may be back-dated in this way is 6 months.

    See also separate guideline " Claims and Late Claims" on late claims

    Duration of Payment

    JA is payable for as long as the qualifying conditions are satisfied.

    Rates Structure

    Jobseeker's Allowance rates are made up of a personal rate and increases for a Qualified Adult, and Child Dependants.

    A family rate less means applies from 26 September 2007. The family rate is based on a personal rate, a full qualified adult rate and full child dependant allowance rate less means. A disregard of €20.00 a day for each day worked by the customer up to a maximum of 3 days each week applies (max. €60.00 a week).

    SAVER CLAUSE September 2007

    If customer was in receipt of a higher payment on the 26th September 2007 than he/she would be entitled to under the new assessment a saver should be applied. However, should the customer sign off for more than 4 consecutive weeks the saver will no longer apply.

    Special provisions apply to a customer who breaks his/her claim in the period between 29 August 2007 and 24 October 2007. S/he may benefit from the saver even is s/he breaks his/her claim more than once or for more than 4 weeks within that period. The deciding factor here is whether s/he has entitlement in respect of at least a day in both the four weeks prior and the four weeks post 26 September.

    Rates of payment are set out in the information booklet SW 19 .

    In all cases where a payment is being made for a week or part of a week, the rate calculated is rounded to the nearest 10cents.

    Persons who are no longer entitled to CA or a OPFP and who immediately claim Jobseeker's Allowance do not have to serve waiting days on th JA claim.The eligibility condition for secondary benefits i.e. fuel, Christmas Bonus etc. is examined in each case.

    Increases for a Qualified Adult and Qualified Child

    Definition of Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant

    1. Married couples – the term 'spouse' refers to each person of a married couple
    2. Civil partners - A 'civil partner' is defined as "each person of a couple who are civil partners within the meaning of section 3 of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010". The term 'civil partner' only applies to a person who has registered their civil partnership.
    3. 'Cohabitants' refer to couples who are living together (both the same or opposite sex). The term 'Cohabitants' is defined in the social welfare code in accordance with Section 172 (1) of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act, 2010, which states that "... a cohabitant is one of two adults (whether of the same or the opposite sex) who live together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship and who are not related to each other within the prohibited degrees of relationship or married to each other or civil partners of each other".

    See separate guidelines on " Qualified Adults" and " Child Dependants"

    Maximum Amount Payable to a Couple and Limitation of Payment to Each, where both are entitled to JA, PRETA, or FA.

    Where both members of a couple are claiming any (or a combination) of the following:

    • Jobseeker's Allowance (JA)
    • Farm Assist (FA)
    • Pre-Retirement Allowance (PRETA)

    their combined payments cannot exceed the amount which would be payable if only one person made a claim. Where each would be entitled to a different rate of payment, the higher of the two amounts is the maximum amount which can be paid to the household. The couple will not necessarily receive this amount; it simply means that their combined payments cannot exceed this amount.

    Each of the couple shall be entitled to be paid one-half of the amount (including any increases thereof, where appropriate) which would be payable to him or her if only one of them was being paid.

    There are, therefore, two steps which should be followed to determine the actual entitlement of each member of the couple :

    1. Establishing the maximum amount which can be paid to the couple, and
    2. Establishing the amount to be paid to each person.

    Step 1:
    Establish the maximum amount which can be paid to the couple.

    This is done by calculating how much each would receive if only one of them made a claim. These may be different amounts, e.g. because of the way in which means are assessed or because only one of them may be entitled to be paid an increase in respect of a qualified adult or qualified child. Where this is the case, the higher of these two payments shall be the maximum amount which may be paid to the couple.

    Note: In calculating the amount which would be paid to either of the couple if only one of them made a claim :

    • an Increase (full or reduced) in respect of a Qualified Adult should not be used unless the claimant would actually have an entitlement to such an increase.
    • full-rate Qualified Child (IQC) or half-rate IQC should be used as appropriate to the individual circumstances,
    • full or half means should be assessed as appropriate to the individual circumstances.

    Step 2:
    Establish the amount to be paid to each of the couple when both make a claim
    (the combined total of which cannot exceed the maximum amount payable).

    This is calculated by halving the amount which would be paid to each of them if the other person didn't make a claim (as per Step 1).

    Maximum Amount Payable to a Couple and Limitation of Payment where one is in receipt of JA and the other is in receipt of another social welfare payment.

    Where one member of a couple is claiming JA and the other is in receipt of one of the following payments:

    • Illness Benefit
    • Disablement Pension (when paid with IB or Incapacity Supplement)
    • Injury Benefit
    • Invalidity Pension,
    • State Pension (non-contributory)
    • State Pension (contributory)
    • State Pension (Transition)
    • Jobseeker's Benefit

    their combined payments cannot exceed the amount which would be payable if only one person made a claim. Where each would be entitled to a different rate of payment, the higher of the two amounts is the maximum amount which can be paid to the household. The couple will not necessarily receive this amount; it simply means that their combined payments cannot exceed this amount.

    Where the combined payments would, but for the application of this provision, exceed this maximum amount, the JA payment must be reduced by the amount of the excess (i.e. the JA payment is LIMITED to the difference between the MAXIMUM AMOUNT PAYABLE and the amount of the other payment.

    There are, therefore, two steps which should be followed to determine the actual entitlement of each member of the
    couple :

    1. Establishing the maximum amount which can be paid to the couple, and
    2. Establishing the amount to be paid to each person.

     

    Step 1: Establish the maximum amount which can be paid to the couple.
    This is done by calculating how much each would receive if only one of them made a claim. These may be different amounts, e.g. because one is entitled to a standard rate of JB, while the other is only entitled to a reduced rate of JA, or because only one would be entitled to be paid an increase in respect of a qualified adult or qualified child. Where this is the case, the higher of these two payments shall be the maximum amount which may be paid to the couple.

    Note: In calculating the amount which would be paid to either of
    the couple if only one of them made a claim :

    • an Increase (full or reduced) in respect of a Qualified Adult should not be used unless the claimant would actually have an entitlement to such an increase,
    • full-rate Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) or half-rate IQC should be used as appropriate to the individual circumstances,
    • full or half means should be assessed as appropriate to the individual circumstances.

    Step 2: Establish the amount to be paid to each of the couple when both make a claim (the combined total of which cannot exceed the maximum amount payable).

    As each of the couple have made a claim, neither is entitled to claim an increase in respect of a Qualified Adult. If there are qualified children, neither can claim full-rate IQC, although both may be entitled to claim half-rate IQC.

    Entitlement is determined in the normal way, but if the resulting combined payments would thereby exceed the MAXIMUM AMOUNT PAYABLE to the couple, the JA payment must be reduced by the amount of the excess.

    SAVER CLAUSE (Claims Pre- 07 April 1999)
    1. Where one of above limitations would apply, but the JA/PRETA claim is linked back to a claim made prior to 07 April 1999, (for an explanation of linked JA claims, please read the paragraph entitled "Continuous Periods of Unemployment (CPU) & Linking"), the maximum payment and limitation should be calculated using the following formulae:

    Maximum Amount Payable to a Couple and Limitation of Payment to Each, where both are entitled to JA, PRETA,or FA.

    Where both members of a couple are claiming any (or a combination) of the following:

    • Jobseeker's Allowance (JA)
    • Farm Assist (FA)
    • Pre-Retirement Allowance (PRETA)

    each of the couple will be paid an amount of JA or PRETA which will equal one half the amount that they would be entitled to receive if they were claiming JA,or PRETA with their partner as their Qualified Adult.

    It does not matter that the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant involved would not normally be admitted as a Qualified Adult. In establishing the limitation rate, the full personal rate plus the qualified adult increase plus full increase for a qualified child less full means are used (i.e. means are not halved as a qualified adult is deemed to be in payment).

    SAVER CLAUSE Continued (Claims Pre- 07 April 1999)

    JA Limitation Where Another SW Payment is made to Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant

    Where one member of a couple is claiming JA and the other is in receipt of one of the following payments:

    • Illness Benefit
    • Disablement Pension (when paid with IB or Incapacity Supplement)
    • Injury Benefit
    • Invalidity Pension,
    • State Pension (non-contributory)
    • State Pension (contributory)
    • State Pension
    • Jobseeker's Benefit

    the total amount payable to the household cannot exceed the amount which would be payable if the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant on assistance or benefit/pension claimed the other as an adult dependant, whichever is the higher.

    Where both are claiming (each receive half rate IQC and the combined payments exceed the maximum payable, the amount of JA payable to the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is reduced by the amount of the excess.

    The limitation is established by calculating the greater amount which would be payable if one spouse/civil partner/cohabitant was claiming for the other.

    The amount payable to each spouse is then established and the amount which is payable on the Benefit/Pension is deducted from the limitation amount. The balance is the amount which is payable to the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant on JA (provided it is less than the JA Personal Rate plus half rate IQC less half means).

    NOTE: This 'saver clause'applies even if the claim was not subject to a limitation prior to 7 April 1999.

    Entitlement where a person or spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is on an Educational/Training Programme.

    (a) CLAIMANT on Course of Education/Training and Development (Part-time or Full-time)

    1. JA is not payable where a person is in receipt of an allowance in respect of any full-time or part-time course of education,training or development (including a course run by SOLAS or Education & Training Boards).S/he does not continue to satisfy the conditions for receipt of an unemployment payment on the grounds that s/he is not considered to be available for full-time work.
    2. Where the claimant is not in receipt of an allowance, the claim should be examined to determine if s/he qualifies for continued payment of JA under the Education, Training & Development(ET&D) option or the Part-Time Education Option (PTEO) - see Back to Education Programmes folder for more details. (Payments received for expenses necessarily incurred, e.g. travel and meal expenses are disregarded for means purposes).

     

    (b) SPOUSE/CIVIL PARTNER/COHABITANT

    1. Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant on a SOLAS or Education & Training Boards Course
      Where the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant of a JA claimant is in receipt of an allowance in respect of a full-time SOLAS or Education & Training Boards course, s/he is not considered to be a qualified adult dependant. SOLAS/Education & Training Boards
      is responsible for paying the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant(and an increase for qualified chilren if applicable) 

              All training allowances received by the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant are disregarded in the assessment of means.

    1. Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant on other Training/Educational Courses
      Where a spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is participating in a full-time or part-time course which is not administered by SOLAS or Education & Training Boards, the full increase for a qualified adult (IQA) is payable

      All training allowances received by the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant are disregarded in the assessment of means.

 

    NOTE 1: - A Qualified Adult Increase (IQA/RIQA) is not payable where the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is in receipt of a Social Welfare payment in his/her own right, e.g. Back to Education Allowance.

    NOTE 2: - Payments received by a spouse/civil partner/cohabitant in respect of expenses necessarily incurred in attending a course of education or training, e.g. travel and meal expenses, are disregarded when calculating total gross weekly income.

    Payment for a Week of Unemployment

    From 20th February 2013

    JA is payable for a week of unemployment. A week of unemployment is a period of at least 4 days of unemployment in a designated period of 7 consecutive days. This `JA week' runs from Wednesday to Tuesday (including Sundays).

    To be paid JA for any week,

    • There must be 4 days of unemployment in that week (i.e. the 4 in 7 rule), OR
    • If there are two JA weeks in a row where the 4 in 7 rule is not satisfied, but there are 4 days of unemployment in 7 consecutive days, JA may be paid for the second week.

      Note: In such cases, the person has no entitlement to JA for the 1st week. This does not apply in the exceptional circumstances where JA is paid in respect of days of unemployment - see below.

     

    Example: The week runs from Wednesday to Tuesday (Sundays are included). This is an example of a person's signing pattern over a consecutive 6 week period. The person will receive payment for the weeks indicated as weeks of unemployment.

     

    ​Week ​W T​ ​F ​S ​S ​M T​
    Week 1​ ​X ​​X ​​X ​​X ​O ​O ​O A week of unemployment​
    Week 2​ ​​O ​​O ​​O ​​O ​X ​X ​X ​Not a week of unemployment
    Week 3​ ​X O ​O ​O ​O ​O ​O ​A week of unemployment
    ​Week 4 ​O ​X ​X ​O ​O ​X ​X ​A week of unemployment
    ​Week 5 ​X ​O ​O ​O ​O ​X ​X ​Not a week of unemployment
    ​Week 6 ​O ​O ​O ​X ​X ​O ​O ​A week of unemployment
     

     

    Prior to 20th February 2013

    JA is payable for a week of unemployment. A week of unemployment is a period of at least 3 days of unemployment in a designated period of 6 consecutive days. This ' JA week' runs from Wednesday to Tuesday (excluding Sundays).

    To be paid JA for any week,

    • There must be 3 days of unemployment in that week (i.e. the 3 in 6 rule), OR
    • If there are two JA weeks in a row where the 3 in 6 rule is not satisfied, but there are 3 days of unemployment in 6 consecutive days, JA may be paid for the second week.

    Note: In such cases, the person has no entitlement to JA for the 1st week. This does not apply in the exceptional circumstances where JA is paid in respect of days of unemployment - see below.

    Example: The week runs from Wednesday to Tuesday (Sundays are excluded). This is an example of a person's signing pattern over a consecutive 6 week period. The person will receive payment for the weeks indicated as weeks of unemployment.

    Example Prior to 20th February 2013

    Example of a week of unemployment

     

    Wednesday

    Thursday

    Friday

    Saturday

    Monday

    Tuesday

    (week 1)
    A week of unemployment

    X

    X

    X

    O

    O

    O

    (week 2)
    Not a week of unemployment

    O

    O

    O

    O

    X

    X

    (week 3)
    A week of unemployment

    X

    O

    O

    O

    O

    O

    (week 4)
    A week of unemployment

    O

    X

    X

    O

    O

    X

    (week 5)
    Not a week of unemployment

    X

    O

    O

    O

    O

    X

    (week 6)
    A week of unemployment

    O

    O

    O

    X

    X

    O

    'X' = day of unemployment
    'O' = day of employment

    Payment for Days of Unemployment

    In the following specified circumstances JA will be payable for days of unemployment, instead of a week.

    (a) Where the first 3 days of unemployment are "waiting days" (see below) JA will be paid for the remaining days of unemployment in the JA week.

    (b) Where a person is disqualified for part of a JA week, JA may be paid for any remaining days of unemployment in that week. This includes cases where a person transfers from jobseeker's benefit after 234 days (previously 312 days on JB) and makes a claim for LTJA.

    (c) Where a person makes a repeat claim mid-week, JA may be paid for the days of unemployment in that week. (A repeat claim is a linked claim where waiting days are not served - see below).

    (d) Where a person returns to work mid-week the remaining days of unemployment are payable.

    The following are examples of repeat claims:

    • A person is employed for 4 or more consecutive days and makes a repeat claim when that employment ends, or
    • In the case of person who is normally a part-time or casual worker a repeat claim is taken after four weeks full-time work.

    (Where a casual/part-time claimant works 4 or more days per week for a period of less than 4 weeks, s/he should be paid on a weekly basis from the week on which s/he again satisfies the 3 in 6 rule.)

    Continuous Periods of Unemployment (CPU) & Linking

    The duration of a person's JA claim is recorded in terms of days of unemployment. This cumulative total (CT) is the total number of days of unemployment paid on JA in one continuous period of unemployment.

    JA claims are made up of continuous periods of unemployment (CPU). These are periods of at least 4 days of unemployment, whether consecutive or not, within a period of seven consecutive days. Any two such periods not separated by more than 52 weeks shall be considered the same continuous period of unemployment - this is known as linking the claims. Where two claims are linked the cumulative total number of days is carried from the first claim to the second.

    Waiting Days

    A person is not entitled to JA for the first 3 days of a separate CPU. These 3 days are called waiting days.

    Waiting days are not applied where a person :

    • makes a repeat claim for JA within 52 weeks of a previous JA claim
    • exhausts his/her entitlement to JB and subsequently claims JA (within a 52 week period)
    • reaches 65 and does not satisfy the qualifying conditions for receipt of "Unlimited JB" i.e. Jobseeker's Benefit payable up to and including 66th birthday.
    Periods of Disregard for Linking Purposes

    Any periods spent on the following schemes are disregarded when determining the break between two JA claims. e.g. a person may go to a FÁS training scheme from JA for a period (no matter how long) and may resume their JA as if s/he had never been away. In these cases no waiting days are served and the CT is continued from the previous claim. The following activities are disregarded when linking two JA claims:

    These courses are

    • CE (formally SES, Enterprise Allowance & Teamwork)
    • Alternance Scheme
    • FÁS training
    • European Voluntary Service Initiative
    • Part-time Job Incentive Scheme
    • VTOS
    • Prescribed Scheme or course
    • Pre-Retirement Allowance

    Community Employment is a FÁS Programme that benefits both the Community and the participants. The projects are involved in areas such as Arts, Community Recreation, Environmental, Community Advice and Support, Schools, Tourism, Health and Welfare Services. It provides valuable part-time work opportunities and training/development options and assists a person into a job and/or further education and training.

    Alternance/Return to Work Courses

    These courses, which are run by FÁS, are for people who have been out of the work place for a long time - e.g. women who have spent the last number of years working in the home. The courses concentrate on personal development and skills training.

    • FÁS Training
      FÁS provides training courses of an industrial and commercial nature for the unemployed. The courses are designed to equip trainees with specific skills that will enhance their prospects of securing employment.
    • European Voluntary Service Initiative
      The European Commission and its partners in the Member States have successfully collected a large number of hosting projects willing to receive young volunteers. The action is open to all young people aged 18-25 years. Young volunteers will have the opportunity to spend between 6-12 months getting to know another country, another culture and another language, by taking part in a project which contributes to the well-being of a local community. Persons will be able to broaden their horizons and improve their chances of starting out in life.
    • Part-time Job Incentive Scheme
      See separate guideline PART-TIME JOB INCENTIVE SCHEME
    • VTOS
      See separate guideline VTOS ( Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme).
    • Pre-Retirement Allowance
      See separate guideline on Pre-Retirement Allowance

    Secondary Benefits

    National Fuel Scheme

    A National Fuel Allowance (NFA) is payable for the duration of the fuel season to JA persons who satisfy the following conditions. The person must:

    • be in receipt of long-term rate of Jobseeker's Allowance
    • live alone or only with :-
      - a dependent spouse/civil partner/cohabitant who is in receipt of a qualifying payment in their own right or a qualified adult on the customer’s claim or child(ren) (child up to 18 years, or until age 22 if in full-time education) or with another eligible recipient
      - STJA recipients
      AND
      must not have :-

      - access to his/her own turf (except where s/he has a turf bank and can show that the cost of saving the turf was in excess of £130 (€165.07) for the period from mid- October to mid- April)
      - heating supplied at low cost by a Local authority

    Payment of the National Fuel Allowance is limited to one per household.

    Carer's Allowance

    From 27 September 2007 a person who is claiming a Social Welfare Payment (other than Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit) or being claimed for as a Qualified Adult and who is providing full time care to another person may now apply for Carer's Allowance and retain their current payment in full. If they satisfy the conditions for Carer's Allowance it will be awarded at 50% of the personal rate they would qualify for if they were not in receipt of any other payment. They may also be eligible for Household Benefits and a Free Travel Pass.

    * A Person may not receive Jobseeker's Benefit/Allowance, Back to Work Allowance or Family Income Supplement and half rate Carer's Allowance but they may be a qualified adult on these payments and receive half rate Carer's Allowance.

    See "Carer's Allowance guideline" for more information

    Overlapping Provisions

    Personal rate JA or an Increase for Qualified Adult is not payable to (or in respect of) a person at the same time as most other social welfare payments. (See separate guideline "Overlapping Payments" for full details).

    For example, Family Income Supplement (FIS) is not payable with:

    • Jobseeker's Benefit
    • State Pension (Transition)
    • Jobseeker's Allowance
    • Pre-Retirement Allowance

    in respect of the same person for the same period.

    A person who is in receipt of FIS may not be claimed as a Qualified Adult on their spouse/civil partner/cohabitant's JA claim.

    Option of Claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JA) instead of Jobseeker's Benefit (JB)

    Where a person is entitled to Jobseeker's Benefit (JB) s/he may choose to claim Jobseeker's Allowance (JA) instead provided s/he satisfies the JA means test. This is referred to as ' Optional JA'.

    JB may be paid while awaiting a decision on JA entitlement. When the Optional JA claim is decided, payment of JA may be authorised from the date of application. In such cases, payment will be adjusted to offset the amount of JB paid on account of Optional JA. The decision to opt for JA in lieu of JB may be made at any time during the JB claim.

    Cumulative Total of days claimed

    Any day in respect of which a person receives JA while entitled to JB shall be treated as though it were a day in respect of which JB was paid [Section 67(8) of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005]. This means that each day in respect of which Optional JA is paid counts as a day towards a claimant's entitlement to 234 days (was 312 days) JB. JB entitlement is thus exhausted when the claimant has been paid Optional JA for 234 days (was 312 days). To re-qualify for JB a claimant will require 13 paid contributions from the 157th day of the JB claim.

    REVERTING BACK TO JB

    The claimant may revert back from JA to JB at any time during the optional period, i.e. until 234 days (was 312 days) are exhausted. There is no limit on the number of times a person may avail of this option during the course of a JB claim.

    Exceptions to the Overlapping Rules

    There are a number of exceptions to the overlapping provisions in relation to JA, including:

    Disablement Benefit/Pension
    JA may be paid to a person, or in respect of a person who is in receipt of disablement benefit/pension at the same time, but -

    1. Where an increase on account of unemployability is paid with the disablement pension, JA is not payable at the same time
    2. Where an increase in respect of a constant attendance allowance is paid with the disablement pension, JA is not payable at the same time.
    3. If there are any increases of Disablement Benefit in respect of a qualified adult or child dependant, JA may not be paid to or in respect of that qualified adult or child dependant at the same time.
    Guardian's Payment

    JA may be paid to, or in respect of, a person in receipt of an Guardian's Payment(Contributory) or(Non-contributory) (including Death Benefit by way of Guardian's Payment), except where the person who is in receipt of the Guardian's Payment (i.e. the guardian) is, at the same time, also in receipt of either -

    • Blind pension
    • Death benefit by way of widows pension, widower's pension or parent's pension
    • Survivor's pension
    • Deserted wife's benefit
    • Widow's (non-contributory) pension or
    • One Parent Family Payment.
    JA and Back To Work Allowance

    Where a person claims JA and states that his/her spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is in receipt of BTWA -

    • the BTW allowance of the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is reduced from 75% of a couple's rate to 75% of the personal rate plus half rate increase for children (if applicable).
    • the claimant will be assessed with means on the basis of their spouse/civil partner/cohabitant's earnings on BTWA.

    Where both of a couple are in receipt of JA/ JB and one claims BTWA -

    • the person on the BTWA will get 75% of the personal rate plus half rate increase for children (if applicable).
    • the other spouse/civil partner/cohabitant on JA is entitled to the personal rate of JA plus half rate increase for children (if applicable)

    Where a son/daughter of a person on BTWA claims JA -

    In these cases, the value of free board and lodgings is assessed as means by reference to the earned parental income, account is not taken of the BTWA payments to the parent.

    EEA/EU Regulations

    There are agreements concerning JB entitlement among the following European countries:
    • Austria
    • Belgium
    • Bulgaria
    • Croatia 
    • Cyprus
    • Czech Republic
    • Denmark
    • Estonia
    • Finland
    • France
    • Germany
    • Greece
    • Hungary
    • Iceland 
    • Ireland
    • Italy
    • Latvia
    • Liechtenstein
    • Lithuania
    • Luxembourg
    • Malta
    • Norway 
    • Poland
    • Portugal
    • Romania
    • Slovakia
    • Slovenia
    • Spain
    • Sweden
    • Switzerland
    • The Netherlands
    • The United Kingdom 

     

    The EU regulations that apply to the countries listed above are 883/2004 & 987/2009.
     
    The areas of the UK that are not members of the EU are not covered by EU regulations i.e. Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.  These are covered by the Ireland UK Bilateral Agreement.

    Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union on 1 January 2007.

    These agreements are contained in EEA/EU regulation 883/2004. For a JB claim to be covered by these regulations the claimant must be a national of one of the above countries or a stateless person (refugee) who is permanently resident in one of the above countries. There are 3 main articles in regulation 883/2004 that refer to JB, article 6, 64 and 65. ( see JB guideline for details)

    Special Category- JA Pending Action Under Article 6

    If there is likely to be an undue delay in the processing JB claim awaiting EU record in another EU country, the person should be advised to claim JA pending a decision on his/her JB claim.

    This JA claim is subject to all the normal conditions for receipt of JA. When the person's JB entitlement is subsequently established, any JA paid should be treated as paid on account of JB.

    If the person's entitlement to JB is lower than the JA entitlement s/he may continue to receive JA in lieu of JB. In such cases, the JA is treated as paid on account of JB, and that JB is recovered from the person's home country.


    PART 2 - CLAIMS, INVESTIGATIONS & DECISION PROCEDURES

    Claims

    A person makes a claim to JA by completing the claim form UP 1 at the nearest or most convenient local office. The form must be signed by the person in verification of the contents or, if unable to sign, his/her mark must be made.

    A person must provide the following information when completing the form UP1 :

    • his/her own personal details and that in respect of spouse/civil partner/cohabitant
    • details of availability/work efforts
    • details of spouse/civil partner/cohabitants income in order to determine if a Qualified Adult Dependent Increase would be payable
    • child dependent details

    Repeat Claims

    A person who is employed for 4 or more consecutive days and becomes unemployed, s/he may make a repeat claim for JA when that employment ends.

    Where a person re-applies for JA within 52 weeks of a previous JA claim, s/he is entitled to receive the same rate of JA that was previously in payment subject to any change of circumstances and budgetary increases

    These are termed as repeat claims.

    Surrender of P.45

    The person should hand in his/her P.45 on the date of claim or, if not able to do so, to bring it in on the next day of attendance.

    Proof of Identity

    A person claiming JA must prove his/her identity by showing the following documentation:

    Public Services Card (PSC) if issued. The issuing of PSC is being rolled out nationally.

    OR

    Photographic identification - Current Valid Passport. Alternatively, Current Valid National Identity Card is acceptable for EEA Nationals

    OR

    Current Valid Driver's Licence or Current Learners Permit and

    The following items are not accepted as proof of identity:

    • Short Version of Birth Certificate
    • Baptismal Certificate
    • Bills or Personal Letters
    • Photo Copies of Certificates or Documents
    • Savings Accounts recently opened

    Persons are advised that no claim can be decided until identity has been proven.

    The following items are not accepted as proof of identity:

    • Short Version of Birth Certificate
    • Baptismal Certificate
    • Bills or Personal Letters
    • Photo Copies of Certificates or Documents
    • Savings Accounts recently opened

    Persons are advised that no claim can be decided until identity has been proven.

    Public Services Card (PSC) - Legislative Requirements for identity authentication

    A customer who fails or refuses to engage with the authentication of his or her identity e.g attend appointments, supply the relevant documents etc. may be disqualified from receipt of payment (Section 241 (1) (for new and repeat claims) and Section 247C(2) (for existing claims) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005, as amended)

    Proof of address

    Where a person makes a claim the address given by the claimant is checked with that held on the Department's Central Records system. If the address supplied by the customer is the same as the address already recorded on the Department's Central Records system, then the address may be accepted without further verification.

    It is necessary to seek verification of a customer's address in the following circumstances:

    • if the address provided by the customer differs from the address recorded on the Department's Central Records system
    • if the customer advises us of a change of address
    • if ther are grounds for believing that a customer is no longer living at the stated address
    • if a customer has used a bogus address in the past

    In any case where it is necessary to seek evidence of a customer's address, acceptable documents include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Recent bills from utility companies e.g. Electricity, Telephone (Landline or Mobile), Gas, Cable Television, Waste Charges etc.
    • Recent statements/correspondence from Banks, Building Societies, Credit Unions, Credit Card Companies or other financial institutions
    • Recent letters addressed to the customer from Insurance Companies, Local Authorities, Government Departments or the Revenue Commissioners
    • Local Authority Rent book, Mortgage or leasing agreement
    • Any other form of evidence considered by the Deciding Officer to be appropriate in the particular circumstances.

    In all cases, original document must be supplied. Photocopies are not acceptable.

    Note: a recent document is on issued within the preceding 2 months.

    If customer cannot supply any of the above documents, it will be sufficent for him/her to provide utility bills in the name of the parent, spouse/civil partner/cohabitant.

    Other Sources of Verification

    Thom's Directory
    The electoral register
    The telephone directory

    Where there is doubt about the claimant's address, the claim is not awarded for payment until the address is verified.

    Change of address

    When a claimant notifies the Local Social Welfare Office of a change of address, s/he must provide proof of the new address.

    Local Office policy will determine whether a means review is to be carried out due to change in circumstances.

    Documentation

    The onus is on the claimant to prove entitlement to JA and to produce any evidence reasonably required. Where JA is already in payment, the person is obliged to produce any supplementary information required (e.g. to prove continuing entitlement) and to notify any change of circumstances (e.g. spouse/civil partner/cohabitant becoming employed).

    Investigation of Claims

    Where the person's last employment has terminated within 9 weeks of the date of claim, a form UP20 should issue to the employer to confirm the dates of employment and to establish the reason why the employment terminated. Follow-up action may be needed in some cases e.g. contacting an employer who has not completed the form UP20, or querying information furnished.

    Where a person reports having difficulty obtaining the P45 from the last employer, that employer should be contacted directly to confirm the date of cessation, and that the P45 has not yet been issued.

    The means condition is investigated by reference to the documentation supplied by the person, and where considered necessary further enquiries are made by a Social Welfare Inspector (SWI). The report by the SWI is sent to the Deciding Officer who determines the level of the person's means based on all of the the evidence available.

    Cases where Means are Decided by the Deciding Officer

    Where a completed application form UP1, it is checked to establish if the claimant's source of means are derived from one of the following categories :

    • Parents Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant on Social Welfare payment
    • Parents Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant in employment

    * excluding self-employment.

    Parents Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant on SW Payment

    Where the parents spouse/civil partner/cohabitant of a claimant are in receipt of a Social Welfare payment and there are no other means, a decision maybe made by a Deciding Officer without referring the application to a SWI (Social Welfare Inspector) for investigation.

    Parents Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant in Employment

    Where the parents spouse/civil partner of a claimant are in employment, the means may be decided without referral to the SWI. This applies at the fresh and repeat claim stage or in the event of an adult dependant claiming a Social Welfare payment or taking up employment with a resulting review of the claimant's means

    Confirmation of earnings are requested from the claimant i.e. parents' or spouse/civil partner/cohabitant's payslip(s) plus other documentation such as bank or Post Office deposit book(s) personal to the claimant. A means decision is applied by the Deciding Officer on the basis of the information supplied by the claimant.

    See MEANS ASSESSMENT Guidelines re self/employment

    Payment of SWA Pending Determination of Entitlement

    A person whose means are insufficient to meet his/her needs, or the needs of dependants, is entitled to payment under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) scheme. Substitute or interim payments are not paid automatically. Such payments are only awarded where a person has no means to meet their immediate needs pending payment from another source, for example, where they are awaiting determination of an application for a Social Welfare or Health Board payment. Any interim payment, which is awarded pending the determination or payment of a Social Welfare or Health Board payment, is fully recoverable from the arrears once the other payment is awarded.

    Decisions

    Decisions regarding a person's entitlement to JA are, in all cases, made by a Deciding Officer. Details of the means assessed and of the rate awarded are advised to the claimant.

    With regard to an application for Jobseeker's Allowance, the principles of Natural Justice require that a person must be informed of any statement or allegation affecting the claim of which s/he was not aware and upon which a suspension of payment or unfavourable decision may be based. This provides the person with an opportunity to refute or comment before the case is referred for formal decision. A person is entitled to know the source of any evidence adverse to his/her case. The Natural Justice provisions pertain to fresh and repeat claims as well as to claim reviews.

    Each decision by a Deciding Officer is made on the particular merits of the case, having regard to its individual circumstances. A Deciding Officer exercises discretion and applies flexibility where provided for and appropriate.

    A Deciding Officer may, at any time revise any decision of a Deciding Officer or an Appeals Officer if it appears to him/her that there has been any relevant change of circumstances or of new facts which has been brought to notice since the original decision was made.

    Disallowances

    Where a claim is disallowed or payment is disqualified, the person is notified in writing of the decision on a form which gives the reason for disallowance/disqualification.

    Appeals

    If a person is dissatisfied with any decision made by a Deciding Officer with regard to their entitlement to JA, s/he may appeal that decision to an Appeals Officer.

    Concurrent Working and Signing Cases

    Complaints of concurrent working and signing by Jobseeker's Allowance applicants are dealt with in two ways. Those relating clearly to self-employment are referred via the Social Welfare Local Offices to Social Welfare Officers for a review of means. All others relating to concurrent working under a contract of service are referred to SIU (Special Investigation Unit) Section.

    All complaints whether received at Local Office level or directly by SIU are checked to confirm the subject of complaint is or was during the relevant period.

    Following the investigation by a Social Welfare Inspector, a report detailing the investigation is returned to the Social Welfare Local Office specifying the days on which the person allegedly worked and in respect of which he/she should be disallowed. The report will also contain the employer's response and record of days worked. The person has the right to appeal his/her case to an Appeals Officer, following receipt of notification of a disallowance on Jobseeker's Allowance.

    Recommendations as to whether a person should be prosecuted are made by a Social Welfare Inspector or Area Manager. Where a Deciding Officer imposes a disallowance in a fraud case which contains a recommendation for prosecution, s/he refers the file to Central Prosecutions Sections.

    Overlaps of Weeks of Insurable Employment and Credits

    There are cases where the P60 return and the number of credits which are recorded from weeks of unemployment exceed 52. This will indicate that the person was concurrently working and signing. These cases are also referred to a Social Welfare Inspector (SWI) for investigation.

    Natural Justice requires that the person understands the procedure that is taking place, that his/her entitlement is under review, the evidence on which the revised decision is based, given the opportunity to comment on any evidence not personally supplied and have their reply recorded.


    Part 3: PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD

    Methods of Payment

    JA is paid weekly in arrears by way of Postal Draft collected in a post office, by cheque or by electronic fund transfer (EFT) directly into the person's bank account.

    See separate guideline on PAYMENT METHODS

    Decisions on choice of payment method are administrative. Most payments are made by Postdraft. Payment may be made by cheque in special circumstances e.g. if it is a more suitable payment method for the person and the facility is available.

    Casual workers are paid by cheque.

    Maintenance

    Stop dates are inserted in the computer system for appropriate dates e.g. person reaches pension age, or a dependent child reaches 18 or 22 years of age.

    If a cheque payment is lost or is not received by the person, s/h is required to complete a statement to the effect that s/he has not received/lost their payment. A replacement payment will follow on foot of this. An agreement is also signed by the person in these cases that, should an overpayment of JA occur as a result of two payment instruments being cashed by him/her in respect of the same period, the overpayment will be recovered at the earliest possible opportunity.

    Signing Arrangements

    It is for the Local Office to decide how often the person must sign this declaration, where and at what times. A person may be disallowed for failure to sign on.

    Persons who receive payment by way of Postdraft/EFT are reminded of their signing day the week before they are due to sign.

    Where a person fails to sign on his/her signing day and has still failed to sign by the end of the following day, payment is suspended on the computer system and the next payment does not issue.

    If the person contacts the Local Social Welfare Office and payment for the week in question has been generated, s/he is questioned as to why s/he didn't attend on the appointed day.

    Where a Deciding Officer is satisfied that the person still satisfies the statutory conditions for Jobseeker's Allowance, the payment suspension is removed and payment will issue. If there is any change in the payment amount, the unemployment pattern is amended before the payment issues.

    Regular failure to attend on the appointed signing day may result in loss of payment.

    Certification

    Evidence of efforts to find work must be submitted by the person to the Deciding Officer when requested as when when requested. Such evidence would include responses to job applications, results of interviews, and list of employers that have been contacted regarding employment.

    People who are working part of the week and claiming JA for the days that they are unemployed are required to submit weekly dockets certified by their employers stating the days that they were employed in a specified 7 day period.

    Review

    A persons entitlement to JA is reviewed on a continuing basis to determine that s/he continues to satisfy the conditions of entitlement. (See paragraphs above in relation to the Availability and GSW conditions).

    A review may be carried out where doubt arises about fulfilment of any of the conditions: e.g. failure on the part of a person to produce sufficient evidence of genuinely seeking work, failure to prove unemployment in the prescribed manner, refusal or failure to attend activation meetings, refusal or failure to participate in prescribed schemes, programmes or courses.

    The means of the person may be reviewed from time to time at the discretion of management, having regard to current work priorities and resources. The person may him/herself request a review of his or her means at any time.

    Suspension

    Where it appears that a question has arisen or may arise as to whether the conditions for receipt of JA are or were fulfilled, or whether a decision should be revised, payment of JA may be suspended in whole or in part until the question has been decided. This question could arise, for instance, pending investigation of a refusal by a person of an offer of suitable employment.

    Credits

    A credit is awarded for every 6 days of declared unemployment in a contribution year, whether these day are consecutive or not. However, days of unemployment in a contribution week in which a PRSI contribution is paid cannot be used for this purpose.

    Week on/week off

    Persons who work week on/week off may receive a credit for each week of proved unemployment regardless of the contribution week. Where a person was on week on/week off during the GCY, the DO.. should ensure that the correct number of credits have been awarded.

    (See also separate guideline on CREDITS AWARD)

    Not everyone who is entitled to JA will qualify for credits. Each case is examined by a Deciding Officer to determine whether the contribution conditions are fulfilled.


    Part 4: OTHER CHAPTERS RELEVANT TO JA SCHEME

    Appendices:

    Schedule of forms used for JA decisions

    Current List

    Please consult the 'FORMS' drawer on the all-in-one for current JA forms used in Local Offices. Only the current versions listed are to be used, all other versions are obsolete and therefore should not be used.

    This list covers only the main forms in current use - it does not claim to be a definitive or exhaustive list.

    JA Checklist

    AGE

    • Over 18 years?
    • Under 66 years?
    • ID verified?

    Unemployed?

    • Shift Work
    • Holiday Pay
    • Subsidiary Occupation/Employment

    Statutory conditions met for receipt of JA?

    • Habitually resident?
    • Means test satisfied
    • Available
    • capable
    • GSW
    • Proved unemployment in prescribed manner
    • 4 in 7 rule satisfied

    Disqualification?

    • Voluntarily left employment
    • Misconduct
    • Absent from State
    • Trade dispute
    • C.E., R.S.S.
    • Refusal of employment

    Rate payable

    • IQA (income of Qualified Adult)?
    • IQC (qualified child, normal residence)?
    • Full / half rate IQC?
    • Claim linked?
    • Waiting days?
    • Reduced by disqualification period?
Last modified:13/10/2014
 

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