Who can qualify for BTWEA?

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To qualify, you must be:

  • setting up a business that a Partnership Company or a Case Officer has approved in writing in advance,
  1. and
  • getting one of the qualifying payments listed below for at least 9 months
The qualifying payments are
  • Jobseeker's Benefit
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment
  • Blind Pension
  • Disability Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance (having stopped caring duties)
  • Farm Assist
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Incapacity Supplement
  • Pre-Retirement Allowance
  • Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Contributory) Pension
  • Deserted Wife's Benefit or Allowance
  • Prisoner's Wife's Allowance
A person must be getting Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance (with an underlining entitlement of Jobseeker's Allowance)* for at least 9 months (234 days). If there is no Jobseeker’s Allowance entitlement, the qualifying period is two out of the last 3 years on a qualifying payment,


  • Qualifying from Illness Benefit (3 out of the last 5 years in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment),


  • Combination of OFP/JST/JA for 9 months (234 days).
  • We count time spent studying or training on fulltime SOLAS (formerly FÁS) and Fáilte Ireland training courses, Community Employment, Social Economy Programme, Job Initiative, Rural Social Scheme, Fastrack to Information Technology (FIT), Back to Education Scheme or Vocational Training Opportunity Scheme (VTOS), as long as you got one of the above payments before you started this study or training. The applicant must re-establish an entitlement to a qualifying payment as the BTWEA rate paid is based on this figure.
  • We also count time spent on the Community Services Programme if you received one of the listed social welfare payments for at least half the qualifying period.
  • Periods spent receiving Supplementary Welfare Allowance and direct provision count towards the qualifying period as long as you establish an entitlement to a relevant social welfare payment before starting the scheme.
In addition, you may qualify in the following two cases:
  • You are a qualified adult of an eligible claimant and the claimant transfers their entitlements to you. You then become self-employed and the original claimant becomes the qualified adult on your Back to Work Enterprise Allowance claim. If the original claimant is entitled to credits they may continue to claim credits. BTWEA cannot be paid at the same time as another social welfare payment. If the original claimant, now the qualified adult, decides to claim another social welfare payment, you must stop claiming BTWEA.
  1. or
  • You have been released from prison recently. Time spent in prison can be taken or count towards the qualifying period for the BTWEA scheme provided an entitlement to a relevant social welfare payment is established prior to commencement of employment.
Last modified:11/04/2017

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