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See separate Guidelines for

Back To Work Enterprise Allowance (Self-Employed)





1.1 Description of Scheme

1.2 Application form

1.3 Legislation

1.4 Administration



2.1 Eligibility and Qualifying Conditions

2.2 Qualified Adult - Spousal Swap

2.3 Disqualification

2.4 Repeat Participation

2.5 Nature of Self-Employment

2.6 Rates Structure

2.7 Extra benefits



3.1 Applications

3.2 Investigation of self employment applications

3.3 Claims

3.4 Determinations

3.5 Request of Appeal/Review

3.6 Payment

3.7 Maintenance/Review

3.8 Continuing Payment after a Death in the Family

3.9 Credits


Appendix 1 - Technical Assistance & Training Fund (TAT)



1.1 Description of Scheme

The Short Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA), for which provision was made in the Supplementary Budget of 7 th April 2009, was introduced from 1 st May 2009. In response to the growing numbers on the Live Register, it was decided to re-focus resources devoted to the Back to Work programme towards helping people into self-employment in order to support enterprise and create employment opportunities. This scheme was designed to provide immediate support for someone who loses their job and qualifies for Jobseeker's Benefit (JB) but wants to start a business, provided it is approved by a Partnership company or a Departmental Facilitator. A person working part-time and claiming JB is not eligible for the scheme. Widow's Contributory pension or One Parent Family payment are not qualifying payments for STEA and neither is half rate JB. To be eligible for the scheme a person must be in receipt of Jobseekers Benefit as their primary payment.

It provides an incentive to recipients of Jobseeker's Benefit to avail of self-employment opportunities by allowing them to retain their appropriate Jobseeker Benefit rate. The maximum duration of the allowance is the same as if the person remained on Jobseeker's Benefit until entitlement expires; i.e. 234 days or 156 days, depending on the number of contributions paid.

1.2 Application form:

The application form for STEA is the STEA1 form.

1.3 Legislation:

The Short Term Enterprise Allowance Scheme is a non statutory scheme approved by Government as part of the package of measures announced in the budget of 7 th April 2009.

STEA replaces the payment at the rate and for the duration to which the participant would be entitled on qualifying for Jobseeker's Benefit. The legislation governing JB is contained in Chapter 12 of Part II of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005, and Chapter 5 of Part 2 of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, 2007 (S.I. No. 142 of 2007) as amended. The Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2009, section 5 (b) specifies �where a person receives a payment in respect of a scheme administered by the Minister and known as the Short Term Enterprise Allowance Scheme in respect of any week of unemployment, which includes any day in respect of which that person is entitled to jobseeker's benefit, any day of unemployment in that week shall be treated as though it were a day in respect of which jobseeker's benefit was paid.�.

See separate guidelines on Jobseeker's Benefit for details of the qualifying conditions of that scheme.

1.4 Administration:

The scheme, delivered through the Department's local offices, is administered by:

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

Telephone Number: LoCall Number 1890 92 79 99 or (071) 9672698

Fax: (071) 9672553



2.1 Eligibility and Qualifying conditions

To be eligible, applicants must satisfy the following conditions:

  • be getting or have an entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit and
  • be in a position to start up a viable business as a self-employed person.
Qualifying Conditions:

Eligible applicants must satisfy the following conditions;

  • Have made application for STEA before engaging in self-employment
  • Be in receipt of Jobseekers Benefit
  • Obtain written approval from their local Partnership Company or the Department's local Facilitator, in advance of engaging in self-employment that is full-time in nature.

2.2 Qualified Adult - Spousal Swap

A qualified adult on a JB claim does not fulfil the eligibility criteria of this scheme.

2.3 Disqualification:

  • Persons who leave the country are no longer entitled to the allowance. (JB holiday condition applies)
  • Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas are not eligible to participate in the scheme.

2.4 Repeat Participation

There are no provision under the STEA scheme to allow a person who leaves the scheme before they have exhausted entitlement to resume at a later date. Persons will generally be allowed to participate in the STEA for a second time after a period of five years have elapsed, on re-qualifying for Jobseeker's Benefit with 104 contributions paid, subject to the same conditions as apply to first time applicants. A person who has previously received BTWEA may apply for STEA irrespective of the period that has elapsed. A person who has received STEA will not be eligible to apply for BTWEA until a period of five years has elapsed.

2.5 Nature of Self-Employment:

Seasonal, temporary or part‑time self-employment is not acceptable for the Short Term Enterprise allowance. A person is not allowed enter into paid employment as an employee either in a full-time or part-time capacity while on STEA. Short Term Enterprise Allowance recipients can avail of Employment Grants from a County Enterprise Board (CEB) or from LEADER companies without affecting their entitlement to STEA. A person

2.6 Rates Structure:

The STEA replaces the participant's Jobseeker's Benefit. On transfer to STEA, a qualifying person is paid at the appropriate JB rate until entitlement to JB expires. These are set rates that do not vary, except where a qualified adult makes a claim for Social Welfare in his/her own right (see JB Guidelines).

Budget 2013 provided for a reduction in maximum JB duration to 9 months (from 1 year) and to 6 months (from 9 months) respectively from 4th April 2013. There were no changes to the contribution conditions.  This provision will also apply to all short term enterprise allowance (STEA) applications awarded from 4th April 2013. However, due to a �saver� clause all STEA cases awarded prior to 4th April 2013 will continue to receive STEA to 312 days (1 year) or 234 days (9 months) depending on the number of contributions that qualified them for JB.

Tax status: The Short Term Work Enterprise Allowance is subject to income tax in the same way as Jobseeker's Benefit.

2.7 Extra Benefits:

Participants in the STEA scheme retain any secondary benefits that they received with JB such a Medical Card, Back to School Clothing & Footwear allowance, Diet Supplement, Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme.

Any increase in income may affect a participant's Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement. Applicants for STEA should contact their local Department of Social Protection Office administering Supplementary Welfare Allowance to see how their Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement may be affected.

Note: Half Rate Carers Allowance cannot be claimed with STEA.

Short Term Enterprise Allowance recipients may also be eligible for

  • Technical Assistance & Training Grants (See Appendix 1)




3.1 Applications

Application forms ( STEA1) are available from

  • 'www.welfare.ie' ,
  • LoCall Information line 1890 66 22 44
  • from the local Social Welfare Office network.

On completion, the application form STEA1 should be sent to your local Social Welfare Office.

In order to discuss options under the STEA scheme, a person should make an appointment with the Enterprise Officer in the local Partnership Company (if the person lives in a Partnership area) or the Local Social Welfare Office (if a person does not live in a Partnership area) for referral to the Facilitator. A STEA1 form should be completed if a person decides to apply for the scheme. The proposed date of commencement must be specified on the application form.

3.2 Investigation of self‑employment applications:

Applicants for STEA must have their self-employment project approved before taking up self-employment. In Partnership areas this will be done by the local Partnership Company. In non-Partnership areas this will be done by a local Facilitator of this Department.

Approval normally involves an interview to assess the viability of the proposed project and to advise the applicant on funding, the availability of �Start Your Own Business" courses, etc.

3.3 Claims

Following approval of the project, claims and payments are dealt with in the Department's local Social Welfare Offices.

Initial Applications should be submitted 14 days before the self-employment is due to commence and late claims will not normally be accepted/allowed. Lack of knowledge of the existence of the scheme is not, in itself, a sufficient reason to accept a late claim.

3.4 Determinations

STEA is a non-statutory scheme and, as such, statutory decisions are not made on claims.

Claims are determined by designated officers in the Department's local office.

Determination Process and Procedures

  • Claim is checked to ensure that all necessary details have been provided. Note: Applications must be accompanied by:
    • (a) Copy of Business Plan and 1 year Financial Projection
    • (b) Documentary proof of registration with the Revenue Commissioners. Incomplete forms must be returned to the applicant for completion.
  • Claim is checked for qualifying conditions.
  • SW details are checked on the ISTS claim recording and payment system.
  • A Determination/Decision Sheet is completed and the applicant is notified.

STEA is not payable in respect of any period for which a Social Welfare claim is in payment as specified in Section 247 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005. STEA is not payable to a person to whom an allowance is in payment in respect of a course of education, training, development or employment. Periods spent on STEA are acceptable as periods of unemployment for the purposes of qualifying for the Back to Education Allowance or for CE Schemes .

Where a person in receipt of STEA at the single rate becomes entitled to a Widow's Contributory pension, the STEA payment continues at the single rate. No increase for a qualified child can be included.

3.5 Request of Appeal/Review

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

On receipt of new facts or additional information, an Officer of the Department in the Social Welfare Local Office may make a revised determination. Where a person is not satisfied with the decision s/he may request a review. This will be carried out by an Officer at a higher grade than the official who made the original decision.

3.6 Payment

People participating in the scheme are paid weekly in the same way as for Jobseekers' Benefit.

3.7 Maintenance/Review

The rates of STEA payable to participants will change in line with Budget changes to the rates applicable to Jobseeker's Benefit rate. Participants in STEA are obliged to notify the Department of any change in circumstances, which are outlined in the decision letter that may affect their entitlement. Failure to adhere to this may result in an overpayment or prosecution

Payment of an increase in respect of a qualified adult or of qualified children will be adjusted as appropriate where changes occur in accordance with JB tapered QA rules. Where the qualified adult has a change in circumstances such as taking up employment, claims a social welfare payment in his/her own right or is placed on a FAS Community Employment scheme, the STEA payment will be reduced accordingly.

If the self-employment ceases before STEA is exhausted, claimants are free to claim the unexpired portion of their Jobseeker's Benefit provided the conditions for receipt of payment continue to be fulfilled. In this context, it should be noted that each day on STEA exhausts a day of JB entitlement.

When a participant changes address they should notify their social welfare office and the STEA file should be transferred if the person has moved to another local office area.

If a recipient of STEA claims any Social Welfare type payment, other than Widow's Contributory Pension, the STEA claim should be closed immediately. If a Widow's Contributory Pension is awarded, STEA can continue at the single rate. No increase for a qualified child can be included.

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

3.8 Continuing Payment after a Death in the Family

If a person dies while in receipt of STEA, the payment can continue to be paid to the qualified adult for 6 weeks.

If a qualified adult or qualified child dies, payment of the relevant increase can continue for 6 weeks.

3.9 Credits:

Since the person is in self-employment during the period on Short Term Enterprise Allowance, PRSI is payable at the appropriate (S) rate and credits are not awarded.

Appendix 1


Introduced in 1995, this initiative was designed to help Back to Work (BTW) participants with costs such as:

  • Training on starting your own business;
  • Training on keeping proper accounts and book keeping;
  • Preparing business plans and submissions for funding, financial projections etc;
  • Business Mentoring;
  • Advertising and Marketing Aids;
  • Safe Pass;
  • Literacy & Computer training;
  • Driving lessons - car and HGV � To a maximum of �350 (Such lessons should normally be related to preparing for driving test).
  • Manual handling
  • Machinery tickets
  • Skills training - short term training courses that may lead to employment Interview Techniques & CV preparation (for employees);
  • Small items of business equipment e.g. fax machines, computers, other equipment necessary to run a business.
  • Public Liability Insurance costs associated with starting up a business

NOTE: Public Liability Insurance is the only type of insurance covered under the TAT scheme. All other types, including vehicle insurance, should not be covered.

Last modified:09/04/2013

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