Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
UNEMPLOYMENT / FEB. 16, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Apply For Unemployment Benefits in Ireland

The Irish just like many people around the world have felt the sting of the global economic crisis. While this is a sad state of affairs, it is important to remember that Ireland has an extremely good benefits system in place. When you find yourself unemployed, it is important that you take advantage of as many benefits as possible in order to help your family survive. Knowing what benefits are available and how to apply for them is key to this. I hope that this guide will make, what can be a confusing system, a bit clearer.

What Benefits Are Available?

  • Jobseekers Benefit
  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • Rent Supplement
  • Back to Work Enterprise Allowance
  • Back to Education Allowance

Jobseekers Benefit

Jobseekers Benefit is a weekly allowance paid to replace your working wage. It is paid if you were previously working and paying PRSI contributions. It is therefore based on the amount of stamps that you have accumulated. It does not last indefinitely and depends on the amount of contributions you have made. 260 or more contributions entitles you to job seekers benefit for 9 months and less than 260 entitles you to 6 months. If you do not actively seek work, then you will have your benefit cut.

To be Eligible:

  • Be unemployed (you must be fully unemployed or unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7)
  • Be under 66 years of age
  • Have enough social insurance (PRSI) contributions
  • Be capable of work
  • Be available for and genuinely seeking work
  • Have had a substantial loss of employment and as a result be unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7

Weekly Jobseekers Benefit Payments

Average weekly earnings

Personal rate

Increase for a qualified adult

Increase for a qualified child

Less than €150

€84.50

€80.90

€29.80

€150 - €219.99

€121.40

€220 - €299.99

€147.30

€300 +

€188

€124.80

Jobseekers Allowance

Jobseekers allowance is very similar to jobseekers benefit, except that it is not based on your PRSI contributions. You are entitled to this whether you have worked or not. Also once someone has used up all their contributions, they are transferred to this.

To be Eligible:

  • Be unemployed (you must be fully unemployed or unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7)
  • Be over 18 and under 66 years of age
  • Be capable of work
  • Be available for and genuinely seeking work
  • Satisfy the means test
  • Meet the Habitual Residence Condition

Maximum rate for people aged 26 or over

New and existing claimants

Personal rate

Increase for qualified adult

Increase for a child

Maximum rate

€188

€124.80

€29.80

Maximum rate for people under 26 without children

Age

Personal rate

Increase for qualified adult

18 – 24

€100

€100

25

€144

€124.80

Rent Supplement

Rent supplement is primarily designed for people whose income is a social insurance payment and are unable to pay for their accommodation without additional help.

Eligibility:

  • It must be within the budget limits set out by each individual county and suitable for your needs.

You may also be eligible if you have lived for 6 or 12 months in:

  • Accommodation for homeless people.
  • Private rented accommodation. You can combine time living in more than one rented accommodation to satisfy the 6 months (183 days). You must be able to show that you could afford the rent at the beginning of your tenancy and that you could have continued to pay rent but are unable to do so because of a change in your circumstances, which occurred after you started renting.
  • An institution, for example, a hospital, care home or place of detention.

Or

  • Have been assessed by a local authority as being eligible for and in need of social housing in the last 12 months. If you do not have a housing need assessment, you must go to the local authority to have your housing need assessed. The local authority must be in the area that you intend to live and claim Rent Supplement. Only when you are assessed as eligible for and in need of housing can you apply for Rent Supplement. Rent Supplement is not payable while the local authority is carrying out a housing needs assessment.

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance

The back to work enterprise allowance allows people who set up their own business to keep a certain amount of their unemployment benefits for up to 2 years. This can be a great help and incentive for many people who fear failure when becoming an entrepreneur.

 Eligibility:

The basic requirement is that; you are setting up as self-employed in a business that has been approved in advance in writing by a Jobs Facilitator or Local Development Company. You must also be getting one of the qualifying payments listed below for at least 12 months:

  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Jobseeker's Benefit (with an underlying entitlement to Jobseeker's Allowance)*
  • One-Parent Family 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
  • Illness Benefit for 3 or more years

 Back to Education Allowance

The back to education allowance is a scheme to allow certain people to receive social welfare payments, while attending both second and third level courses. This is important for re-skilling while unemployed, as most benefits are cut while attending full time education.

Eligibility:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Starting a qualifying course
  •  Be in receipt of one of the following social welfare payments for at least three months:
  • Jobseeker's Allowance or Jobseeker's Benefit
  • Farm Assist
  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Deserted Wife's Benefit or Allowance
  • Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory) Pension
  • Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Contributory) Pension
  • Prisoners Wife's Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Blind Pension
  • Disability Allowance
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Incapacity Supplement (based on a life Disablement Pension)
  • Illness Benefit (2 years) for both second and third level courses.

As you can see, there are a large number of benefits available in Ireland to the unemployed. Taking advantage of these can be tricky and applying for them is only one problem. You also have to deal with the civil service. However, hopefully this article has made it a little bit clearer what benefits are available and what ones you are eligible for.

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