In the light of the current economic climate and the increasing queries around jobseeker’s payments, I’m posting the following as a layman’s guide to what to do when becoming unemployed; please don't post individual queries in this thread as they won't be seen or replied to.
What do I do when I become unemployed?
- Download the relevant form, print it off and complete it.
- Attend your local Social Welfare office. Some office have appointment times for new claims now so you could ring to check before calling in. Details of addresses are on www.welfare.ie
- Bring two forms of identification with you, one being photo ID (passport, driver’s licence), the other being proof of address (ESB bill, phone bill, etc.).
- Other relevant documents such as p45, redundancy notice should be brought in as well but if you haven't got these, go in anyway. You can supply them later when you get them.
- When your claim is registered, they may be a waiting period due to backlogs of claims. If you have no other income (i.e. no spouse/partner working), you can go to the Community Welfare Officer at your local Health Centre to apply for a Supplementary Welfare Allowance payment, which is means tested.
- If you are paying a mortgage or rent, you may be entitled to Mortgage Interest Supplement or Rent Supplement. Again, this is paid through the Community Welfare Officer at your local health centre.
If you have been made redundant, see here
for more information.
How do I qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit (‘stamps’) payment?
First of all, you must have 2 years PRSI paid: 104 weeks contributions. Then, you must have at least 39 weeks paid and/or credited in the governing year; in 2011 this is 2009. For every week that you work you get a 'paid' contribution. If you don't have 13 paid
contributions in the relevant tax year, you must have the 13 contributions paid in any of one the following years:
- The 2 tax years before the relevant tax year (2007 and 2008)
- The last complete tax year (2010) or
- The current tax year. (2011)
For every week you claim a Social Welfare payment you get a 'credited contribution'. You must also be looking for full-time employment, as well as being capable of and available to work to claim Jobseeker's.
Another way of qualifying is if you have 26 weeks PRSI paid
in the relevant tax year (this year 2009) and 26 weeks PRSI paid
in the tax year immediately before the relevant tax year (2008).
How long does payment of benefit last?
If you have at least 5 years paid contributions (260), you will get benefit payments for 12 months (312). If you have less than the 5 years paid, you will get benefit for 9 months (240 days).
How do I re-qualifying for Jobseeker's Benefit
If you have used up your entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit (JB), you may re-qualify by working and paying the appropriate PRSI contributions for at least 13 weeks. If you are working and getting JB, as in the case of systematic short-time workers and some part-time workers, the 13 weeks paid contributions can begin once you have claimed JB for 156 days.
You must have suffered a substantial loss of employment to re-qualify for JB, unless you are a casual worker. If you have lost your job you will have suffered a substantial loss of employment. If you are a part-time or systematic short-time worker DSP will look at your pattern of employment over the last 13 weeks or another representative period to find out whether you have suffered a substantial loss of employment.
For example, if you are getting JB and working 3 days each week as a systematic short-time worker or a part-time worker and your employment pattern has not changed during the course of your JB claim, you will not have suffered a substantial loss of employment and will not re-qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit.
However, if your JB claim ends and your 3 day week working week is then reduced to a 2 day week, you will have suffered a substantial loss of employment and may re-qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit. There is more information here:
Will the amount of my redundancy payment affect my rate of benefit?
If you are 55 years or over there is no disqualification from receiving JB irrespective of the amount of the redundancy payment. If youa re under 55, you are disqualified from receiving JB for a period of up to 9 weeks from the last date of employment and have received a payment in excess €50,000. You will be disqualifed from receiving benefit for the following periods, depending on the amount over 50k you receive in redundancy payment;
- €50,000.00 - €55,000 1 Week
- €55,000.01 - €60,000 2 Weeks
- €60,000.01 - €65,000 3 Weeks
- €65,000.01 - €70,000 4 Weeks
- €70,000.01 - €75,000 5 Weeks
- €75,000.01 - €80,000 6 Weeks
- €80,000.01 - €85,000 7 Weeks
- €85,000.01 - €90,000 8 Weeks
- €90,000.01 and over 9 Weeks
Remember, if you take voluntary redundancy, you may be disqualified for leaving your job voluntarily even if the amount you get is below the figures above. For more details about redundancy and its effect on JB, see this link
What happens if I don’t have enough PRSI (‘stamps’) paid to qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit?
You can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance
('dole'), which is means tested. Details of how means are assessed are here
, but basically, any other income is assessed as well as value of second property, savings, shares, etc.. There is no limit to how long you can claim Jobseeker’s Allowance. Evenm if you don't qualify for a payment, you should continue to sign to get 'credits' so that your future Sw entitlements are preserved, including SW pensions. This is very important.
I am self-employed but my income and work has drastically reduced in the past six months. Can I claim Jobseeker’s Allowance?
If you were previously self-employed, you can claim Jobseeker’s Allowance even if you are still partly self-employed. Your reduced income will be assessed as means.
Generally, the means assessment
of a self-employed person will look at his/her earnings in the preceding 12 months and these would normally be used to project estimated earnings in the coming 12 months. However, in the current economic climate past earnings may bear little or no relationship to future earnings. The Inspector will take all circumstances into consideration when conducting the means test.
What other benefits or allowances could I claim?
You may be entitled to a tax refund
. If your spouse/partner is in employment over 19 hours a week, and you have children, you may qualify for Family Income Supplement
(FIS). If you are having difficulty keeping up with bills, loans payments, you should contact MABS
for advice. See here
for a full list of supports for jobseekers.
How much can I get paid on Jobseeker's?
The amount you will get depends on how much your earnings were in the governing year and what age you are. From 31st December 2009 the rates for persons over 24 for both benefit and allowance claims are a weekly personal rate of €196.00 (and increases for a Qualified Adult €130.10 and Qualified Children €29.80 if payable). The rate of Jobseeker's Allowance is €150 per week for those aged 22-24. The maximum personal rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance for all new claims for persons under 22 years is €100.00. Note that the age-restricted amounts relate to the means-tested jobseeker's ALLOWANCE, not the PRSI-based Jobseeker's BENEFIT.
If, married or living with a partner, you get a personal rate and may get an increase for an qualified adult dependant
and qualified child dependant
. Your average weekly earnings do not affect the amount you get for a child dependent but will affect the qualified adult rate.
How often will I have to sign?
Initially, you may be asked to sign weekly. After first payment is made, you will generally be asked to sign on once every four weeks if you live within 10k of your local office or once every three months if you live more than 10k from the office.
Is the procedure that same if I am only reducing my hours worked?
Yes. The same form applies to all types of Jobseeker's claims (Either download UP1 or UP6 (if you have claimed in past 2 years)). You should also bring a letter from your employer about what days/ hours you will be working in the future. The amount payable for any day of unemployment (Monday to Saturday) is one-sixth of the weekly rate, except for systematic short-time workers (i.e. those reduced to working the same set days
each week), when it is one-fifth of the weekly rate. In 'short-time working' cases the total number of days worked and on Jobseeker's Benefit cannot be more than 5 in any working week.
Any three days of unemployment (excluding Sundays) in a period of six consecutive days (called the '3 in 6' rule) form a period of interruption of employment (PIE). Any two PIEs not separated by more than 26 weeks are treated as one PIE, and 'linked' to older claim's qualifying conditions. In other words, the 'old' claim's qualifying conditions apply to the 'new' claim if its within 26 weeks.
Who pays for Bank Holidays when I am working reduced hours?
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 Allowance in respect of paid
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.
Will I be entitled to any other benefits now that I am unemployed?
A Fuel Allowance
of €20.00 per week is payable for 32 weeks (from September to May) to those receiving Jobseeker's Allowance for 15 months or more, but you ust be living alone or only with a qualified dependant or other eligible adults. A Smokeless Fuel Allowance
(€3.90 per week) is payable to those on Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance who satisfy the following conditions:
- Have exhausted at least 78 days JB
- Be resident in one of the specified urban areas
- Not have other income over €100 per week or household savings of €58,000 or more.
- Be unable to provide for their heating needs
- Live alone or only with a qualified dependant or other eligible recipients.
Payment of these allowances is limited to one per household.
If your hours (and income) have been reduced, you should check whether you now come under the earnings threshold for FIS.
I need more information for my particular situation. Where can I get it?
is a link to more specific answers on the www.welfare.ie
site. Another site is www.citizensinformation.ie
.You can also Email
the department for more information.
THIS POST IS INTENDED AS A GUIDE ONLY
. No responsibility is accepted by the author or AAM for any errors, omissions or misleading statements or any site to which this post connects.