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Jobseeker's Allowance and Jobseeker's Benefit

The facts on Jobseeker's Allowance and Jobseeker's Benefit

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in employment

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In Ireland, unemployed people are entitled to receive money from the government to help them support themselves while they look for work.

There are two main types of unemployment payments: Jobseeker’s Benefit and Jobseeker’s Allowance. When someone is receiving one of these two payments it is sometimes referred to as being on the dole.

What is the difference between Jobseeker's Allowance and Jobseeker's Benefit?

While both payments are for unemployed people who are looking for work, there is a difference between the two.

Jobseeker's Benefit

To get Jobseeker’s Benefit you must have worked and paid PRSI contributions. PRSI is a form of tax you pay every month when you are working. If you have not paid enough PRSI, you will not be eligible for Jobseeker’s Benefit and instead will have to apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Jobseeker's Allowance

If you have not paid enough PRSI, you can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance. With Jobseeker’s Allowance, you will be means tested to see what your income is. If it falls below a certain cut-off point you will be entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Who is entitled to a Jobseeker's payment?

If you lose your job, cannot get a job, are made redundant or your working hours are reduced, you may be entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance or Jobseeker's Benefit.

If you voluntarily leave a workplace, you may still be entitled to benefits. However in this case, you have to wait nine weeks before applying for these payments.

Conditions for a Jobseeker's payment

To qualify for a jobseeker’s payment, you must:

I work part time, am I entitled to a payment?

You may still be entitled to a payment if you work part time. If you are unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7, then you could be entitled to a payment.

However, if you work intensive shifts with your hours adding up to 36 hours per week on the remaining 3 days, then you might be treated as being in full-time employment. This might also be the case for people working up to 30 hours per week. Your intreo officer will assess whether or not you are considered to be in full-time employment.

How much you work could impact your payment. Read more about Jobseeker’s and work:

How does it work?

For both Jobseeker’s Allowance and Benefit:

  • You get paid weekly and usually the money is transferred directly into your bank account. You can also collect your money from your nearest Post Office.
  • While on the dole, you must go to your local office once every month and sign on, confirming you are willing and able to work. If you live over 10 miles from your nearest social welfare office however, you will only have to sign on every 12 weeks.
  • While you are waiting for your dole to come through, you may qualify for a supplementary welfare allowance. A supplementary welfare allowance is an emergency payment you get if you cannot afford to wait until your dole comes through. Click here to learn more about supplementary welfare allowance.
  • Jobseeker's Allowance is means tested. This means that any income that you have from savings or investments or property other than your home can affect the payment you receive. If you live with your parents or with your partner, their income will be counted too.
  • There are increases to these rates for ‘qualified adults’ and a ‘qualified child’. This means if you are supporting an adult (such as a spouse or civil partner) or child, you will receive an increase. Click here to find out the rate increases for Jobseeker's Allowance and here for Jobseeker's Benefit.

Jobseeker’s Allowance rates

  • People getting Jobseeker’s Allowance who are aged between 18 and 24 years receive a maximum personal rate of €112.70 per week
  • People aged 25 years receive a maximum personal rate €157.80 a week
  • People aged over 26 years receive a maximum personal rate €203.00 a week

Jobseeker's Benefit rates

Your rate of Jobseeker’s Benefit depends on your average weekly earnings in the relevant tax year, which is 2 years before your claim. If you are claiming in 2019, the relevant tax year is 2017. Click here to read more about average weekly earnings.

  • For average weekly earnings of less than €150, your personal rate is €91.10
  • For average weekly earnings of €150 - €219.99, your personal rate is €131.00
  • For average weekly earnings of €220 - €299.99, your personal rate is €159.00
  • For average weekly earnings of €300 or more, your personal rate is €203.00

How do you apply?

You should apply for your Jobseeker’s payment as soon as you become unemployed. You will not be paid for the first 3 days of your claim, so it’s important to apply on your first day of unemployment.

To apply for both Jobseeker’s Allowance or Benefit for the first time, you must fill out this form (UP 1). Click here for more information on filling out this form.

If it has been less than 2 years since you last claimed Jobseeker’s Benefit, you must fill out form UP 6 instead.

The form should be brought to your local Intreo office. Find a list of local offices here. The staff will be able to help out with any questions or assistance you need.

Other entitlements

If you are on the dole you may be entitled to other benefits such as a medical card, mortgage interest payments or rent relief. Enquire at your local citizens information branch or social welfare office for details on how to get these other payments. Find out all you need to know at Citizens Information.

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Published March 11th2013
Last updated Novem­ber 12th2018
Tags dole jobs jobseeker jobseekers allowance jobseekers benefit
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