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Penalty Rates for Jobseekers Payments

When you sign on for jobseeker’s payments you’ll have to sign a Record of Mutual Commitments

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

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Jobseeker’s Allowance and Jobseeker’s Benefit are payments you can get if you’re unemployed. You have an automatic right to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance, while you have to build up enough in-work PRSI payments before you can access Jobseeker’s Benefit. Both payments are dependent on you actively seeking work or being involved in education or training. They also have several other rules and requirements. If you’re in breach of these, you may be put on “penalty rates” until you either meet the requirements or have your payments cut off entirely. 

When you sign on for jobseeker’s payments you’ll have to sign a Record of Mutual Commitments. This sets out what the Department of Social Protection expects from you and what you are legally entitled to expect of them. If you don’t follow the terms of this document, you will be put on penalty rates. Specifically, you can be put on penalty rates for not attending meetings requested by the Department or for failing to take part in appropriate employment schemes, work experience or training recommended to you.

If you are still on penalty rates after 21 days you will have your payments stopped for up to nine weeks. You can’t have your payments cut off unless you’ve already spent a full 21 days on penalty rates. You can get back to your original rate by engaging with the Department and taking part in the training, work experience or employment schemes they recommend.

Penalty Rates for Jobseeker’s Allowance

  • €193.00 reduced to €149.00
  • €147.80 reduced to €114.80
  • €102.70 reduced to €77.70

What to do if you’ve been put on penalty rates unfairly

If you feel you’ve been put on penalty rates unfairly you can appeal to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. This could be because you were put on penalty rates even though you’ve been engaging with all the requests of the Department, or if you had your payments cut off without spending a full 21 days on penalty rates. The Social Welfare Appeals Office is based in D’Olier House, D’Olier Street, Dublin 2 and you can contact them via post at this address. You can locall them on 1890 747 434 or email Their website is

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Published November 25th, 2016
Last updated March 22nd, 2018
Tags jobseeker unemployed unemployment
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