Short Term Enterprise Allowance
Unemployed? Why not start up your own business?
Being unemployed can be disheartening and frustrating but it also presents you with a lot of free time. For some this can offer the perfect opportunity to try something new. If you are receiving social welfare why not make the most of your free time, unleash your entrepreneurial spirit and apply for the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance?
What is the Short Term Enterprise Allowance?
The Short Term Enterprise Allowance is a funding scheme to encourage people who are receiving Jobseeker's Benefit to take up self employment opportunities. Once approved, the STEA replaces your Jobseeker's Benefit payment. STEA is paid at the same rate as your Jobseeker's Benefit.
You can receive STEA for the same amount of time that you are eligible for Jobseeker's Benefit. The maximum amount of time that you can receive the payment is nine months. The income that you earn from self-employment will not affect your payment on the Short Term Enterprise Allowance.
Am I eligible to apply?
If you have an entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit, have 104 contributions paid and are in receipt of Jobseeker's Benefit payment. Find out more about contributions here. If you are setting up a self employment business that has been approved in advance in writing by a Facilitator or Integrated Development (Partnership) Company.
How can I apply?
Firstly you need get an STEA 1 application form from your local Intreo Centre, complete and hand it into your social welfare officer. You can find more information about filling out the form here.
The STEA 1 form asks you for your business proposal and how much it will cost to set up. Although this does not require a detailed business plan it is a good idea to have one drawn up. This will help you explain your vision and show that you are passionate about starting a business. If you attended a Start Your Own Business course in the past you can put that down on your application to increase your chances of getting the allowance.
After STEA ends
When your entitlement to the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance ends, and if you are not fully self-employed by the business, you may be able to apply for a Jobseeker’s Allowance payment. You can continue to engage in self-employment while in receipt of a Jobseeker’s Allowance payment if you meet the means test and provided you can show that you are also available for and ‘Genuinely Seeking’ full-time employment. Dependent on the nature, type and extent of your business you can, technically, be engaged in self-employment every day and still qualify for a Jobseeker’s Allowance payment – provided your overall income stays below a certain amount.
Refusal of Short Term Allowance
The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance is a non-statutory scheme. This means that you cannot appeal a refusal to engage in the scheme to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. But you can ask the Department of Social Protection to review your application if you feel that you have been wrongly refused the allowance.