Can I be on Jobseeker’s Allowance and work?

You may be able to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance and work part-time or on a casual basis

Written by spunout

Last Updated: May-08-24


Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) is a social welfare payment that you can apply for if you are unemployed. If you are eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance, you might also be able to work part-time.

Jobseeker’s Allowance and work

It is possible to do part-time or casual work while receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance if you meet certain conditions.

Can I work while receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance?

You do not have to be fully unemployed to receive Jobseeker’s Allowance. It is possible to work and get Jobseeker’s Allowance if:

  • Your days at work are reduced
  • You are laid off work temporarily
  • You are self-employed but your level of business and income has reduced
  • You can only get part-time or casual work

If you are unemployed for four out of seven days each week, you can work and receive Jobseeker’s Allowance provided you continue to meet all of the other conditions.

What are the conditions for Jobseeker’s Allowance?

To receive Jobseeker’s Allowance, you must:

  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Be fully unemployed, or work for three days a week or less
  • Be available for full-time work and genuinely seeking work
  • Be capable of work
  • Pass a means test
  • Meet the habitual residence condition (have been living in Ireland for a certain amount of time)

Find out more about whether you are eligible to receive Jobseeker’s Allowance and other social welfare payments.

What is the Jobseeker’s Allowance means test?

Your income must be below a certain level to get Jobseeker’s Allowance. To find out if your income is low enough to qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance, the Department of Social Protection does a means test.

The means test will calculate your income from work, savings and other sources. If you are living with a partner or in your family home, some of their income might be taken into account too. Find out more about what is assessed in the means test for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Sometimes a certain amount of income or income from particular sources is not taken into account during the means test. The student maintenance grant and most social welfare payments are not counted. Find out more about cash income not included in the means test.

How will work affect my Jobseeker’s Allowance payment?

If you are eligible to receive Jobseeker’s Allowance, you can calculate how work will affect your payment. Use this worksheet to find out how taking up part-time or casual work will affect your weekly Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Find out more about what social welfare payments you can retain when you enter employment.

Jobseeker’s Allowance and the Part-Time Job Incentive Scheme

If you have been fully unemployed and receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance for at least 390 days, you might be eligible for the Part-Time Job Incentive (PTJI) Scheme. This scheme is intended as a stepping stone to full-time work. It allows long-term unemployed people to take up part-time work and get a special weekly allowance instead of their jobseeker’s payment. Find out more about the Part-Time Job Incentive Scheme.

Need more information?

We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.

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