Jobseeker’s Allowance and Jobseeker’s Benefit are payments you can get if you’re unemployed. When you apply for one of these payments, you will be asked to agree to certain conditions. If you break any of these, you could be put on penalty rates until you meet the conditions again.
What are penalty rates for jobseeker’s payments?
A penalty rate is a reduced rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit. You can be placed on a penalty rate if you do not meet the conditions that you agreed to when you applied for the payment.
Why could I be put on penalty rates?
When you apply for a jobseeker’s payment, you will be asked to sign a Record of Mutual Commitments which explains your rights and responsibilities while you are getting your payment. You might also be asked to meet with a Department of Social Protection Officer to talk about your situation and agree on a Personal Progression Plan to prepare you to find employment.
If you do not keep to the conditions you agreed to at this time, you may be placed on a penalty rate. 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.
What are the penalty rates for Jobseeker’s Allowance?
The penalty rates for Jobseeker’s Allowance are:
- €203.00 reduced to €159.00
- €157.80 reduced to €124.80
- €112.70 reduced to €87.70
What are the penalty rates for Jobseeker’s Benefit?
The penalty rates for Jobseeker’s Benefit are:
- €203.00 reduced to €159.00
- €159.00 reduced to €124.00
- €131.00 reduced to €102.60
- €91.10 reduced to €71.70
How long can I be put on penalty rates for?
If you are placed 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. If you do not try to meet these conditions within 21 days, you will have your payments stopped for up to nine weeks. You can’t have your payments cut off unless you have spent a full 21 days on social welfare penalties.
What can I do if I think I have been put on penalty rates unfairly?
If you feel you’ve been put on penalty rates unfairly, you can make an appeal. It is possible that you were put on penalty rates even though you’ve been engaging with all the requests of the Department, or maybe you had your payments cut off without spending a full 21 days on penalty rates.
You can make an appeal about social welfare penalty rates to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. To make an appeal, download and complete the Social Welfare Appeals Office: Appeals Form and email it to [email protected]. It is free to make an appeal. Find out more about how to make an appeal.
You can get help with making an appeal from your local Citizens Information Service.
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.