Am I eligible to receive social welfare payments?

What you need to do to 'sign on' if you're unemployed
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“Signing on” is the term use for applying for social welfare payments when you become unemployed. You may qualify to ‘sign on’ for a social welfare payment if the following apply to you:

  • You’ve lost your job
  • You’ve been made redundant
  • You have had your hours reduced
  • You work limited amount of hours

I left my job, can I get social welfare payments?

If you voluntarily left your job, you have to wait 9 weeks before you can sign on for a social welfare payment. This is the same if you were let go as a result of misconduct. However, if you have ‘good cause’ to leave your job voluntarily, such as changes in working conditions, reduction in pay or harassment from your employer, you may be entitled to payment. It is up to the Deciding Officer in your social welfare office or Intreo centre whether or not you had ‘just cause’ to leave your job.

Types of Jobseeker payments

There are two types of Jobseeker Payments offered: Jobseeker’s Benefit and Jobseeker’s Allowance. To qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit, you must have paid enough PRSI. If you have not, you may instead qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance once satisfy the conditions of a means test. A means test calculates your income to see if it falls below a certain level. You are always assessed for Jobseeker’s Benefit first, unless you have never had a job. When you apply for Jobseeker’s Benefit you will be given the option to be assessed for Jobseeker’s Allowance. If you agree, and you don’t qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit, then you will not have to reapply for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

How do I sign on?

To sign on you have to go to your local Intreo or Social Welfare centre and report to reception. There, a member of staff will check your number of PRSI contributions to see how many you have and what you may be eligible for. Then, they will make an appointment for you to meet with a Deciding Officer to have your claim processed, generally in a few days time, give you the application form and tell you what documents you need to bring with you.

When you go to your appointment, the Deciding Officer will review and process the application. Make sure you bring your application form and all the documents required with you to your appointment. In most cases, provided you have all the documents required and have filled in the application form correctly, a decision about your payment will be made immediately. You will also be expected to sign a Record of Mutual Commitments which explains your rights and the responsibilities you have while you are in receipt of a jobseeker’s payment.

Receiving social welfare payments 

If you qualify for a payment, you will be paid weekly by the Department of Social Protection.You will then have to collect your payment every week, in person, from your local post office. You must bring valid ID with you, such as a driving licence, passport or Public Services Card.

You will also have to go to your Intreo centre or local social welfare office every month to declare that you are still unemployed and looking for work. You will be given a date and time to sign on each month. Depending on where you live, you have have to sign on more frequently or less frequently.

For more information, check out the Citizens Information website.

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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