Am I eligible to receive social welfare payments?
If you are unemployed, you might be able to receive social welfare payments
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
If you become unemployed or have your work hours reduced, you might be eligible to receive social welfare payments such as Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit. Applying for social welfare payments when you lose work is known as signing on.
Am I entitled to social welfare payments?
You must meet certain conditions to receive Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit.
Do I qualify for social welfare payments?
You may qualify to receive a social welfare payment if any of the following apply to you:
- You lost your job
- You have been made redundant
- You have had your work hours reduced
- You work on a part-time or casual basis
- You are self-employed and the amount of work you are receiving has reduced
Can I claim social welfare if I leave my job?
If you leave your job voluntarily or as a result of misconduct, you have to wait nine weeks before you can get a jobseeker’s payment. 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 to make this decision.
What social welfare payments can I apply for?
There are two types of jobseeker’s payments that you can apply for: Jobseeker’s Benefit and Jobseeker’s Allowance.
To be eligible for Jobseeker’s Benefit, you must have paid enough Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) before you apply. PRSI is money that is deducted from your work earnings and put towards a national Social Insurance Fund. Contributing money to the fund over time allows you to receive Jobseeker’s Benefit and other supports when you need them.
If you have never had a job or have not paid enough PRSI, you might be eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance instead. To be eligible, you will need to meet the conditions of a means test. A means test calculates your income to see if it falls below a certain level.
If you apply for a jobseeker’s payment, you will always be assessed for Jobseeker’s Benefit first, unless you have never had a job. When you apply for Jobseeker’s Benefit you will be asked if you want to be assessed for Jobseeker’s Allowance. If you agree, and you don’t qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit, then you will not need to apply a second time to be assessed for Jobseeker’s Allowance.
How do I sign on for social welfare payments?
To apply for a social welfare payment for the first time, you will need to go to your local Intreo or social welfare office and report to reception. A member of staff will check what you may be eligible for and make an appointment for you to meet with a Deciding Officer. They will also give you an application form and tell you what documents you need to bring to your appointment.
When you go to your appointment, the Deciding Officer will review and process your application. It is important to bring your application form and all of the required documents with you to your appointment. If you have all of the documents and have filled in the application form correctly, a decision about your payment will likely be made immediately.
If your application is approved, you will be expected to sign a Record of Mutual Commitments which explains the rights and the responsibilities you have while receiving a jobseeker’s payment.
Receiving social welfare payments
You will receive your social welfare payment weekly from your nearest Post Office. You will need to bring valid identification with you such as a Public Services Card, Driving licence, Passport, Irish Residence Permit card or National Identity Card.
You will usually have to go to your Intreo Centre or local social welfare office every month to declare that you are still looking for work. However, this requirement has been paused until January 2022 due to COVID-19. You will be contacted by the Department when you need to sign on in person.
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.