Can I sign on for social insurance credits?
Find out if you are eligible to receive social insurance credits
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
If you are unemployed but do not qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit, you may still be able to ‘sign on’ and receive credits.
What are social insurance credits?
If you are working, your employer will make Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) deductions from your earnings each week. This money is put into the national Social Insurance Fund. Most employers and employees must make PRSI contributions to the national Social Insurance Fund. This money pays for social welfare benefits and pensions. Contributing money to the fund will allow you to receive these benefits.
If you are unemployed, you might be able to receive credits. Credits are PRSI contributions that are made for you when you cannot make them yourself. Keeping your social insurance record active in this way is important as it will help you to protect your social insurance entitlements.
How do I qualify for credits?
You will be awarded credits automatically if you are fully unemployed and receiving Jobseeker’s Benefit, Illness Benefit, Invalidity Pension, Maternity Benefit, Adoptive Benefit, Parent’s Benefit, Health and Safety Benefit or Carer’s Benefit.
If you are fully unemployed but are not receiving any of the benefits listed above, you can sign on for credits as long as you are:
- Available and capable of work
- Genuinely seeking work
- Have made paid or credited PRSI contributions in either of the last two tax years
Can I qualify for credits if I am on strike?
If you are disqualified from getting an unemployment payment because you are on strike, you may qualify for credits for the duration of the strike. If you are involved in a strike, you should apply for credits at your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Office.
Can I qualify for credits if I am doing a training course?
If you take part in one of the following, you will get social insurance credits for the duration of the course, provided you qualified before you started:
- Back to Education Allowance (Second and Third Level option)
- Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)
- SOLAS, National Tourism Development Authority, BIM or Teagasc training courses
Can I qualify for credits as a student?
Student credits are only given once, and can cover periods in full-time education. To qualify, you must have worked and paid PRSI Class A before starting your course. You must have started your course before you reached 23 years of age and before you have taken up full-time insurable employment.
You apply for student credits when you are applying for a social insurance payment. Student Credits can be used to help you qualify for short-term payments only (for example, Illness Benefit and Jobseeker’s Benefit).
Find out more about who is eligible for social insurance credits.
How can I sign on for social insurance credits?
If you are receiving one of the payments listed above, you will automatically be awarded credits. However, if you are not receiving one of these payments but are eligible for credits, you can sign on for credits at your local Intreo Centre or social welfare office.
The signing arrangements may vary slightly depending on your situation so it is a good idea to contact your local Intreo or social welfare office for details. Find out more about the requirements to sign for credits.
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.