Jobseeker's Benefit is a weekly payment from the Department of Social Protection (DSP) to people who are out of work and are covered by social insurance (PRSI). If you don't qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit you may qualify for Jobseeker's Allowance .
Intreo - the integrated employment and support service
Intreo is a new service from the Department of Social Protection which provides a single point of contact for all employment and income supports. Details of Intreo locations are published on welfare.ie .
To qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit you must be aged under 66 and:
- Be unemployed (you must be fully unemployed or unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7)
- Have had a substantial loss of employment and as a result be unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7
- Be capable of work
- Be available for and genuinely seeking work
- Have enough social insurance (PRSI) contributions
Jobseeker's Benefit and work
To get Jobseeker's Benefit you must be unemployed or have lost at least one day's employment and as a result be unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7 days. You may continue to get Jobseeker's Benefit if you can only find part-time or casual work.
Where a Jobseeker's Benefit recipient is working for part of a week, their entitlement will be based on a 5-day payment week. This means that for each day that a person is employed, 1/5th of the normal rate of Jobseeker's Benefit is deducted. If they get part-time work for 2 days, they will get 3/5ths of the normal Jobseeker's Benefit for that week and if they get part-time work for 3 days they will get 2/5ths of the normal rate of Jobseeker’s Benefit for the week. You must still be unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7 to claim Jobseeker's Benefit. You can read FAQS about these changes .
There is an exemption from some of the rules for retained firefighters. More information is available about work and Jobseeker’s Benefit .
If you are getting JB you can use a new Benefit of Work Ready Reckoner from the Department of Social Protection to help you assess out the financial consequences of taking up full-time work. The Reckoner works out the total amount you would receive on taking up full-time work (including any Family Income Supplement) and compares this to your jobseeker's payment (including Rent Supplement).
Loss of employment
You must have suffered a substantial loss of employment in any period of 7 consecutive days to be eligible for Jobseeker's Benefit (casual workers and retained firefighters with no other employment are exempt from this rule). This means that you must have lost at least one day's employment and as a result of this loss be unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7. Your earnings must also have been reduced because of the loss of employment.
Social insurance (PRSI) contributions
To qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit, you must pay Class A, H or P PRSI contributions. Class A is the one paid by most private sector employees. Class H is paid by soldiers, reservists
and temporary army nurses, who do not qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit until they have left the army. To qualify you need:
- At least 104 weeks PRSI paid since you first started work
- 39 weeks PRSI paid or credited in the relevant tax year (a minimum of 13 weeks must be paid contributions* )
- 26 weeks PRSI paid in the relevant tax year and 26 weeks PRSI paid in the tax year immediately before the relevant tax year.
* If you do not have 13 paid contributions in the relevant tax year, you must have paid 13 contributions in any of the following years:
- The 2 tax years before the relevant tax year
- The last complete tax year
- The current tax year.
The relevant tax year is the second last complete tax year before the year in which your claim is made. So, for claims made in 2015, the relevant tax year is 2013.
There are a number of circumstances in which you can be awarded credited contributions. For example, pre-entry credits are given when you start employment for the first time in your working life. However, you can only qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit when you have actually paid 104 contributions. Credits are also awarded while you are getting certain social welfare payments, including Jobseeker's Benefit (provided it is for 6 days), Illness Benefit and, in some cases, Jobseeker's Allowance.
Contributions you have paid in other member states of the EU/EEA will be added to your Irish contributions. If you are applying for Jobseeker's Benefit and need the contributions paid in another EU/EEA country to help you qualify, then your last contribution must have been in Ireland.
Under the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005 employers are obliged to register all employees for PRSI. Read more in our document on your Employer's duty to pay social insurance .
You may be disqualified from getting Jobseeker's Benefit for 9 weeks if you:
- Left work voluntarily and without a reasonable cause
- Lost your job through misconduct
- Refused an offer of suitable alternative employment or suitable training - if you have been on a penalty rate of JB for at least 21 days
- Are aged under 55 and get a redundancy payment of more than €50,000. The exact length of your disqualification (up to 9 weeks) will depend on the amount of redundancy payment you received.
If you are aged under 55 and get a redundancy payment of more than €50,000 you are disqualified from claiming Jobseeker's Benefit. The table below shows how long you may be disqualified for. The length of the disqualification is at the discretion of the deciding officer (who can take your circumstances into account). Any period of disqualification is subtracted from your total Jobseeker's Benefit entitlement. So if you are disqualified for 3 weeks (which is 18 days payment) your JB claim starts on day 19. Note that people who take voluntary redundancy and do not get a redundancy payment of over €50,000 can claim jobseeker's payments immediately.