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Short-Term Enterprise Allowance

Introduction

The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA) gives support to people who have lost their job and want to start their own business.

To qualify you must be getting Jobseeker’s Benefit. There is no qualifying period, which means you do not need to have been getting Jobseeker’s Benefit for a certain period of time. However, you will not qualify if you are getting Jobseeker’s Benefit and working part-time.

From 4 April 2013 the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance is paid instead of your Jobseeker’s Benefit for a maximum of 9 months. It ends when your entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit ends (that is at either 9 or 6 months).

Rules

To qualify for Short-Term Enterprise Allowance you must be getting or have an entitlement to Jobseeker’s Benefit.

Your business plan must be approved in advance in writing by a Jobs Case Officer based in a social welfare local office or Intreo centre or an Enterprise Officer in your local development company (also known as partnership company) (see 'How to apply' below).

Seasonal, temporary or part time self-employment will not qualify for the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance.

You must contact the Department of Social Protection immediately if your self-employment ends or you take up employment.

If you are unemployed when your entitlement to STEA ends you will not immediately re-qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit. However, you can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance, which is a means-tested payment.

Employment grants

Employment grants from a County Enterprise Board (CEB) or a local development company do not affect your entitlement to the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance.

Help with starting a business

The Technical Assistance and Training (TAT) fund helps people getting the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance with certain costs involved in starting a business. You do not have an automatic entitlement to TAT. Assistance from this fund must be approved by the Jobs Case Officer in your social welfare local office or Intreo centre. Payments from the fund are not paid to you; they are paid directly to the provider of the service you are using.

You can get more information about becoming self-employed and setting up a business.

Rates

If you qualify, the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance replaces your Jobseeker’s Benefit. The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance will be paid at the same rate as your Jobseeker’s Benefit, including any increases for adult and child dependants. It ends when your entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit ends.

The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance may be paid directly into your bank or building society account on a weekly basis. It cannot be paid into a mortgage account.

The Short-Term Work Enterprise Allowance is subject to income tax in the same way as Jobseeker’s Benefit. (Note that this is different from the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance which is not taxable).

Secondary benefits

You can keep any secondary benefits that you were getting with your Jobseeker’s Benefit provided you continue to satisfy the conditions. For example, a medical card and Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance.

However, an increase in your income may affect your Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement. To find out how your Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement may be affected contact the Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) in your local health centre.

How to apply

To apply for the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance, complete application form STEA 1 (pdf).

If you live in an area covered by a local development company (LDC) you should return form STEA 1 to the Enterprise Officer. If you do not live in a LDC area, you should return form STEA 1 to the Jobs Case Officer in your local Intreo centre or social welfare local office.

The Enterprise Officer or Jobs Case Officer will look at your business proposal and may discuss certain aspects of it with you. You must not take up self-employment until you get written approval from the LDC or Department of Social Protection.

If you are accepted on to the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance, you must register as self-employed with the Revenue Commissioners. You can find more information on self-employment from your local tax office.

Where to apply

If you live in an area covered by a local development company (xls) , you should apply to the Enterprise Officer.

If you do not live in an LDC area, you should apply to the Jobs Case Officer in your Intreo centre or social welfare local office.

Page updated: 5 March 2014

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If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.