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Pregnancy and social welfare payments

Introduction

The social welfare payment most identified with pregnancy is Maternity Benefit. However, if you are are pregnant and getting a different social welfare payment, you can continue to get your payment as long as you satisfy the conditions. You may also be entitled to half-rate Maternity Benefit if you are getting certain social welfare payments (for example, One-Parent Family Payment) and are in employment.

You cannot qualify for Maternity Benefit if you are unemployed and pregnant, unless your contract of employment ends within 16 weeks of the week in which your baby is due and you satisfy the PRSI contribution conditions. In this case, Maternity Benefit is paid from the day after the date on your P45.

If you do not qualify for Maternity Benefit you may qualify for another social welfare payment.

This document explains how pregnancy is treated if you are getting Jobseeker’s Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Illness Benefit or One-Parent Family Payment.

Pregnancy and Jobseeker’s Benefit

If you are pregnant you may continue to get Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB). You are considered capable of work unless, you have complications during your pregnancy or you are ill. You must be available for and genuinely seeking work to get Jobseeker's Benefit; this means that you must continue to look for work throughout your pregnancy.

However, 4 weeks before your baby is due to be born and for 8 weeks after the birth, you do not have to sign-on at your local social welfare office and you do not have to prove that you are seeking work. You must inform your local social welfare office of your pregnancy.

Your Jobseeker’s Benefit will only be paid for the number of weeks remaining on your claim. If you no longer qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit you can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance (see below). The rules for Jobseeker's Allowance are similar to Jobseeker's Benefit but you will have to pass a means test.

When your baby is born you may qualify for an increase in your Jobseeker’s Benefit for your child. You should contact the Jobseeker’s Benefit section to find out if you qualify.

Pregnancy and Jobseeker’s Allowance

If you are pregnant you may continue to get Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA). You are considered capable of work, unless, you have complications during your pregnancy or you have an illness. You must be available for and genuinely seeking work to get Jobseeker's Allowance; this means that you must continue to look for work throughout your pregnancy.

However, 4 weeks before your baby is due to be born and for 8 weeks after the birth, you do not have to sign-on at your local social welfare office and you do not have to prove that you are seeking work. You must inform your local social welfare office of your pregnancy.

When your baby is born you may qualify for an increase in your Jobseeker’s Allowance for your child. You should contact the Jobseeker’s Allowance section to find out if you qualify.

What if I can't get Jobseeker's Allowance/Benefit because of illness during pregnancy?

If you are sick or ill during your pregnancy you are not entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance or Jobseeker's Benefit. You may get Illness Benefit if you have worked and have enough social insurance contributions (see below). If you are not entitled to Illness Benefit and your illness is expected to last for more than 12 months you may be entitled to Disability Allowance.

If you are pregnant and either not getting a social welfare payment or not entitled to any of the above social welfare payments, you may get some financial support under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme.

Pregnancy and Illness Benefit

If you are pregnant, unemployed and claiming Illness Benefit you will continue to be paid Illness Benefit provided you have a condition other than pregnancy to warrant your being on Illness Benefit. You must continue to send in medical certificates to qualify for Illness Benefit.

You cannot use pregnancy itself as a medical reason to claim Illness Benefit. However, medical complications arising from your pregnancy can satisfy the medical criteria for Illness Benefit.

When your baby is born you may qualify for an increase in your Illness Benefit for a child dependent. You should contact the Illness Benefit section to find out if you qualify.

Pregnant and on sick leave from work

If you are on sick leave from work and getting Illness Benefit immediately before you are due to start your maternity leave, you will be paid Maternity Benefit in the normal way if you satisfy the social insurance contributions.

The social insurance contributions for Maternity Benefit and Illness Benefit are not the same. Therefore, if you are in employment but on sick leave and not getting Illness Benefit you may still qualify for Maternity Benefit. However, you must satisfy the social insurance contributions.

Pregnancy and One-Parent Family Payment

If you are pregnant and getting a One-Parent Family Payment, you will continue to get the payment as long as you satisfy the conditions. When your baby is born you will qualify for an increase in your payment for a child dependent.

If you are pregnantand do not have other children, you are not entitled to One-Parent Family Payment until your baby is born.

You may get half-rate Maternity Benefit with your One-Parent Family Payment if you are employed and have enough social insurance contributions. Half-rate Illness Benefit is no longer paid with the One Parent Family Payment from 1 February 2012.

If you are not entitled to a One-Parent Family Payment and you have no other income you may get some financial support under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme.

Health risks at work or nightwork

Health and Safety Benefit is a weekly payment for employed women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and who are granted Health and Safety Leave by their employer.

Page updated: 7 February 2012

Language

Gaeilge

Related Documents

  • Maternity Benefit
    Maternity Benefit is a payment by the Department of Social Protection to women on maternity leave from work. Find out more about Maternity Benefit and how to apply.
  • Maternity leave
    All female employees are entitled to maternity leave from work immediately before and after the birth of their child. Find out more.
  • Claiming an extra half-rate social welfare payment
    It is generally only possible to claim one social welfare assistance or insurance based payment at a time. However, in certain circumstances you may qualify for your social welfare payment and half of another payment. Find out more.

Contact Us

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.