If you lose your job, are made redundant, laid off or if your working hours are reduced you may qualify for a social welfare payment, either Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit.
To get either of these payments you must apply at your Social Welfare Local Office. When you apply you declare you are unemployed and actively seeking work. This is also known as signing on. New applicants for jobseeker's payments are issued with the new Public Services Card.
If you are laid off or are still working, but your working hours are reduced, you may also qualify for a jobseeker's payment for the days you are unemployed.
If you leave work voluntarily or as a result of misconduct you cannot get a jobseeker’s payment for 9 weeks. However, if you have ‘good cause’ to leave voluntarily, for example, any changes in working conditions such as a reduction in pay, harassment or abuse from your employer, you may get your payment. The Deciding Officer in your social welfare local office will decide whether you had good cause to leave voluntarily.
If you are self-employed you may get a jobseeker’s payment if you closed your business or the amount of work you are getting has sufficiently reduced. Find out more about self-employed people and unemployment.
To get Jobseeker’s Benefit you must have enough social insurance (PRSI) contributions. Jobseeker's Benefit rates are graduated according to earnings. If you are affected by this, it may be of greater benefit for you to claim Jobseeker's Allowance.
To get Jobseeker’s Allowance you must pass a means test. A means test is when your income is calculated to see whether it falls below a certain level. If it falls below a certain level you can get Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Find out more about Jobseeker’s Benefit.
Find out more about Jobseeker’s Allowance.
The Department of Social Protection is rolling out a new service called Intreo which provides a personalised service for jobseekers. Intreo provides a range of services including:
Currently Intreo is available in 4 Department of Social Protection offices:
More Intreo centres are due to open in 2013. Details of new locations will be published on welfare.ie and Intreo will be available in all offices by 2014.
To sign on you must go to your social welfare local office or Intreo centre. When you get there you may have to take a numbered ticket and join a queue. When it is your turn you go to the desk or hatch to talk to a member of staff.
You may be able to make an appointment to attend your social welfare local office. However, not all social welfare local offices have an appointment system. Contact your social welfare local office to find out if you can get an appointment.
When you apply for Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance you must bring the correct documents with you. If you don’t have all of the necessary documents you should still apply and send in your documents as soon as possible. If you have difficulties getting some of the documents please tell the staff in your Social Welfare Local Office. They may be able to help.
Your jobseeker’s payment is paid weekly by the Department of Social Protection.
You can collect your jobseeker’s payment weekly from your nearest post office. You must bring valid photographic identification (photo ID) or your Public Services Card with you to collect your payment.
The following is valid photo ID:
Staff working in the Post Office may ask to see your photo ID before giving you your payment.
You must go to the social welfare local office usually every month and declare you are still unemployed and looking for work. You will be given a date and a time to sign on each month.
In some cases you may sign on more or less frequently. Usually if you live up to 10 miles from the nearest social welfare local office you will sign on every 4 weeks. If you live over 10 miles from the nearest social welfare local office you will sign on every 12 weeks.
You may qualify for Supplementary Welfare Allowance while you are waiting to be assessed for a jobseeker’s payment or if you don’t qualify for a jobseeker’s payment.
Supplementary Welfare Allowance provides a basic weekly allowance to eligible people who have little or no income. If your weekly income is below the Supplementary Welfare Allowance rate for your family size, a payment may be made to bring your income up to the appropriate Supplementary Welfare Allowance rate.
If you have claimed a jobseeker’s payment but it has not been paid and you have no other income, you may qualify for Supplementary Welfare Allowance while you are waiting for your payment.
If you get Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit or Supplementary Welfare Allowance you may be entitled to other social welfare and health benefits.
You may get help with the cost of uniforms and footwear for your children. The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance Scheme operates from 1 June to 30 September each year.
If you have an exceptional or urgent need, for example, help with a funeral bill, there are a range of discretionary payments provided by the Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) in your local health centre.
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.