Information for younger jobseekers

Introduction

Young people must meet the same conditions as other jobseekers to get a jobseeker's payment but they may need targeted supports to help them enter the workforce. A Youth Guarantee is being introduced (see below) that will support all young jobseekers and give them access to training, education, work experience or full-time employment.

Jobseeker's Allowance

If you have just left school you cannot get Jobseeker's Allowance. To get Jobseeker's Allowance you must have been out of school for 3 months and you must be at least 18 years of age. The 3-month period starts from the day you leave school or the day following your last exam if you are doing exams.

People aged under 26 who do not have children get a reduced rate of Jobseeker's Allowance. If they take up a place on an education, training or work experience scheme they will get a higher rate of payment. You can visit our documents on education and training options and on employment support schemes to get more information on the rates paid.

Maximum rate of JA for people under 26 without children (from 8 March 2017)
Age Personal rate Increase for a qualified adult
18 - 24 €102.70 €102.70
25 €147.80 €128.10

The reduced personal and qualified adult rates of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) for people under 26 do not apply to:

  • People with dependent children
  • People transferring from Disability Allowance to JA
  • People aged 22-25 who were getting a higher rate before 15 January 2014
  • People whose claim is linked to a previous JA claim made within the previous 12 months to which the maximum personal rate applied
  • Certain children who were in the care of the HSE during the 12 months before reaching 18. These people are assessed using the JA rate for people aged 26 or over. This exception only applies between the ages of 18 and 24. From the age of 25, the age-related rate applies.

If you were getting an age-related reduced rate of JA and you take part in a course of education or training or an employment scheme the reduced personal rate of payment applicable to that course or scheme will apply as long as you are aged under 26. When you complete the course you will revert to your previous age-related JA rate.

Jobseeker's Benefit

You must have at least 104 social insurance contributions (2 years) to qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB). This means that many young people do not qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit if they lose their job or cannot find employment. If you worked part-time during school or college you may have enough PRSI contributions to qualify for JB but if your average weekly earnings were below €300 you may only qualify for a lower rate of JB.

Students

Third-level students cannot claim Jobseeker's Allowance or Benefit while they are studying full-time. This disqualification also applies to the summer holiday periods between academic years (unless you are a mature student or are getting a Back to Education Allowance). However once you have finished college permanently you can claim a jobseeker's payment if you cannot find work. This is also the case if you leave college without finishing your course. You may be able to claim a jobseeker’s payment while you are working on a project or research thesis if you are available for work during this time.

Student credits may help you to qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit. They are awarded where you were a full-time student during the relevant tax year and had paid contributions before going to college or during the period spent at college. You must have paid contributions at Class A, have started full-time education before 23 years of age and have re-entered insurable employment after the course has ceased. Student credits can only be awarded only once.

Back to Education Allowance

From 1 January 2014 all new Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) participants aged under 26 who were getting a reduced age-related Jobseeker’s Allowance payment, will get a maximum BTEA rate of €160 per week (increasing to €193 from September 2017). Any means participants have will be deducted from this rate. If you have been getting the Back to Education Allowance during your second-level studies you can claim JA immediately.

The Youth Guarantee

The Youth Guarantee aims to provide young people under the age of 25 with a good quality offer of employment, education, training or apprenticeship within a short time of leaving education or becoming unemployed. It is an EU initiative developed in response to the youth unemployment crisis. Across the EU, an estimated 7.5 million young people aged 15-24 are not employed, not in education and not in training.

In Ireland, the Guarantee will be introduced on a phased basis (pdf). By the end of 2015:

  • Young people under 18 who have left the school system without completing secondary education and who are unemployed will be given a ‘second chance’ education pathway such as Youthreach or will be supported to re-enter the school system.
  • Young people aged 18-24 who have been unemployed for 4 months will get help to find work or will get an offer of quality training, education or work experience.

Currently a pilot Youth Guarantee project is underway in Ballymun. You can visit youthguarantee.ie to find out more about this pilot scheme.

Under the Youth Guarantee a range of initiatives are being put in place.

The qualifying period for JobsPlus (called JobsPlus Youth) for jobseekers under 25 is 4 months from 1 January 2015. It will remain at 12 months for other jobseekers. Eligible young people will be given certification that they qualify for the JobsPlus subsidy and they can use this when applying for jobs.

A new First Steps Internship is currently being put in place. Internships are expected to start from March 2015. First Steps will be aimed at young people aged between 18 and 24 who have little or no experience of work. First Steps is similar to JobBridge but internships will not be publically advertised. DSP staff will select candidates and refer them for interviews with organisations that have offered internships. First Steps will offer extensive support to interns including a work preparation course and a shorter internship week of 4 days. The Department of Social Protection is currently seeking expressions of interest from employers who wish to offer YDI placements.

Where to apply

You apply for Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance to your Intreo centre or social welfare local office.

Page edited: 9 March 2017