What is Jobseeker's Benefit?
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.
Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) gives income support to self-employed people who are no longer engaged in self-employment.
Benefit payment for 65 year olds
If you are 65 and have left employment or self-employment, you may qualify for the Benefit Payment for 65 Year Olds until you turn 66.
Budget 2024: increase to Jobseeker's Benefit
It was announced in Budget 2024 that people on the maximum rate of Jobseeker's Benefit will get an increase of €12 per week from January 2024. There will be proportional increases for qualified adults and people on reduced rates of payment.
How to qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit
To qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit (JB) 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
You can read more about the conditions for getting a jobseeker's payment and about the employment services the Department of Social Protection offers to jobseekers.
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.
If you’re getting Jobseeker's Benefit and you work part-time during the week, your payment is based on a 5-day payment week. This means that for each day you work, 1/5th of the normal rate of Jobseeker's Benefit is deducted. If you work part-time for 2 days, you will get 3/5ths of the normal Jobseeker's Benefit for that week, and if you work part-time for 3 days, you 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.
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 the online Benefit of Work Ready Reckoner from the DSP. It helps you figure out how much money you would get if you took up full-time work, including any Working Family Payment, and compares it to what you currently get from Jobseeker's Benefit, including Rent Supplement.
Loss of employment
You must have suffered a substantial loss of employment in any period of 7 consecutive days to qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit. 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.
Casual workers and retained firefighters with no other employment are exempt from this rule.
Pregnancy and Jobseeker's Benefit
There are some exceptions to the rules for pregnant women around the time of birth. You can read more in our page about pregnancy and social welfare payments.
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 of Class A, H or P PRSI paid contributions or at least 156 Class S PRSI contributions since you first started work
- 39 weeks of A, H or P PRSI paid or credited in the relevant tax year (a minimum of 13 weeks must be paid contributions*)
- 26 weeks of A, H or P PRSI paid in the relevant tax year and 26 weeks of 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 2023, the relevant tax year is 2021.
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 Class A, H or P contributions or at least 156 Class S 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 or EEA will be added to your Irish contributions. If you are applying for Jobseeker's Benefit and need the contributions paid in another EU or EEA member state to help you qualify, then your last contribution must have been in Ireland. Read more about combining social insurance contributions from abroad.
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 under 55 and get a redundancy payment of more than €50,000, you are disqualified from claiming Jobseeker's Benefit for a certain period of time. The table below shows how long you may be disqualified for. 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.
|Amount of redundancy payment||Period of disqualification|
|€50,000.01 - €55,000||1 week|
|€55,000.01 - €60,000||2 weeks|
|€60,000.01 - €65,000||3 weeks|
|€65,000.01 - €70,000||4 weeks|
|€70,000.01 - €75,000||5 weeks|
|€75,000.01 - €80,000||6 weeks|
|€80,000.01 - €85,000||7 weeks|
|€85,000.01 - €90,000||8 weeks|
|€90,000.01 and over||9 weeks|
How long is Jobseeker's Benefit paid?
Jobseeker's Benefit is paid for 9 months (234 days) for people with 260 or more Class A, H or P PRSI paid contributions. It is paid for 6 months (156 days) for people with fewer than 260 Class A, H or P PRSI paid contributions.
|Number of contributions||Duration of JB claim|
|260 or more||234 days (9 months)|
|Less than 260||156 days (6 months)|
Re-qualifying for Jobseeker's Benefit
You can re-qualify for JB if:
- You have used up your full JB entitlement (either 9 or 6 months)
- You have paid 13 PRSI contributions for at least 13 weeks (these contributions can be counted only after you have claimed at least 156 days (6 months) of JB)
However, if you are working and claiming JB (systematic short-time workers and part-time workers) you can't continue your JB claim when it is used up since you must have suffered a substantial loss of employment to re-qualify for JB, (unless you are a casual worker).
If you have lost your job you will have suffered a substantial loss of employment. If you are a part-time or systematic short-time worker, DSP will look at your pattern of employment over the last 13 weeks or another representative period to find out whether you have suffered a substantial loss of employment.
For example, if you are getting JB and working 3 days a week as a systematic short-time worker or a part-time worker, and your employment pattern has not changed during your JB claim, you will not have suffered a substantial loss of employment and will not re-qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit when you exhaust your claim. However, if your JB claim ends and your 3-day working week is then reduced to a 2-day week, you will have suffered a substantial loss of employment and may re-qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit.
If you claim Jobseeker's Benefit (JB) for a period, sign off and then claim JB again within 26 weeks, your claim may be linked to the earlier claim. This means that your claim is not treated as a new claim and:
- You do not have to wait for 3 days before getting your payment
- The cumulative total of days from the previous claim is continued (so, for example, if you have used up 100 days of your total JB entitlement of 234 days you have 134 days remaining on your claim)
- The rate of JB is the same rate payable as on the previous claim, unless there has been a budget increase or change in family circumstances (such as a new child dependant).
If your JB claim does not link to a previous claim, it is treated as a new claim. You must wait for 3 days before getting a payment and your cumulative total of days starts from the first day of payment.
You can read more about linking claims including information on linking to a different scheme (such as Illness Benefit) and linking to an earlier JB claim through a different scheme or period spent in training or on an employment scheme.
Short-term employment or training
The Department of Social Protection operates a fast-tracking system for people who sign off to take up work for a short period (up to 12 weeks) or to go on a short training course (up to 12 weeks). This ensures that your payment is re-instated without delay. It is important that you inform your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office before you start work or training. Your Rent Supplement claim can also be suspended for up to 12 weeks.
Rate of Jobseeker's Benefit
You should apply for Jobseeker's Benefit the first day you become unemployed. It is important to apply on the first day you become unemployed because you will not get paid for the first 3 days of your claim.
Jobseeker's Benefit weekly rate 2023
|Average weekly earnings||Maximum personal rate||Increase for an adult dependant||Increase for a child dependant|
|Less than €150||€98.70||€94.50||Child aged under 12
€42 (full rate), €21 (half rate)
Child aged 12 and over
€50 (full rate), €25 (half rate)
|€150 - €219.99||€141.90|
|€220 - €299.99||€172.30|
|€300 or more||€220||€146|
Average weekly earnings
Jobseeker's Benefit rates are based on your earnings in the relevant tax year. Your average weekly earnings are your gross yearly earnings from employment divided by the number of Class A, H or P paid contributions in the relevant tax year.
The relevant tax year is 2 years before the year of your claim. For example, if you claim Jobseeker's Benefit in 2023 the relevant tax year is 2021. If you qualify for a reduced JB payment, it may be of greater benefit for you to claim Jobseeker's Allowance instead of Jobseeker's Benefit.
If you had no earnings from work but got the Pandemic Unemployment Payment in 2021, you will meet the average weekly earnings requirement and get the maximum rate of Jobseeker’s Benefit. However, if you had earnings from work in 2021, your average weekly earnings will be calculated by dividing your gross yearly earnings by the number of paid contributions.
Your payment can be reduced if you refuse or fail to attend meetings requested by the Department or if you refuse or fail to participate in an appropriate employment support scheme, work experience or training. You can find out about sanctions for not meeting the conditions of your jobseeker's payment.
Proposed changes to rates in late 2024
The Government has proposed a new Pay-Related Jobseeker’s Benefit System to be introduced in late 2024. This page will be updated as more detail becomes available.
The table below includes the new proposed rates.
Paid PRSI Contributions
Weekly payment rate
How long you will get the payment
5 years or more
60% of previous earnings, up to a max of €450
First 3 months
55% of previous earnings, up to a max of €375
Next 3 months
50% of previous earnings, up to a max of €300
Final 3 months
2 to 5 years
50% of previous earnings, up to a max of €300
Up to 6 months
The minimum payment you can get is €125 per week. Self-employed people will continue to be covered by the existing Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) Scheme.
Claiming for dependants with Jobseeker's Benefit
If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is dependent on you or is on a low income, you may be able to claim an Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA). The table below explains how much you can get, depending on their income.
Spouse, civil partner or cohabitant income
Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA)
€0 to €100
€100 to €310
Reduced rate of IQA
No increase in Jobseeker’s Benefit
You can look at our pages on Claiming for an adult dependant and Jobseeker's Benefit and work to find out more. If you have dependent children you may also be able to claim an increase in your payment for them.
You can collect your Jobseeker's Benefit payment weekly from your nearest post office.
You must bring valid photo ID 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.
Taxation of Jobseeker's Benefit
Jobseeker's Benefit is taxable. However, if you are getting Jobseeker's Benefit because your normal working week has been reduced temporarily ( Short-time Work Support), your Jobseeker's Benefit is not taxed. If you are working part-time and getting Jobseeker’s Benefit for the days you are not employed, your Jobseeker’s Benefit is taxable. Find out more about the taxation of Jobseeker's Benefit and the taxation of JB for systematic short-time workers.
If you are getting Jobseeker's Benefit, you may be entitled to:
- Rent Supplement - a payment under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme.
- Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance - an allowance to help with the cost of uniforms and footwear for children who are attending school.
- Medical card - if your income is below a certain level, you may get a medical card.
When to apply for Jobseeker's Benefit
You should apply for Jobseeker's Benefit the first day you become unemployed. Jobseeker's Benefit is not paid for the first 3 days you are unemployed (the first 3 days are any 3 days, not necessarily consecutive, in a period of 7 consecutive days).
If you are unemployed for a second time within 26 weeks of your last JB payment, your application for Jobseeker's Benefit is not treated as a new claim and you do not have another 3 days of non-payment. See 'Linking claims' above.
More information is available in our page about signing on for the first time.
If you think you have been wrongly refused Jobseeker's Benefit you can appeal the decision.
How to apply for Jobseeker's Benefit
You can apply for Jobseekers Benefit online at MyWelfare.ie. When you log in, you will be asked for some personal and financial information, as well as details of your employment, training or education history. You will also be asked to upload or post any supporting documents that are needed.
You must have a verified MyGovID account to apply online.
Find out more about applying online for social welfare payments and services.
If it is your first time applying you fill in form UP 1. You can get an application form at your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office
If you are making a repeat claim (less than 6 months since your last claim), you complete form UP 6 (pdf). Application forms are also available from your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.
You will also need certain documents when you apply for Jobseeker's Benefit. If you do not have these documents to hand, you should apply anyway and supply them later. You should remember that delay in applying for Jobseeker's Benefit may mean that you lose out on your full entitlements.
You can get help to fill in your application form at your Intreo Centre, Social Welfare Branch Office or Citizens Information Centre.