Older people and jobseeker's payments

Introduction

There are some special administrative provisions in place for older jobseekers. These provisions aim to help people during the transition from the labour force into retirement. These provisions recognise that older jobseekers may have more difficulty re-training and re-entering the workplace if they lose their job when they are near to retirement age. If you have to retire at 65, you will not get a State pension until you are 66. However, you may still qualify for a benefit payment at 65.

You can also read about Early retirement.

COVID-19 (coronavirus)

During the coronavirus restrictions, people on jobseeker’s payments do not have to sign on at Intreo offices.

If your employment (or self-employment) has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, or if you are sick or caring for someone who is sick, read our document on COVID-19 (coronavirus) and social welfare payments.

You can read our document on Employment rights during the COVID-19 restrictions.

The DSP announced on 14 March that applications should be made either online or by post where possible. In most cases you will not have to go to an Intreo office in person.

If you have coronavirus symptoms or are medically required to self-isolate, you should apply for Illness Benefit.

Jobseeker’s Benefit for people over 65

As a general rule, Jobseeker's Benefit (JB) is paid for either 9 months or 6 months. However, if you are aged between 65 and 66 when your JB would normally end, you can continue to get it until the age of 66, provided you meet the PRSI requirements. Find out more about qualifying for a payment at 65.

Other arrangements for older jobseekers

Since 1 January 2014, if you are claiming Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance and are aged 62 or over, you will no longer be required to engage with the compulsory activation process (see below) and you will not be subject to penalty rates for non-engagement. (All other rules for Jobseeker's Benefit or Allowance still apply.)

However, if you are already engaged in activation (selected and referred for engagement) or if you are currently taking part in an activation programme (such as Community Employment, JobPath or training courses), you are expected to complete the programme. If you leave activation programmes before completion, your jobseeker's payment may be reduced.

You can voluntarily avail of a range of supports (for example, training or employment support programmes) from the Department of Social Protection.

What is activation?

Labour market activation policies are designed to give jobseekers a better chance of finding employment. The Department of Social Protection describes activation as its engagement with jobseekers to support them back into employment. Jobseekers are expected to fully engage with this process and use the supports offered during the activation process which might include education or training schemes, employment support schemes to help them back into the workplace, internships and other supports.

People who do not engage with the activation process may have their payment reduced and can subsequently be disqualified from their payment for up to 9 weeks.

Read more about the conditions that apply to your jobseekers’ payment.

In addition, most jobseekers aged 62 or over will be placed on a yearly signing arrangement with their Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office (this means that they do not need to sign on regularly) and most will be transferred to Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) payments so payment can be made directly into their bank account. Certain categories of older jobseekers may be required to engage more frequently with their Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office. For example, casual jobseekers of 62 and older must continue to submit weekly dockets of their work patterns.

Note that to qualify for either Jobseeker’s Benefit or Allowance you must be genuinely seeking work and be available for full-time employment and these conditions continue to apply to all jobseekers.

Page edited: 8 February 2021