Jobseeker's Benefit (JB) is a social insurance payment. It is paid by the Department of Social Protection on the basis that you are unemployed, that you meet the general qualification criteria, as outlined below, and that you have enough PRSI contributions or 'stamps' to qualify for a social insurance payment. This payment is not means tested
If you have been self-employed, for example a sub-contractor in the building industry, you may have been paying a Class S contribution. You cannot claim Jobseeker's Benefit with Class S contributions, but may be able to claim Jobseeker's Allowance subject to a means test. The only exception to this rule is if you have the correct number of contributions and were self-employed under a contract of service. Please contact the INOU at 01 -856 0088 for more information.
To qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit you must:
- Be unemployed
- Be under pension age (66)
- Be capable of work
- Be available for full-time work
- Be genuinely seeking work
- Have sustained a substantial loss of employment
- Satisfy the contribution conditions
Duration of Payment
Jobseeker's Benefit is normally paid for 12 months, after which time you may qualify for Jobseeker's Allowance. If you have less than 260 PRSI contributions paid since first entering employment Jobseeker's Benefit will only be paid for 9 months instead of the full 12 months.
To qualify for JB your PRSI record must include:
- 104 paid contributions since you first started work (Prior to January 2009, 52 weeks were required)
- 39 paid or credited contributions in the relevant tax/ contribution year (From January 2009 13 must be paid in the relevant tax year or certain other periods) or 26 paid contributions in relevant tax year AND 26 paid contributions in year prior to relevant tax year, and
- you must have lost at least one days employment and earnings.
If you are unsure about your PRSI record, you can contact the PRSI Section at the Department of Social Protection for more information: 01 - 704 3000 or 01-6797777. Please be aware that department officials may not be able to give out certain information about your Social Welfare/PRSI record under the Freedom of Information Act.
This is the calendar year in which you are making your claim for Jobseeker's Benefit. It starts on the first Monday in January, and runs from January to December.
Governing Contribution Year
In order to qualify for Jobseeker' Benefit you must have the required number of PRSI contributions in the governing contribution year (GCY) - this is the second-last full tax year before the benefit year.
|Benefit Year||Contribution/Tax Year|
|1st Monday January 2008||1st January 2006 - 31st December 2006|
|1st Monday January 2009||1st January 2007 - 31st December 2007|
|1st Monday January 2010||1st January 2008 - 31st December 2008|
If your employment in the relevant year was in another EU country or as a volunteer development worker abroad, you will receive the top rate of payment. If you did not earn any money in that year, but were getting credits, you will receive the minimum rate of payment.
Requalifying for Jobseeker's Benefit
If you have used up your entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit, you may requalify for JB by working and paying the appropriate PRSI contributions for at least 13 weeks. (You can start building up these 13 contributions after the 156th day on Jobseeker's Benefit).
Social Insurance and Work in the European Union
Your social insurance record from another EU country may help you qualify for a Jobseeker's Benefit payment in Ireland. However, in order to use your record from abroad you must have paid at least one reckonable (class A, H or P) PRSI contribution in Ireland since your return to Ireland.
Claiming JB in another EU country
You can transfer up to 13 weeks of your JB payment to another EU country provided you are looking for work in that country. You must have been getting JB here for at least 4 weeks before you go. Ask your local Social Welfare Office about transferring JB at least a month before you intend travelling.
Last Updated: 14/06/2012