Jobseekers Benefit Self-Employed


If you are self-employed and suffer a substantial loss of employment you may seek to claim a Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) payment. However you must satisfy the standard PRSI Contribution requirements for Jobseeker’s Benefit as well as (among others) the ‘Genuinely Seeking Work’ condition. If you do not satisfy the PRSI requirements for Jobseeker’s Benefit, you may qualify for a Jobseeker’s Allowance payment which is subject to a number of conditions including a means test, Genuinely Seeking Work and the Habitual Residence Condition (HRC).

How to Qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed)

To qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-employed) you must:

  • Be over 18 and under pension age (66)
  • No longer be self-employed. You must have lost your self-employment involuntarily and not because of a temporary shutdown or seasonal closure
  • Be unemployed
  • Be capable of work
  • Be available for work
  • Be genuinely seeking work
  • Have enough social insurance (PRSI) contributions

You do not need to de-register as self-employed, close your business premises or sell your equipment/materials or tools in order to qualify for a Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) payment. You will not receive any Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) payment for the days you are engaged in self-employment, but you may receive payment for the other days you are not engaged in self-employment.

Rates of Payment

Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) weekly rates 2024

Average weekly earningsPersonal rateIncrease for an adult dependantIncrease for a qualified child
€300 or more€232€154


€46 for a child aged under 12 years


€54 for a child aged 12 years or over

€220 - €299.99€181.70


€150 - €219.99€149.60
less than €150€104.10


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Duration of Payment

Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) is normally paid for a maximum of 9 months, for people with 260 or more Class S PRSI contributions. If you have less than 260 Class S PRSI contributions paid since first entering employment, Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) will only be paid for 6 months instead of the full 9 months.

People over 65 who are claiming Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) may continue to be paid until their 66th birthday even if their claim is due to end before that date.

Number of contributionsDuration of claim
260 or more39 weeks (9 months)
Less than 26026 weeks (6 months)

PRSI Contributions

To qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed), you must pay Class S PRSI. Class S is the one paid by self-employed people. Class A or H PRSI contributions can also help you to qualify.

To qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) you need:

  • At least 156 weeks of Class S contributionsorat least 104 weeks of paid Class A or H PRSI since first starting work
  • 52 weeks of Class S contributions paid in the relevant 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 2022, the relevant tax year is 2020.

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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 - 679 7777. 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.

Requalifying for Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed)

If you have used up your entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit (Self- Employed) you can re-qualify if you:

  • Have used up your full Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) entitlement (either 9 or 6 months)
  • Have not claimed Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) for at least 12 months
  • Have at least 52 weeks of Class S contributions paid since your Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) claim ended.

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Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) and work

If you are in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed), you must stop all self-employment activity. You can take up employment for up to 3 days each week and still retain yourJobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) payment.

If you are working for part of a week, your payment will be based on a 5-day payment week. This means that for each day that a person is unemployed, one-fifth of the normal rate of Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) is payable.

For example, if you get part-time work for 2 days, you will get three-fifths of the normal Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) for that week. You must still be unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7 to claim Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed).

How to Apply for Jobseeker's Benefit

If you are making a new claim for Jobseeker's Benefit you will be referred to the Intreo service. The Intreo service will seek to help you with your employment and income support services needs.

Intreo will provide a personal service, based on your individual needs, including: advice on education, training and personal development opportunities; job search assistance; and information on and access to a range of income supports.

Find your local office here

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Contact Us


You can speak, in complete confidence, to an Information Officer in the Information and Advocacy section directly at 01 - 856 0088 , Monday - Thursday 9.30 am to 5.00 pm and Friday 9.30am to 4.00pm.


Use the online Contact Us forms on the INOU website

Updated: 09/01/2024