Jobseekers Benefit (JB)


Jobseeker’s Benefit is a weekly payment made by the Department of Social Protection to unemployed jobseeker’s who are out of work, meet the general qualification criteria, as outlined below, and have enough PRSI contributions to qualify for this social insurance payment.

You can receive a payment for yourself (main claimant), your spouse / civil partner / co-habitant (Qualified Adult) and any dependant children (Qualified Child) - see Rates of Payment below.

Your payment, as the main claimant, is not means tested and is not affected by any savings, investments or the ownership of property other than your own home you may have.

Your spouse’s, civil partner’s or cohabitant's income can affect how much you will recieve in your Jobseeker's Benefit payment for him or her as a qualified adult (QA). Their income from employment or self-employment may affect their portion of your payment. Any other addition income they may have or the value of any property, savings and investments they have may also affect the payment you might receive for them.

Jobseeker's Benefit is not paid for the first 3 days of your claim.

>> back to top

How to Qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit 

In order to qualify for a Jobseeker's Benefit payment you must satisfy the following conditions:

  • 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 PRSI contribution conditions

It is extremely important that you have your application organised before approaching the Department of Social Protection to make a claim for a Jobseekers payment.

>> back to top

Jobseeker's Benefit and PUP

During the coronavirus restrictions, people on jobseeker’s Benefit do not have to sign on at their local Intreo office.

If you became fully unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 emergency, you can claim PUP. If your days at work have been reduced, you do not qualify for PUP. If you have lost your job and have dependants, you may get a higher payment if you apply for Jobseeker's Benefit instead of PUP. This is because PUP does not pay anything extra for dependants. Your dependants include your spouse or partner and your children.

Click here for more info

Rates of Payment

Jobseeker's Benefit weekly rate 2024

Average weekly earningsMaximum personal rateIncrease for an adult dependantIncrease for a child dependant
Less than €150€104.10€99.70Child aged under 12

€46 (full rate), €23 (half rate)


Child aged 12 and over

€54 (full rate), €27 (half rate)

€150 - €219.99€149.60
€220 - €299.99€181.70
€300 or more€232€154


>> back to top

Duration of Payment

Jobseeker's Benefit is normally paid for a maximum of 9 months, after which time you may apply for the means tested Jobseeker's Allowance payment. If you have less than 260 PRSI contributions paid since first entering employment Jobseeker's Benefit will only be paid for 6 months instead of the full 9 months.

PRSI Contributions

To qualify for JB your PRSI record must include:

At least 104 paid contributions (class A, H or P PRSI) since you first started work, and

  • Have 39 paid or credited contributions in the relevant tax year (of which at least 13 must be paid)


  • Have 26 paid contributions in the relevant tax year and 26 paid contributions in the year immediately preceding it.

*If you do not have 13 paid contributions in the relevant tax year the following years can be used to meet the condition: The two tax years before the relevant tax year; the last complete tax year; the current tax year.

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.

Self-employed people

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 contributions or at 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 2021, the relevant tax year is 2019.

See Jobseekers Benefit (Self-Employed) for more information. 

Benefit Year

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 Governing Contribution Year
Benefit YearContribution/Tax Year
1st Monday January 20211st January 2019 - 31st December 2019
1st Monday January 20221st January 2020 - 31st December 2020
1st Monday January 20231st January 2021 - 31st December 2021


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.

>> back to top

How to Apply for Jobseeker's Benefit

Intreo Service

If you are making a new claim for Jobseeker's Benefit you will be referred to the Intreo service at the Department of Social Protection. 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.

List of Intreo Centres here

>> back to top

Return to Work Supports

The Department of Social Protection operate a number of schemes to support Jobseekers to Return to Work, these include:

Self-Employment Options

The Department of Social Protection operate a number of schemes to support Jobseekers in exploring Self-Employment opportunities, these include:

Education and Training Options

There a number of Education and Training options available to people in reciept of Jobseeker's Benefit payments, these include:

Back to Education Allowance - Second-level option

Back to Education Allowance - Third-level option

Part-time Education Option

Education information here

>> back to top


Intreo - Employment and Income Supports

Intreo is a service from the Department of Social Protection to help with your employment and income support services needs.

Intreo will provide a personalised service, based on your individual needs including; advice on education, training and personal development opportunities, job search assistance as well as information on and access to a range of income supports , including Jobseeker's Benefit payments

Intreo can provide the following services and supports to Jobseekers

  • Employment services and income supports available in one place.
  • Expert assistance and advice on employment, training and personal development opportunities.
  • A focus on your individual needs to assist you entering the workforce.
  • Self-service facilities to provide you with information and guidance on employment and training opportunities.
  • Access to information on job vacancies through
  • Information on the full range of income supports provided by the Department of Social Protection, for example, jobseeker’s payments, back to work and back to education payments, one-parent family payments, pensions and others. Also, any queries in relation to your jobseekers or one-parent family payment will continue to be dealt with by the team in your Intreo Centre .

For more information on Intreo visit the Intreo section of Department of Social Protection website.

>> back to top

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

>> back to top

Updated: 09/01/2024