Losing Your Job

Introduction

If you are unemployed, you may be paid either Jobseeker's Allowance (JA) or Jobseeker's Benefit (JB). Both payments are paid by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP).

You may get Jobseeker's Allowance if you don't qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit or if you have used up your entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit. In some cases, if you are only entitled to a reduced rate of Jobseeker's Benefit you may be better off on Jobseeker's Allowance. (This is known as Optional JA). However, Jobseeker's Allowance is means-tested, and your means must be below a certain level to qualify.

The Jobseeker’s Transitional payment (JST) is a special arrangement under the Jobseeker’s Allowance scheme that aims to support lone parents into the workforce while they have young children. This payment is available to people parenting alone whose youngest child is aged between 7 and 13 years inclusive.

>> back to top


Losing your job

Short-Time

A short-time situation occurs when there is a reduction in the amount of work available, and applies where the reduction to your pay or hours is less than half the normal weekly amount of your normal pay/hours.

Short-time is a change to your terms and conditions of employment and must be agreed with you. This must be a temporary situation and your employer must notify you before the reduction in hours/pay starts.

Lay-off

A lay-off situation arises where your employer is temporarily unable to provide work for you. Your employer can lay you off if it is in your contract of employment or it is custom and practice in your workplace.

Lay-off is a change to your terms and conditions of employment and must be agreed with you, unless it is a term of the contract or if it is custom and practice in the industry. This must be a temporary situation and your employer must notify you before the reduction in hours/pay starts.

Redundancy (Short-Time and Lay-off)

If you do not agree to Short-time or Lay-off your employer could seek to make you redundant.

If a short-time or lay-off situation exists and has continued for 4 weeks or more, or for 6 weeks in the last 13 weeks, and your employer cannot guarantee you at least 13 weeks employment, at your full hours and rate of pay, you may be able to claim redundancy.

This is considered voluntary redundancy and you are not entitled to notice or pay in lieu of notice. It is the responsibility of the employer to pay statutory redundancy to all its eligible employees.

Where an employer can prove to the satisfaction of the Department that he/she is unable to pay the statutory redundancy to his/her employees the Department will make lump sum payments directly to the employees and will seek to recover the debt from the employer. If claiming a redundancy lump sum payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection you will need to complete the RP50 application form which must be signed by the employee and employer.

If your employer is unable to pay your redundancy lump sum, they should follow the steps below:

  • Complete and submit the RP50 form online,
  • Print a copy of the completed form and get the employer and employee to sign it,
  • Post the signed form to the Redundancy and Insolvency Section of the DEASP – see “Where to apply below”. (Include a letter with the form from an accountant or solicitor stating that the employer is unable to pay the redundancy lump sum and is accepting liability for 100% of the lump sum owing to the Social Insurance Fund. Documentary evidence such as audited accounts should also be included).

There is no limit on the number of times an employer may put an employee on short-time or lay-off, as long as the employer can guarantee at least 13 weeks employment. However, if it becomes apparent that the short-time or lay-off is no longer temporary then the situation could be considered a redundancy.

Employed – for 104 weeks continuously

  • Employees who have more than 104 week’s continuous service in insurable employment for all benefits under the Social Welfare Acts and are made redundant as a result of a genuine redundancy situation are entitled to a Statutory Redundancy payment by law.

Employed – for less than 104 weeks continuously

  •  Employees who have less than 104 weeks continuous service are not entitled to a Statutory Redundancy payment.

>> back to top


Jobseeker's Allowance and work

You must be unemployed to get Jobseeker’s Allowance. You must also be capable of, available for, and genuinely seeking full-time work to qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance – and you must be able to show evidence of this to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. However, there are circumstances in which you can do some work and get Jobseeker’s Allowance. Income from work affects the amount of Jobseeker’s Allowance you get.

If you get part-time or casual work (up to and including 3 days per week), you may still be paid Jobseeker's Allowance for the other days. However, you must show that you are trying to get full-time employment. If your employer reduces your days at work to 3 days week or less, you may get Jobseeker's Allowance for the other days. You must meet the other conditions that apply to Jobseeker's Allowance, for example, you must satisfy a means test.

If you have been getting long-term Jobseeker's Allowance (over 390 days or 15 months) and you take up part-time work for less than 24 hours a week you may be eligible for the Part-time Job Incentive Scheme (PTJI). This scheme allows you to take up part-time work and get a special weekly allowance instead of your jobseeker’s payment.

Find out more about how income from work is assessed for Jobseeker’s Allowance. You can also take up to two weeks holiday in a year and continue to get your payment.

If you are getting JA, you can use a benefit of work estimator from the DEASP to help you assess the financial consequences of taking up full-time work. The Reckoner works out the total amount you would receive on taking up full-time work (including any Working Family Payment) and compares this to what you are getting in jobseeker payments (including Rent Supplement). A Back to Work Family Dividend is available for lone parents and long-term jobseeker families with children who find or return to work.

 

Self-employment

If you are self-employed, you may be entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance, depending on your income from your business. Self-employed farmers on a low income can apply for Farm Assist.

Artists

Under a pilot scheme launched in June 2017, self-employed visual artists and writers who apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance will not be subject to the activation process for at least 12 months. All other scheme conditions will apply, including the means test. To participate in this programme, artists will need a certificate from a relevant professional body. If you are a visual artist, the body that issues certificates confirming professional status is Visual Artists Ireland. If you are a writer, the Irish Writers Centre is the relevant body.

>> back to top


 

Means test

Jobseeker’s Allowance is a means-tested payment. Your means must be below a certain level to get Jobseeker’s Allowance. A means test looks at all your household sources of income including your spouse’s, civil partner’s or cohabitant's income. (A cohabitant is a person living in an intimate and committed relationship with a person of the same or opposite sex who is not that person’s spouse, civil partner, or a close relative.)

However, some income may not be taken into account. Your total household means is deducted from the maximum payment for your household's circumstances to find the actual amount of Jobseeker’s Allowance you are entitled to.

If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is getting a social welfare payment in his or her own right (with some exceptions) or is on a Further Education and Training (FET) course or VTOS course and getting an allowance you will not get an Increase for a Qualified Adult but you will get a half-rate increase for any qualified children. A limitation applies which means that if you are claiming Jobseeker's Allowance and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is getting certain social welfare payments, the total amount paid to you as a couple cannot be more than the maximum amount that would be paid to one person (including adult and child dependants) on one social welfare payment. Find out more about the means test for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

You can claim an increase for your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant while they are taking part in a Community Employment (CE),Tús or Gateway scheme. Their earnings from the scheme are assessed in the same way as earnings from insurable employment (and your combined means are not halved).

If you are 24 years of age or under and you are living with a parent or a step-parent in the family home, some of your parents' income will also be taken into account in the assessment for Jobseeker's Allowance. The Department call this an assessment of the 'benefit and privilege' you get from living with your parents. 

>> back to top


Disqualification and reduction in payment

You may be disqualified from getting Jobseeker's Allowance for 9 weeks if you:

  • Left work voluntarily and without just cause
  • Lost your job through misconduct
  • Refused an offer of suitable employment or training - if you have been on a penalty rate of JA for at least 21 days

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 (see also Penalty rates below). 

Students

If you have just left school, you cannot get Jobseeker's Allowance. To get Jobseeker's Allowance you must have been out of school for 3 months and you must be at least 18 years of age.

Third-level students cannot claim Jobseeker's Allowance or Benefit while they are studying full-time. This disqualification also applies to the summer holiday periods between academic years (unless you are a mature student). However, once you have finished college permanently you can claim a jobseeker's payment if you cannot find work. This is also the case if you leave college without finishing your course.

The 3 month disqualification rule does not apply to Youthreach participants.

Short-term employment or training

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection operates a fast-tracking system for people who sign off a jobseeker's payment 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 in advance that you are taking up work or training. Your Rent Supplement claim can also be suspended for up to 12 weeks.

>> back to top


Rates

Jobseeker's Allowance rates from January 2020
AgeMaximum personal rateIncrease for a qualified adultIncrease for a qualified child aged under 12Increase for a qualified child aged 12 and over
Aged 26 and over€203.00€134.70€36.00 (full-rate)

€18.00 (half-rate)

40.00 (full-rate)

€20.00 (half-rate)

Aged 25€157.80€134.70

No dependent children

Aged 18-24€112.70€112.70No dependent children

Reduced personal and qualified adult rates of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) for people under 26 do not apply to the following claimants:

  • People with dependent children
  • People transferring from Disability Allowance to JA
  • People who were in the care of the Child and Family Agency during the 12 months before reaching 18. These people are assessed using the JA rate for people aged 26 and over.

If you were getting an age-related reduced rate of JA and you take part in a course of education, training or an employment support scheme the appropriate personal rate of payment applicable to that course or scheme will apply as long as you are aged under 26. When you complete the course you will go back to your previous age-related JA rate.

All Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) participants aged under 26 who were getting a reduced age-related Jobseeker’s Allowance payment, get a maximum BTEA rate of €203 per week. Any means you have are deducted from this rate.

Penalty rates

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.

>> back to top


Payments for dependants

If you qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance you get an amount for yourself, which is called the 'personal rate of payment'. You may also get an increase in your payment for an adult dependant and any child dependants you may have.

Child dependants

A child dependant is usually a child up to 18 years of age who lives with you.

If you have been getting Jobseeker’s Allowance for at least 156 days and your child is in full-time education, an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) will be paid up to 22 years of age or up to the end of the academic year in which he or she reaches 22. You will only get a half-rate IQC if you and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant are both getting a social welfare payment. You will each get a half-rate IQC.

Adult dependants

You may get an Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA) for an adult dependant (this is usually your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant). If you are single, widowed, divorced, separated, a former civil partner or not living with your civil partner, and living with a person aged 16 or over, you can claim an IQA for them but only if he or she is caring for a child dependant of yours.

If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant works or is taking part in a Community Employment (CE scheme), Tús or Gateway their earnings from insurable employment are assessed in the same way as your earnings from part-time or casual work. Find out more about work and Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Getting paid

You can collect your Jobseeker’s Allowance payment weekly from your nearest Post Office. You must bring valid photographic identification (photo ID) with you to collect your payment. The following is considered to be valid photo ID:

  • Public Services Card
  • Driving licence
  • Passport
  • Irish Residence Permit card
  • EU/EEA nationals may use a National Identity Card

Staff working in the Post Office may ask to see your photo ID before giving you your payment.

>> back to top


Other benefits

If you are getting Jobseeker’s Allowance, you may be entitled to:

  • Rent Supplement - a payment that helps with the cost of your rent.
  • Fuel Allowance - a weekly payment between October and April to help with fuel costs. Fuel Allowance is payable to people who have been getting a jobseeker’s payment for 390 days, if they satisfy the relevant qualifying conditions. Days of unemployment on Jobseeker's Benefit count towards the 390 days if the Jobseeker’s Benefit claim was immediately before the award of Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance - a payment 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.

You do not qualify for the Household Benefits Package or Free Travel with Jobseeker’s Allowance.

How to apply

You should apply for Jobseeker's Allowance as soon as you become unemployed. It is important to apply as soon as you become unemployed because you will not get paid for the first 3 days of your claim. If your claim is linked to a previous claim for Jobseeker's Allowance, you may be paid for the first 3 days.

If you make a late claim, it may be backdated if you provide good evidence for the delay.

Jobseeker's Allowance application forms are available online. You can also get an application form from 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 UP6 (pdf).

You will need to bring certain documents with you when you apply for Jobseeker's Allowance.

You can get help with filling in your application form at your Intreo Centre, Social Welfare Branch Office or nearest Citizens Information Centre.

More information is available in our document about signing on for the first time.

If you think you have been wrongly refused Jobseeker's Allowance you can appeal the decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

Where to apply

You should apply for Jobseeker's Allowance to your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.

>> back to top


Contact Us

Telephone

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.

Online

Use the online Contact Us form on the INOU website

E-mail

You can send your query directly to us by e-mail at welfare@inou.ie