Know Your Rights: Jobseeker’s Benefit For Self-Employed People

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Know Your Rights has been compiled by Kerry Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public…

Question: I have run my own company for several years, but things have become very difficult lately. I’ve always understood that being self-employed meant that I didn’t qualify for unemployment benefits but I heard that there have been changes lately. Will I qualify for social welfare if my business goes bust?

Answer: You may qualify for the new Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) (JBSE), if you are no longer self-employed.

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To qualify for JBSE, you must have lost your self-employment involuntarily and not because of a temporary shutdown or seasonal closure. However, you do not have to cancel your registration for taxes with Revenue to qualify.

You must also be:

• Aged between 18 and 66
• Unemployed – you can work as an employee for up to 3 days per week and still be considered unemployed
• Capable of work – if you have an illness or injury, you may qualify for a different social welfare payment and should talk to your GP and local Citizens Information Centre or INTREO office.
• Genuinely seeking full-time work

You must also satisfy the social insurance (PRSI) contributions conditions. 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 governing contribution year. This is the second-last complete tax year before the year in which your claim is made. So, for claims made in 2020, the governing contribution year is 2018.

If you do not qualify for JBSE, you may get Jobseeker’s Allowance.

If you have 260 or more Class S PRSI contributions, you can get JBSE for up to 9 months. If you have fewer than 260 Class S PRSI contributions, you can get JBSE for up to 6 months.

If you are over 65, you may continue to be paid until your 66th birthday, even if your claim is due to end before that date.

The maximum rate for JBSE in 2020 is €203. You may be entitled to an increase for your spouse or partner, and children.

You should apply as soon as you are no longer self-employed. To apply, you fill out a UP1 application form and bring it to your local Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

• Contact us in Tralee on Tel: 0761 07 7860 Killarney 0761 07 7820, Listowel 0761 07 7840 Kenmare 0761 07 7810, & Caherciveen 0761 07 7780. Outreach Services; Killorglin weekly, Dingle monthly, please call Tralee for more information.

Information is also available online at and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000

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