Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed)

Introduction

Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) (JBSE) is a weekly payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) to people who lose their self-employment.

If you don't qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) you may qualify for Jobseeker's Allowance.

Budget 2021

From January 2021, the weekly rate for a qualified child will increase for children under 12 by €2 from €36 to €38. It will increase for children aged 12 and over by €5 from €40 to €45.

COVID-19 (coronavirus)

If your employment (or self-employment) has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, or if you are sick or caring for someone who is sick, read our document on COVID-19 (coronavirus) and social welfare payments.

The DEASP announced on 14 March 2020 that applications should be made either online or by post where possible. In most cases you will not have to go to an Intreo office in person.

During the coronavirus restrictions, people on jobseeker’s payments do not have to sign on at Intreo offices.

Rules for Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed)

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

  • Be aged between 18 and 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 (you can work as an employee for up to 3 days each week)
  • Be capable of work
  • Be available for and genuinely seeking full-time work
  • Have enough social insurance (PRSI) contributions

You can read more about the conditions for getting a jobseeker's payment and about the employment services that the DEASP offers to jobseekers.

Social insurance (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 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 2020, the relevant tax year is 2018.

Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) and work

To get Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) you must stop all self-employment activity. However, you can work as an employee for up to 3 days each week and get Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed).

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 you are employed, 1/5th of the normal rate of Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) is deducted. For example, if you get part-time work for 2 days, you will get 3/5ths of the normal rate for that week and you get part-time work for 3 days, you will get 2/5ths of the normal rate for the week. You must still be unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7 to claim Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed). You can read FAQS about the 5-day working week on welfare.ie.

There is an exemption from some of the rules for retained firefighters. More information is available about work and Jobseeker’s Benefit.

How long can I get paid Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed)?

Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) is paid for 9 months (39 weeks) for people with 260 or more Class S PRSI contributions. It is paid for 6 months (26 weeks) for people with fewer than 260 Class S PRSI contributions.

There are some special provisions for older jobseekers. 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.

For JB (Self-Employed)
Number of contributions Duration of claim
260 or more 39 weeks (9 months)
Less than 260 26 weeks (6 months)

Re-qualifying for Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed)

You can re-qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) 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.

Linking claims

If you claim Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) for a period, sign off and then claim it again within 26 weeks, your claim may be linked to the earlier claim. This means that your claim is not treated as a new claim and:

  • The cumulative total of days from the previous claim is continued (so, for example, if you have used up 100 days of your total entitlement of 234 days you have 134 days remaining on your claim)
  • The rate is the same rate payable as on the previous claim, unless there has been a budgetary increase or change in family circumstances (such as a new child dependant).

Disqualification

You may be disqualified from getting Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) for 9 weeks if you have received moneys from the sale or disposal of your business in excess of an amount set by the DEASP.

Students

To get Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) you must be at least 18 years of age and you must have been out of school for 3 months.

Third-level students cannot claim Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) while they are studying full-time. This disqualification also applies to the summer holiday periods between academic years.

Rate of Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed)

Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) weekly rates 2020

Average weekly earnings Personal rate Increase for an adult dependant Increase for a qualified child
€300 or more €203 €134.70

€36 for a child aged under 12 years

€40 for a child aged 12 years or over

€220 - €299.99 €159

€87.20

€150 - €219.99 €131
less than €150 €91.10

You get a personal rate and may get an increase for an adult dependant and child dependant. Your average weekly earnings do not affect the amount you get for a child dependant.

Average weekly earnings

Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) rates are graduated according to your earnings in the relevant tax year. Your average weekly earnings are your gross weekly income in the relevant tax year divided by the number of Class S contributions paid in that year.

The relevant tax year is the second-last complete tax year before the year in which your claim is made. For example, if you claim Jobseeker's Benefit in 2020 the relevant tax year is 2018. If you only qualify for a reduced payment, it may be of greater benefit for you to claim Jobseeker's Allowance instead of Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed).

Penalty rates

Your payment can be reduced if you refuse or fail to attend meetings requested by the DEASP 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.

Getting paid

Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed) can be paid directly into your account with a financial institution or you can collect your payment weekly from your nearest post office.

Staff working in the post office may ask to see your photo ID before giving you your payment. The following is valid photo ID:

Taxation of Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed)

Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) is taxable.

Extra benefits

If you are getting Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed), you may be entitled to:

You do not qualify for the Household Benefits Package or Free Travel with Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed).

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

If your employment (or self-employment) has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, or if you are sick or caring for someone who is sick, read our document on COVID-19 (coronavirus) and social welfare payments.

You should apply for Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) the first day you become unemployed. You can bring or post your completed Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) application from (UP1) (pdf)

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

If you think you have been wrongly refused Jobseeker's Benefit you can appeal the decision.

Where to apply

If your employment (or self-employment) has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, or if you are sick or caring for someone who is sick, read our document on COVID-19 (coronavirus) and social welfare payments.

You should apply for Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed) to your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.

Page edited: 14 October 2020