Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Ireland - Unemployment benefits

When can I claim?

If you are unemployed you may be eligible for Jobseeker’s Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or a Redundancy Payment.

If you lose your job because you were fired for misconduct or if you refuse another job offer, you can be disqualified from claiming for a certain time.

If you lose your job because your employer went out of business or is changing the type of skills they need from their workforce, then you have been made redundant. Most insured people will be covered by Ireland’s redundancy payments scheme. Depending on your age, how long you worked for your employer and the rate of pay you were on, you may be entitled to a lump sum payment from your employer.

What conditions do I need to meet?

To claim Jobseeker’s Benefit you will need to have paid ‘contributions’ into your Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI). Most employees, self-employed people and apprentices over 16 are insured through the payment of contributions. There are 3 waiting days before the benefit starts.

You must be:

  • Capable of and available for work
  • Genuinely seeking work
  • Over 18 and under 66

There can be special rules for people commuting across borders, living and working in different countries, but social insurance contributions paid in an EU country or other countries covered by EU Regulations will be added to your Irish contributions.

Job seeker’s Allowance is not based on contributions but is means tested. You will need to be habitually resident.

To get Jobseeker's Allowance you must:

  • Be unemployed (you must be fully unemployed or unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7);
  • Be over 18 and under 66 years of age;
  • Be capable of work;
  • Be available for and genuinely seeking work;
  • Satisfy the means test;
  • Meet the Habitual Residence Condition.

You can be refused a jobseeker’s payment if you do not meet all the conditions that apply to the payment. You can be disqualified from a payment for a period of time in certain circumstances. You can also have your payment reduced (and subsequently stopped altogether for a period of time) if you do not attend meetings or participate in appropriate employment schemes, training or work experience. Further details on this can be found here. Further details on this can be found here.

Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment is paid to people whose youngest child is aged between 7 and 13 years inclusive and who are not cohabiting.  It aims to support you into the workforce while also acknowledging that you are caring for young children. You can take part in a course of education, training or employment scheme and get Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment. When you start getting a Jobseeker’s Transitional payment you will be scheduled to attend a meeting with one of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s case officers. The purpose of this meeting is to identify and access supports (such as education, training and employment schemes) that will prepare you for full-time employment.

If you get a one-off Redundancy Payment that is over €50,000 you may not be able to claim Job Seeker’s Benefit for a maximum of nine weeks. If you are over 55 this restriction does not apply.

To be eligible you must:

  • Be 16 or over;
  • Be in insurable employment;
  • Have worked continuously for your employer for 104 weeks. This period counts only if you were working while over the age of 16.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Claiming the following benefits will require that you have all the necessary paperwork sorted out. Claiming can require paperwork from your side. Make use of the Citizens Information Ireland checklist to see if you have all you need.

Jobseeker’s Benefit

Payment of Jobseeker’s Benefit is usually made from the fourth day of unemployment, but in some cases it starts immediately.

This is how long you can claim Jobseeker’s Benefit:

  • For people with 260 or more PRSI contributions paid, it will be 9 months;
  • For people with fewer than 260 PRSI contributions paid, it will be 6 months.

You should claim the benefit on the first day you are not working and will need to go to your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office, unless you live more than ten kilometres away, in which case you can claim by post.

You will need your P45 (given to you by your employer when you leave) and may need to hand in income tax forms such as the P60, which is your end-of-year statement.

Average weekly earnings

Personal rate

Qualified adult rate

€300 or more

€198.00

€131.40

€220 - €299.99

€156.20

€85.10

€150 - €219.99

€129.60

€85.10

Less than €150

€91.70

€85.10

You may also get an increase of €31.80 for dependent children. Note that the payment of qualified adult and child increases depends on the income your spouse or partner may have.

If you have worked in countries covered by EU Regulations, ask the authorities in the country/ies where you have worked for a U1 document (former E 301 form). You should then give the form to the benefits authority dealing with your claim - the authority where you live - so they can take account of periods of insurance or employment in other countries.

Without the form, the authority dealing with your claim can still obtain the necessary information from other countries directly. But a completed U1 will probably speed up your claim.

Jobseeker’s Allowance

This is also usually paid from the fourth day of unemployment, for an unlimited period, up to the age of 66.

Jobseeker’s Allowance rates in 2018 - Maximum rate for people aged 26 or over

New and existing claimants

Personal rate

Increase for a qualified adult

Increase for a qualified child

Maximum rate

€198.00

€131.40

€31.80

Maximum rate for people 25 and under:

Age

Personal rate

Increase for a qualified adult

25

€152.80

€131.40

18-24

€107.70

€107.70

There are some exceptions to age-related Jobseeker's Allowance payments for people under 25, including for claimants with dependent children.

Redundancy Payment

If you believe you are entitled to a Redundancy Payment you can calculate what sum you may get, using the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s Redundancy Calculator.

Jargon busters

  • PRSI stands for Pay Related Social Insurance - the money your employer deducts directly from your wages;
  • Means-testing - Your means under the various headings (for example, cash income, earnings from employment and capital) are added together to find your total means. For most means-tested payments, the rate of social welfare payment you can get, if any, is reduced on a sliding scale according to your means;
  • A qualified adult is your adult dependant for whom you may get an extra amount;
  • Habitual resident - The term ‘habitual resident’ is defined in EU law - see: EU Regulation on the coordination of social security systems.  In practice it means the place where you have your centre of interests;
  • Further information on P45 and P60 forms.

Forms you may need to fill in

Know your rights

The links below set out your rights in law, they are not European Commission sites and do not represent the view of the Commission:

Commission publication and website:

Who do you need to contact?

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