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Social welfare benefit for self-employed individuals

Social welfare benefit for self-employed individuals

Jobseeker\’s Benefit (Self-Employed) is a weekly payment to individuals who lose their self-employment. If you don\’t qualify for Jobseeker\’s Benefit (Self-Employed) you may qualify for Jobseeker\’s Allowance.


Rate of Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed)

Average weekly earnings Personal rate Increase for an adult dependant Increase for a qualified child
€300 or more €203 €134.70 €36 (a child aged under 12 years)

€40 (a child aged 12 years or over)

€220 – €299.99 €159 €87.20
€150 – €219.99 €131
less than €150 €91.10



  • 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.
  • Unemployed (you can work as an employee for up to 3 days each week)
  • Capable of work
  • Available for and genuinely seeking full-time work
  • Have enough social insurance (PRSI) contributions


Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions

  • Class S (self-employed) – At least 156 weeks of contributions or 52 weeks in the relevant tax year. 
  • Class A / H- at least 104 weeks of paid contributions 


Jobseeker\’s Benefit and Work 

  • You must quit all self-employed activity. However you can work as an employee for up to 3 days a week and claim the Jobseeker Benefit.
  • If you work part time, your payment is based on a 5-day weekly payment. 1/5 of the regular rate of salary is deducted for each day you are working.


Duration of payment

Number of Class S PRSI contributions Duration of claim
260 or more 39 weeks (9 months)
Less than 260 26 weeks (6 months)


Linking claims

If you claim Jobseeker\’s benefit for a period of time, sign off and then claim it again within 26 weeks, it can be linked to the earlier claim. The cumulative total of days from the previous claim continues. The rate shall be the same as the rate payable on the previous claim.



If you received money in excess of the money set by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) from sales or disposal of your business, you may be disqualified.


Penalty rates

If you fail to attend a meeting requested by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) or you refuse to engage in a relevant job support programme, work experience or training, your payment can be reduced.


Getting paid

It can be paid into your account or you can collect from your nearest post office.

Staff working in the post office may ask to see your photo ID: 

  • Public Services Card
  • Driving licence
  • Passport
  • Irish Residence Permit (IRP) or GNIB card



Jobseeker\’s Benefit (Self-Employed) is taxable.


Extra benefits

  • Rent Supplement – a payment under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme.
  • Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance – an allowance 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.


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

You should apply on the first day you become unemployed. You can bring or post your completed Jobseeker\’s Benefit (Self-Employed) application to the Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.


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