Jobseeker's benefit (JB) is a weekly payment to people out of work and covered by social insurance (PRSI). If a person does not qualify for JB they may qualify for means tested jobseeker's allowance. In 2012 my Department spent some €737 million on the scheme and at the end of 2012 there were some 85,000 persons in receipt of a JB payment. Budget 2013 provided that the duration for which JB is paid will, with effect from April 2013, be reduced from 12 months to 9 months for recipients with 260 or more contributions paid and from 9 months to 6 months for recipients with less than 260 contributions paid.
The reduction in duration from 12 months to 9 months will apply to new claimants from April, 2013, and existing recipients who, in April, 2013, have been getting JB for less than 6 months. The reduction in duration from 9 months to 6 months will apply to new claimants from April, 2013 and existing recipients who, in April, 2013, have been getting JB for less than 3 months. Legislation provides that, subject to the person having paid 156 or more qualifying contributions and satisfying the general scheme conditions, a person whose JB expires in their 65th year will continue to be paid benefit up until the age of 66. On this basis, workers who suffer a substantial loss of employment at age 65 will not be subject to the reductions in duration provided they have paid at least 156 qualifying contributions.