The entitlement to social protection payments of people who own their own business, as referred to by the Deputy, depends on whether the individual pays PRSI as an employee or self-employed. In general a person who owns their own business is classified, for PRSI purposes, as self-employed.
Self-employed persons are liable for PRSI at the Class S rate of 4% which entitles them to access long-term benefits such as State pension (contributory) and widow's, widower's or surviving civil partner's pension (contributory).
Self-employed workers whose businesses fail or suffer from reduced demand or who do not have constant or continuous employment, may access social welfare support by establishing entitlement to assistance-based payments such as jobseeker's allowance. They can apply for the means-tested jobseeker's allowance if their business ceases or if they are on low income as a result of a downturn in demand for their services. In general, their means will take account of the level of earnings in the last twelve months in determining their expected income for the following year and, in the current climate, account is taken of the downward trend in the economy. As in the case of a non-self-employed claimant for jobseeker's allowance the means of husband/wife, civil partner or co-habitant will be taken into account in deciding on entitlement to a payment.