Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1838)

Jack Chambers


1838. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a special needs assistant who worked full-time before switching to part-time work and then was made redundant would be assessed for social supports based on the assistant's time as a part-time worker only or would also have his or her record as a full-time worker considered when calculating his or her rate of social welfare support; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35621/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Jobseeker's Benefit (JB) and Jobseeker's Allowance (JA) are the two main income supports available from my Department to people who have lost work and are unable to find alternative full time employment. JB is a social insurance based scheme and applicants must have sufficient insurance contributions to qualify. If a person is not entitled to JB they may be able to claim the means tested JA support.

To qualify for JB a person must be available for and genuinely seeking full time employment. They must also be fully unemployed for four days in any period of seven consecutive days. The social insurance contribution condition for JB requires a jobseeker to have at least 104 weeks qualifying PRSI contributions paid since they first started work and 39 weeks qualifying PRSI contributions paid or credited in the relevant tax year, or 26 weeks qualifying PRSI paid in the relevant tax year and 26 weeks qualifying PRSI paid in the tax year immediately before the relevant tax year. The relevant tax year is the second last complete tax year before the year in which the JB claim was made. So, for claims made in 2019 the relevant tax year is 2017. This requirement demonstrates that the person has a reasonable connection to the workforce.

The rate of payment of JB is graduated according to a person's earnings in the relevant tax year rather than by the number of hours they worked in that year. The reason for the link between the rate of payment and the person's earnings is to ensure that disincentives to employment are not created. Details of the graduated JB rates are shown in the table below:

Average Weekly Earnings

Personal Rate

Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA)

Less than €150









€300.00 or more



Where a person does not qualify for JB or has an entitlement to JB at a lower graduated rate they can opt to apply for JA. Depending on the person's means they may be entitled to the maximum personal rate of JA which is the same as the maximum personal rate for JB.

The Deputy should advise the person concerned to contact their local Intreo Centre to discuss the appropriate support for their particular circumstances.

I trust this information is useful for the Deputy.