A range of supports are available to jobseekers from the Department. A jobseeker who is available for and genuinely seeking work can apply for the contribution-based jobseeker’s benefit or the means-tested jobseeker’s allowance, depending on their previous employment history. While the Department does not provide any specific supports for those wishing to join or return to work in the hackney industry, a jobseeker may avail of any of the following supports to aid their return to employment/self-employment:
- A person who is self-employed can apply for jobseeker's allowance if their income falls below a certain level. The applicant can continue in self-employment with their earnings from the business assessed to determine the level of jobseeker’s allowance that can be paid.
- The short-term enterprise allowance (STEA) gives support to a person who has lost their job and is in receipt of jobseeker’s benefit payment from the Department and wants to start their own business. The STEA payment will cease when the entitlement to jobseeker’s benefit expires.
- The back to work enterprise allowance (BTWEA) is available to support long-term jobseekers that undertake to develop or take up self-employment opportunities. BTWEA provides for the retention of the value of the prior social protection payment on a reducing scale over two years, plus continued access to secondary benefits where the conditions for those are met. In determining if a business proposal will be supported, issues of displacement of existing operators are considered. Given the nature of the taxi and hackney services, the likelihood of such a proposal being approved for BTWEA is considered to be relatively low.
- Employers may also access the subsidies available under JobsPlus where they recruit jobseekers who are longer-term unemployed.
Jobseekers considering pursuing self-employment options may also access training and business planning supports offered by the Department, local development companies and local enterprise offices.
Information on accessing schemes and supports for jobseekers is available from DSP Intreo centres with further information available on the Department’s website www.welfare.ie.