Thursday, 31 January 2019

Ceisteanna (237)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

237. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the requirements which will be in place for the self-employed to avail of jobseeker's allowance and benefit in 2019, if the payments will be means tested; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4732/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The jobseeker’s benefit and jobseeker’s allowance schemes provide income support for people who have lost work and are unable to find alternative full-time employment. The 2019 Estimates for my Department provide for expenditure this year on the jobseeker’s schemes of €1.95 billion.

The jobseekers allowance scheme is a means tested payment which is already available to all jobseekers including those in self-employment. There are currently over 6,900 self-employed recipients in receipt of jobseekers allowance. People who were previously self-employed and are now in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance have access to activation measures available to other jobseeker recipients. If a self-employed person is engaged in farming they may qualify for the means-tested farm assist payment which is currently paid to approximately 6,600 farmers.

The new scheme for the self-employed, which I announced as part of the 2019 Budget measures, will extend a PSRI insurance based benefit to the self-employed who lose employment. This measure will be introduced in late 2019 and builds on other significant improvements for the self-employed in recent years such as access to invalidity pension and treatment benefits in Budget 2017. This measure is part of the Government’s stated aim of creating a supportive environment for entrepreneurship, including providing an income safety net to employees and the self-employed alike.

Applicants will have to satisfy the qualifying conditions for the new jobseekers benefit support including a PRSI contribution requirement and have sustained a substantial loss of employment. The specific details of this scheme are currently being examined as part of the legislative process.