I propose to take Questions Nos. 86 and 103 together.
In Budget 2019, I announced a new scheme which will provide a PRSI insurance based benefit to self-employed people who lose employment. This measure will be introduced later this year and builds on other recent significant improvements for the self-employed such as access to invalidity pension and treatment benefits. It is part of the Government’s aim of creating a supportive environment for entrepreneurship, including providing an income safety net to employees and self-employed alike.
Applicants will have to satisfy the qualifying conditions for the new scheme including satisfying a PRSI contribution requirement. They will have access to the full range of activation supports available to other jobseekers such as referral to group information sessions, one to one interviews and subsequent caseworker support. The statutory conditions and requirements for the scheme are being worked through by officials at this time as part of the legislative process.
Any further changes such as the extension of illness benefit to the self-employed would have to be considered in a budgetary context and within the scope of the overall resources available for welfare improvements.
I trust this clarifies the matter at this time.