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Wed09202017

Last updateSun, 06 Nov 2016 10am

Back to Work


Since April 2002, the qualifying period for entitlement under the scheme for people getting Illness Benefit has been reduced from 5 years to 3 years. People who have been receiving Carer`s Allowance but have ceased caring responsibilities are also eligible. People participating in this Back to Work scheme retain a percentage of their social welfare payment along with "secondary benefits" for a period of up to three years.

The Back to Work Allowance is not subject to taxation or social insurance (PRSI). Your employer may also qualify for the Employers PRSI Exemption Scheme .
 

 Conditions you must meet:

 You will qualify for the Back to Work Allowance if you are;
· aged at least 23, and
· Receiving Jobseeker`s Benefit or Jobseeker`s Allowance for at least 3 years.

From March 2006, you must be getting Jobseeker`s Benefit or Jobseeker`s Allowance for 2 years. Time spent on Supplementary Welfare Allowance or Direct Provision can count towards the qualifying period for Back to Work Allowance provided you are entitled to a qualifying payment before starting on the scheme.

You can also qualify if you have been receiving Farm Assist, Pre-Retirement Allowance, One-Parent Family Payment, Blind Pension, Disability Allowance, Carer`s Allowance (if you are no longer a carer), Invalidity Pension, Deserted Wife`s Benefit or Allowance, Prisoner`s Wife`s Allowance, Incapacity Supplement for 15 months (12 months if you are over 50). You don`t have to be any specific age to qualify in these cases.

Periods spent on FÁS, Failte Ireland, Teagasc, FIT, Community Employment, Job
Initiative, `second chance education courses` (i.e., Back to Education Schemes) and/or time spent in prison are accepted as periods of unemployment.

 Conditions your prospective employer must meet:

 Only employers who can provide suitable jobs are eligible to participate. The work being offered must:

· Be likely to develop into a lasting job
· Not displace existing employment
· Be a minimum of 20 hours per week
· Be for at least 12 months.

Short-term, seasonal or commissioned/contractual work is not acceptable as employment under the Scheme.
 

 Rates

 If you qualify, you will receive support for three years (including adult and child dependent allowances) as follows:
· 75% of your weekly social welfare payment for the first year
· 50% for the second year
· 25% for the third year.

If you are self-employed, you will receive support for four years as follows:
· your complete weekly social welfare payment for the first year
· 75% of your weekly social welfare payment for the second year
· 50% for the third year
· 25% for the fourth year
 

 Secondary Benefits

In addition you will retain "secondary benefits" for three years, provided your household income is less than 317.43 euro gross per week. Household income includes your spouse/partner`s income but allows for PRSI and reasonable travelling expenses. Income from Back to Work Allowance and Family Income Supplement are disregarded for the purposes of the 317.43 euro gross weekly household income limit.

Secondary Benefits include:
· Fuel Allowance
· Christmas Bonus
· Medical card (household income limit does not apply)
· Diet Supplement
· Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
· Rent/Mortgage Interest Supplement - this is paid on a reducing scale over four years: Year 1 - 75%: Year 2 - 50%: Year 3 - 25%: Year 4 - 25%.
· Local Authority Differential Rent.

The Back to Work Allowance is not subject to PRSI or income tax deductions.
Additional Supports

Financial assistance is available to employees who qualify for the Back to Work Allowance to further their employment potential, for example, help with interviews, literacy or computer skills.

Family Income Supplement may be payable if you have at least one dependant child under the age of 22. This weekly tax free supplement is payable if your income is below a certain limit for your family size. Your Back to Work Allowance and your earnings will be added together when working out your entitlement to Family Income Supplement. Read more about Family Income Supplement here.
Very Long Term Unemployed Programme (VLTU)

If you have been in receipt of a qualifying payment for 5 years or more, you may qualify for the Very Long Term Unemployed Programme. This programme allows you to continue to receive your payment, plus an additional weekly payment of 44.50 euro per week for up to six weeks whicle you are receiving training from an employer.

After this six week period, you will transfer to the Back to Work Allowance if you continue to remain in employment. In addition, you will also receive two payments of 254 euro when:

· the six week training period is completed
· you have completed six months in employment
 

 How to apply

 If you are eligible and wish to take up an opportunity to work under this scheme, you should download and complete a Back to Work Allowance application form (pdf) form before you commence work.

This form is also available from your local Social Welfare Office. If you have any difficulties completing the form, staff in your local Social Welfare office will be able to help you.
If you are in receipt of a Jobseeker`s payment or pre-retirement allowance, you should complete your application form and return to your local Social Welfare Office.

The Department of Social and Family Affairs requires that 14 days notice must be given before employment commences.
 

 Where To Apply

If you are getting a Jobseeker`s payment or Pre-Retirement Allowance, the completed application form should be returned to your local Social Welfare Office.

If you are getting a social welfare payment other than a Jobseeker`s payment or pre-retirement allowance, you should send your completed form to:

The Department of Social and Family Affairs
P.O. Box 3840
Dublin 2

Tel: +353 (0)1 874 8444

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