UnemployedThis is part 3 of a series of 5

Part 1             

Part 2             

Part 3              

Part 4             

Part 5              

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  • A person who has been on Social Welfare for at least 12 months can claim Back to Work Enterprise Allowance when you start a business. It allows you retain part of your Social Welfare payments, tax free, for 2 years (100%, 75%), obtain support grants up to €2,500 and retain your secondary benefits. You can also apply for an exemption from income tax for 2 years up to a max of €40,000 per year.

  • A Short-term Enterprise Allowance can be claimed by anyone who has been made redundant or who is eligible for Jobseekers Benefit. It allows you to retain benefit until it expires (max 12 months). If you have been on Social Welfare for at least three months, you can retain your payment and secondary benefits but the scheme will not extend the duration of your entitlements.
  • Help with a start-up is also available from the Local Enterprise Office (Fingal Tel: 8900800, City Tel: 6351144). Microfinance Ireland (Tel: 01 2601007) can lend up to €25,000 to a person who can’t get bank finance.
  • JobBridge: offers an internship of 6-9 months to persons who have been signing on as available to work and getting a payment or credits for at least 3 months. Time on completed programmes in FÁS training, back to education or a community scheme will count towards eligibility. Participants will receive €50/week on top of their welfare. See www.jobbridge.ie
  • JobsPlus: is designed to help those who have been at least 12 months out of work in the past 18 months. It gives an employer who recruits you a €72-per-week subsidy for 2 years (€96-per-week if the person has been unemployed for more than 24 months), provided the job provides work on at least 4 days and 30 hours per week. Visit www.jobsplus.ieto register online.
  • Springboard: offers free part-time certificate, degree or post-graduate courses in Institutes of Education to those signing on at the time of starting, and allows retention of welfare payments. See www.springboardcourses.ieMomentum offers a mix of training and on-the-job experience across a range of sectors (running 11-45 weeks) to a person who has been on the Live Register for at least 12 months. See www.momentumskills.ie
  • Back to Education Allowance (from Dept of Social Protection) or a VTOS Allowance (VEC) is claimable if you are undertaking a full-time course leading to a recognised certificate at second, third or post-graduate, and are:
    • at least 21 years of age (18, if out of education for at least 2 years), 24 if post-graduate and
    • on Social Welfare for at least 3 months (for Second Level), 6 months (VTOS), or 9 months (for Third Level), or immediately if you lose your job and get statutory redundancy.


A maximum rate of €160 BTEA/VTOS will be paid to persons aged 25 or under. If you are on these schemes, you must apply for waiver of the Student Contribution under the third level grant. Part-time VTOS options can be taken up without affecting Social Welfare entitlements subject to approval.

  • A means-tested grant towards the costs of attending college is available from SUSI.ie. If you are dependent on your parents, your income (if any) is assessed along with your parents’ gross income. The grant covers:

Upper Income Limit (fewer than four children)


Special Rate Maintenance (€2,375) and Student Contribution (€3,000)


Full Maintenance (€1,215) and Student Contribution (€3,000)


(with part-entitlement graded down with rising income to:)


Half Student Contribution (€1,500)


The maintenance payments are higher if your college is over 45 kilometres from your home (€5,915 (Special Rate), €3,025 (Full Rate)). To qualify for the special rate, one of those whose income is being assessed must be on FIS or a Social Welfare payment. For each additional family member in college, about €4,700 is added to the other means-tests. Families with four or more dependent children also have higher upper income limits. If you are over 23, and have been living independently of your parents from 1 October of the year before entry onto the course, the means-test will apply to your own income (and that of your partner if any).







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