OPTIONS FOR THE UNEMPLOYED
Options for the unemployed
• Back to Work Enterprise Allowance can be claimed by a person who has been unemployed or on Sickness benefit for at least 12 months, when you start a business. It allows you retain part of your Social Welfare payments, tax free, for 2 years (100%, 75%).
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 the cost of start-up may be available from the County Enterprise Board (Tel: 6351144) or First Step Microfinance (Tel: 2600988).
• Start-Up Tax Relief: if you start up and work full-time in your own company, you can claim back the income tax you paid in the previous six years to invest equity into the company (subscribed as shares). New companies do not pay Corporate Tax for the first three years.
• Back to Work Tax Free Income (Revenue Assist) is claimable at your top rate if you are returning to work if you have been previously unemployed or on disability allowance for 12 months or more – of e3,810 plus e1,270 for each child in year 1, and two-thirds of these allowances in year 2, one-third in year 3. The employer is also entitled to double write-off against tax.
• 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 Ä50 / week on top of their welfare. See www.jobbridge.ie
• Springboard: offers part time courses to those signing on at the time of starting a Springboard course. See www.bluebrick.ie
• Community Employment: Offers up to 20 hours work per week for 12 months to people aged 25 or over who have been on Social Welfare for over 12 months and have worked no more than 30 days in the year. The allowance paid €208, is €20 over Social Welfare. The period of participation can be extended in certain cases. The payment of a child supplement for persons on One Parent Family Payment is being discontinued in 2012. New applicants for Community Employment will no longer be able to retain their existing welfare payment.
Persons under 25 can only participate if on Disability Allowance, ex-Offenders, referred by Drugs Task Force.
• Back to Education Allowance (from Department of Social and Family Affairs) or a VTOS Allowance (VEC), is claimable if you are undertaking a full time course leading to a recognised certificate at Second, Third or Postgraduate, and are:
• at least 21 years of age (18, if out of education for at least 2 years), 24 Postgraduate 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.
To pass this test, periods of claim may be linked if there is no more than a 52 week gap in between. If you qualify you get welfare payment plus e300 at start of year (BTEA) or a weekly training allowance e20 (VTOS). If you are on these schemes, you must apply for waiver of the registration fee under the third level grant (below). Part-time VTOS options can be taken up without affecting Social Welfare entitlements subject to approval.
Third Level Grants are available from Local Authorities for full-time undergraduate courses. To qualify for a full grant and no registration fee your parents gross income in the previous year must be under e41,110 (up to 3 children). Above that there is partial entitlement up to e47,205. The Student Contribution will be e2,250 in 2012 and e200 for PLC Course. Where parents’ income is under e51,380, this fee is not payable. A second student at third level adds about e4,000 to these limits. The grant is worth e3,025 (living over 45km from college), e1,215 (adjacent). New entrants to post graduate will no longer get maintenance grant from 2012. The colleges also have access to a student assistance fund for students in need of support and students with disabilities. (See also College Tax Reliefs under Taxation).