Short-Term Enterprise Allowance
The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA) gives support to people on Jobseeker’s Benefit who are unemployed and want to start their own business.
There is no qualifying period, which means you do not need to have been getting Jobseeker’s Benefit for a certain period of time. However, you will not qualify if you are getting Jobseeker’s Benefit and working part-time.
The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance is paid instead of your Jobseeker’s Benefit for a maximum of 1 year. It ends when your entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit ends (that is, at either 9 months or 6 months).
How do I qualify?
To qualify for a Short-Term Enterprise Allowance you must be getting or have an entitlement to Jobseeker’s Benefit
Your business plan must be approved in advance in writing by a Jobs Facilitator or an Enterprise Officer in your local Partnership Company or Integrated Local Development Company (ILDC) (see 'How do I apply?' below)
Seasonal, temporary or part time self-employment does not qualify for the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance.
What help can I get with starting my business?
The Technical Assistance and Training (TAT) fund is designed to help people getting the Short-Term Back to Work Enterprise Allowance with certain costs involved in starting a business. You do not have an automatic entitlement to TAT. Assistance from this fund must be approved by the Jobs Facilitator in your Social Welfare Local Office. Payments from the fund must be made directly to the provider of the service.Your local Jobs Facilitator or Enterprise Officer (see below for contact details) can give you more information on sources of help and funding.
How much do I get?
If you qualify, the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance replaces your Jobseeker’s Benefit. It will be paid at the same rate as your Jobseeker’s Benefit, including any increases for adult and child dependants. It ends when your entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit ends.
Employment grants from a County or City Enterprise Board (CEB) or an Integrated Local Development Company do not affect your entitlement to the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance.
The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance is subject to income tax in the same way as Jobseeker’s Benefit (note that this is different from the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance which is not taxable). Any income from your business is also taxable.
What about my extra benefits?
You will keep an entitlement to any additional benefits that you were getting with your Jobseeker’s Benefit provided you continue to satisfy the conditions. Find out more about additional benefits.
However, an increase in your income may affect your Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement. To find out how your Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement may be affected contact the Department of Social Protection's representative administering Supplementary Welfare Allowance in your local health centre.
What happens if my business does not succeed?
If your business does not work out and you become unemployed when your entitlement to STEA ends, you cannot immediately re-qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit. However, you can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance, which is a means-tested payment.
How do I apply?
To apply for the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA), complete application form STEA 1 (pdf).
If you live in an area covered by a local Partnership Company or Integrated Local Development Company (ILDC), you should return form STEA 1 to the Enterprise Officer in your local Partnership Company or ILDC. If you do not live in a Partnership/ILDC Area, you should return form STEA 1 to the Jobs Facilitator in your Social Welfare Local Office.
The Enterprise Officer or Jobs Facilitator will look at your business proposal and may discuss certain aspects of it with you. You must not take up self-employment until you get written approval from the Partnership/ILDC or Department of Social Protection.
If you are accepted on to the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance, you must register as self-employed with the Revenue Commissioners.
The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance may be paid directly into your bank or building society account on a weekly basis. It cannot be paid into a mortgage account.
You must contact the Department of Social Protection immediately if your self-employment ends or you take up employment.