Signing on for the first time
If you are self-employed you may get a jobseeker’s payment (probably Jobseeker’s Allowance) if you have closed your business or the income you get from your business is very low.
To get a jobseeker's payment you must apply at your Social Welfare Local Office. When you apply you declare you are unemployed and actively seeking work. This is also known as 'signing on'.
How do I sign on for the first time?
To sign on you must go to your Social Welfare Local Office. When you get there you may have to take a numbered ticket and join a queue. When it is your turn you go to the desk or hatch to talk to a member of staff.
You may be able to make an appointment to attend your Social Welfare Local Office. However, not all Social Welfare Local Offices have an appointment system. Contact your Social Welfare Local Office to find out if you can get an appointment.
When you apply for a jobseeker's payment you must bring the correct documents with you. If you don’t have all of the necessary documents you should still apply and send in your documents as soon as possible. If you have difficulties getting some of the documents you should tell the staff in your Social Welfare Local Office. They may be able to help.
You will always be assessed for Jobseeker’s Benefit first, unless you have never worked before. If you don’t qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit you will be assessed for Jobseeker’s Allowance. However, you will not need to apply for a second time. Usually when you apply for Jobseeker’s Benefit you will be assessed for Jobseeker’s Allowance if your claim for Jobseeker’s Benefit is unsuccessful.
How do I get paid?
Your jobseeker’s payment is paid weekly in arrears by the Department of Social Protection. It may take a few weeks to get your payment. In the meantime you may qualify for Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA). Supplementary Welfare Allowance provides a basic weekly allowance to eligible people who have little or no income. If your weekly income is below the SWA rate for your family size, a payment may be made to bring your income up to the appropriate SWA rate. You may also get SWA if you don’t qualify for a jobseeker’s payment.
You can collect your jobseeker’s payment weekly from your nearest Post Office. You must bring valid photographic identification (photo ID) with you to collect your payment. Collecting your payment is different from signing on.
You can use the following as photo ID:
- Driving licence
- GNIB (Garda National Immigration Bureau) card
Staff working in the Post Office may ask to see your photo ID before giving you your payment.
How often do I have to sign on?
You must go to the Social Welfare Local Office (usually every month) and declare that you are still unemployed and looking for work. Your Social Welfare Local Office will give you a date and a time to sign on each month.
In some cases you may sign on more or less frequently. Usually if you live up to 10 miles from the nearest Social Welfare Local Office you will sign on every 4 weeks. If you live over 10 miles from the nearest Social Welfare Local Office you will sign on every 12 weeks.
If you get Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit or Supplementary Welfare Allowance you may also be entitled to additional benefits.