A new social insurance scheme for the self-employed will be introduced from this November, under which former farmers who no longer work may be included.

The Jobseeker’s Benefit (self-employed) initiative was announced today, Monday, April 29, by Regina Doherty, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

A spokesperson for her department confirmed to AgriLand that farmers would be able to avail of the payment if their farming enterprise ceases.

The plan is aimed at providing assurance to people setting up or running their own business that they will be supported if their efforts to create employment and an income are frustrated by their business ceasing.

Minister Doherty’s department is making arrangements to ensure the necessary legislation and “administrative solutions” are in place before the new scheme is due to be rolled out.

“We have already extended treatment benefits and Invalidity Pension to the self-employed in recent years to ensure that they reach some parity with employees in the benefits they can access from the social insurance system,” said Minister Doherty.

“The introduction of a new Jobseeker’s Benefit scheme for the self-employed represents the next step in the Government’s work to extend PRSI benefits, and will provide an income safety net to thousands of small and medium businesses throughout the country,” she added.

Payment rates:

  • Maximum personal rate: €203.00;
  • Maximum increase for a qualified adult: €134.70;
  • Maximum increase for a qualified child (under 12): €34.00;
  • Maximum increase for a qualified child (12 and over): €37.00.

The department estimates that up to 6,500 people could benefit from the support at any time in a full year; under the scheme, applicants will have access to the full range of employment supports available to other jobseekers.

Applicants for the scheme will have to fulfill a PRSI contribution; self employed persons who do not have a sufficient PRSI contribution will continue to be able to apply for the means-tested Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Payments will be made for nine months for people with over 260 PRSI contributions made, and for six months for those with less than that amount of contributions.

The necessary legislation to bring the scheme forward is currently being drafted.