Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme
If you are in receipt of certain social welfare payments and would like to become self employed you can apply for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance scheme. This Scheme encourages people receiving certain social welfare payments in Ireland to become self-employed by allowing you retain a percentage of their social welfare payment for up to 2 years.
Changes as a result of the Supplementary Budget April 2009
- From 1 May 2009, the amount of time you can participate on the BTWEA scheme will be reduced from 4 years to 2 years for new applicants.
- Also the qualifying period required for BTWEA is reduced from 2 years to 12 months provided you have an underlying entitlement to Job-seekers Allowance.
- From 1 May 2009, if you have previously participated in the BTWEA scheme and exhausted your entitlement, you can participate a second time after a period of at least 5 years has elapsed.
- A new Back to Work Allowance Scheme called the Short-term Enterprise Allowance began on 1 May 2009.
Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme Eligibility Criteria
You may avail of the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance if you are:
- Setting up as self -employed in a business that has been approved in writing from a Job Facilitator
- Getting a Job-seekers Allowance for 12 months or other qualifying social welfare payment (See the Department of Social and Family Affairs Website)
Short-term Enterprise Allowance
- There is no qualifying period. You can get immediate access to the allowance but you must meet the qualifying conditions.
- To qualify you must have an entitlement to Job-seeker’s Benefit and have either 104 contributions paid in the past 2 years or qualify for statutory redundancy.
- The Short-term Enterprise Allowance will be paid to you for a maximum of 1 year. It will end when your entitlement to Job-seeker’s Benefit ends (that is, at either 9 months or 12 months).
If you qualified for this scheme you would be entitled to keep:
- Up to 1 May 2009: 100% of your social welfare in year one, 75% in year two, 50% in year three and 25% in year four.
- From 1 May 2009: 100% of your social welfare in year one, 75% in year two (including increases for a qualified adult and qualified children. Max 2 years
- Short-term Enterprise Allowance: 100% of your social welfare payment including increases for a qualified adult and qualified children for a maximum of 1 year. (It will end when your entitlement to Job-seekers Benefit ends – either at 9 or 12 months)
You may keep any secondary benefits (apart from Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement) for the duration of your receipt of the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance or Short Term Enterprise Allowance provided your household income is less than €317.43 gross per week.
Secondary Benefits include:
- Fuel Allowance
- Medical Card
- Diet Supplement
- Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
- Differential Rents (from local authority)
Furthermore you may also qualify for other financial supports to assist you to set up your business such as grants and loans and we also supply mentoring support to clients for advice on business planning and start up.
Brenda Heath, Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme Administrator