The ‘Back to work Enterprise Allowance’ allows an individual to keep a portion of his or her social welfare payments for a period of two years. These payments are not taxable. An individual may make a claim under both the ‘Back to Work Enterprise Allowance’ scheme and the Start Your Own Business initiative. While the conditions for both schemes are similar, they are independent of each other. Individuals who wish to learn more about the ‘Back to Work Enterprise Allowance’ should contact their local Social Welfare office.
You can get immediate access to the allowance but you must meet the qualifying conditions.
Back to Work Enterprise Allowance
You can avail of the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance if you are:
Setting up as self-employed in a business that has been approved in advance in writing by a Job Facilitator or Partnership Company
Getting a Jobseeker’s Allowance for 12 months
Unemployed for 2 years and getting Jobseeker’s Benefit. However, if you have an underlying entitlement to Jobseeker’s Allowance and are unemployed for one year you can qualify for the allowance. If you don’t have an underlying entitlement to Jobseeker’s Allowance, you must have a combination of qualifying social welfare payments for 2 years. Signing on for unemployment credits following your Jobseeker’s Benefit will not count towards the qualifying period.
Getting One-Parent Family Payment, Disability Allowance, Blind Pension, Farm Assist, Incapacity Supplement, Pre-Retirement Allowance, Invalidity Pension, Carer’s Allowance, Widow’s/Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension, Deserted Wife’s Benefit/Allowance or Prisoner’s Wife’s Allowance for at least 12 months
Getting Illness Benefit for 3 or more years
Getting Farm Assist for 12 months, providing that the self-employment is now in relation to the holding and not the continuation of an existing operation.
You may also be considered for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Allowance if you are:
A qualified adult of a person eligible to claim the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Allowance. This involves the person who is eligible for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Allowance transferring his or her entitlements to their spouse/civil partner or cohabitant. (In other words, the spouse/civil partner or cohabitant becomes self-employed and the original claimant becomes the qualified adult on the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Allowance). If the original claimant is entitled to credits, he or she can continue to claim them.
A person released from prison who satisfies the eligibility criteria for the scheme
Periods of time spent in FÁS Training, Community Employment, the Community Services Programme, Job Initiative, CERT, Teagasc, FIT and Back to Education Schemes are accepted as periods of unemployment.
Time spent on Supplementary Welfare Allowance or in Direct Provision can count towards the qualifying period for Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Allowance provided you are entitled to a qualifying payment before starting on the scheme.
If you have previously participated in the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Allowance scheme and exhausted your entitlement, you can participate a second time after a period of at least 5 years has elapsed.
What Do I Get?
- You will continue to receive your Social Welfare payments for 2 years;
- 100% in year 1
- 75% in year 2
- You will hold onto a medical card, if you have one prior to being approved for the scheme.
- You may continue to be eligible for rent supplement or mortgage interest supplements.
- Any monies received through the BTWEA scheme is treated as non taxable income.
You will also keep any secondary benefits (apart from Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement) for as long as you are getting the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance provided your household income is less than €317.43 gross per week. Household income includes your spouse’s/civil partner’s or cohabitant’s income, but allows for PRSI and reasonable travel expenses. Income from the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance or the Short-term Enterprise Allowance is not taken into account for the purpose of the €317.43 weekly income limit but your income from work is taken into account. You should check with the Community Welfare Officer in your local Health Centre to see how your Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement may be affected by your participation in the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance.
Where to apply
To apply for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, complete application form BTW 2. If you live in an area covered by a local Partnership Company or Integrated Local Development Company (ILDC), you should apply to the Enterprise Officer in your local Partnership or ILDC.
If you do not live in Partnership/ILDC area, you should apply to the Jobs Facilitator in your Social Welfare Local Office.