Immigration. Travel. Living.

Ireland: social security rights

Ireland and Great Britain flags

You’ll also have the right to receive these benefits if you are an EU National residing in any part of the continent. In this guide, we’ll be walking you through Social security rights in Ireland, what you are entitled to, and how can you claim your benefits.

How social security in Ireland works

people walking on street during daytime

Everyone has the right to public security and the state ensures that the needs of everyone especially the vulnerable members of society are met. In the advent of unforeseen events such as unemployment, maternity, accident, illness, or disability, the Irish government offer protection in cash or kind.

You must meet the requirements of each program before you can be enrolled and enjoy these benefits. You must also be a habitually resident before you can qualify for social assistance payments.

There are three main types of Irish social welfare benefits:

  • Contributory payments (social insurance) are based on the number of PRSI contributions within an agreed period.
  • Non-contributory payments (social assistance) are intended for people who do not qualify for social insurance payments.
  • Universal payments (child benefit and free travel) are provided to people regardless of their means and insurance contributions.

The UK and Ireland have announced an agreement that allows both countries to work closely together to protect the rights of UK and Irish nationals in both countries and ensures that the rights of their citizens are protected even after the UK is no longer a part of the EU.

This program is part of the agreement made by both governments to maintain the rights and security of the countries in the Common Travel Area. The social security entitlements will be maintained in both jurisdictions.

Ireland social security rights

Here’s a list of available insurance available for Irish residents.

1. Jobseekers benefit

You can qualify for jobseeker’s benefit if you are less than 66 years of age, unemployed, capable of work, unemployed, and have enough insurance (PRSI) contributions.

2. Jobseekers allowance

If you are not eligible for jobseekers benefit or you have exhausted your entitlement, you may apply for a jobseeker allowance. If can only apply for this program if you are resident in Ireland, unemployed, capable of working, aged between the age of 18 and 66.

3. Illness benefit

Illness Benefit is a weekly allowance for people who cannot work or are unemployed because they are sick. You must be less than 66 years old and insured by the appropriate insurance to qualify for this program.

4. Disability allowance

Disability allowance is another weekly benefit entitled to people with disabilities that is expected to last at least a year. To qualify for this benefit, you must be between the age of 16 and 66, satisfy a means and habitual residency test.

You are also required to have a medical complete report from your doctor. This report will be attached to your application form and submitted to the Department’s Medical Assessors.

5. Maternity & adoptive benefit

Maternity or adoptive benefits are payments made to women who are on compulsory maternity leave from work. It is covered by social insurance (PRSI) and paid for 26 weeks (156 days).

At least 2 weeks and not more than 16 weeks maternity leave must be taken before the end of the week that the baby is due.  You can even take an extra 16 weeks of unpaid maternity leave immediately after the end of your 26 weeks ‘paid maternity benefit.

6. Healthcare

You can enjoy healthcare benefits under The Irish Public Health System if you are a legal resident in the country, meet determining annual income, or under the age of 6 years and older than 70 years.

7. Child benefit

Child benefit is another welfare program that pays the parents or guardians of children under the age of 16 or 18 if the child is disabled, in a full-time education program, or a youth reach training.

If you are a frontier worker in Ireland or any other EU member State, the country of employment is charged with the responsibility for your family benefits.

How to apply

A request for an E104 or U1 by other states in the European Union is always prioritized by the Department of Social Protection. The Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection controls social security and welfare payments.

Most application forms are available on their website. You can also get application forms and information on benefits available in the country from your local Social Welfare offices.

After you’ve filled out your application form, you can submit it to the International Records Section of the Department of Social Protection.

When taking up employment in Ireland, you must apply for a Personal Public Service (PPS) Number at any Social Welfare Local Office. Your PPS Number is your reference number for all activities you perform with the Public Service from social security to income tax, and health services.

When you receive your PPS Number, you should contact the local tax office to complete your registration and submit your PPS number to your employer.

If you fail to give your PPS number to your employer, your PRSI contributions may not be correctly recorded/identified, there may also be delays when you want to make welfare payments.

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