Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Part-time work and social welfare payments

Know Your Rights: Part-time work and social welfare payments
August 2016

I’m working part-time on a low wage. Do I qualify for any social welfare payments?

It depends on your personal circumstances. Many people work part time before taking up full-time employment. If you are working part time you can, in some cases, keep or apply for a partial social welfare payment, or you may qualify for additional supports.

If you work over 38 hours in a fortnight and you have children you may be able to claim Family Income Supplement (FIS). FIS is a weekly tax-free payment for people on low pay. You may be able to claim a jobseeker’s payment for the days you are not working. You can work part-time for up to 3 days a week and claim a reduced Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance payment. You may qualify for the Part-time Job Incentive Scheme if you were getting Jobseeker’s Allowance and find part-time work for less than 24 hours per week.  However, one of the main conditions for getting a jobseeker’s payment is that you must be available for and actively seeking work. This means that you must continue to look for work on the days you are unemployed. You must also be unemployed for at least 4 days out of 7 consecutive days.

If you return to work after a period of unemployment, you may qualify for the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) which aims to help families move from social welfare into employment. The BTWFD and FIS can be paid together and the BTWFD is not taken into account in the means test for FIS.

If you are parenting alone and getting a One-Parent Family Payment, you are allowed to earn a certain amount each week and keep your payment. In some cases, people getting disability payments can do some work and keep a social welfare payment. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Know Your Rights: Garda vetting

I have applied for a job in a sports club and have been told that I must be vetted by the Gardaí. What does this mean?

Since 29 April 2016, people working with children or vulnerable adults must be vetted by the Garda Síochána National Vetting Bureau. Workers include staff, volunteers and those on student placements working for an organisation through which they have unsupervised access to children and/or vulnerable adults.

Under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012–2016, organisations that require Garda vetting of individuals must register with the National Vetting Bureau. These include childcare services, schools, hospitals, health services and organisations providing leisure, sporting or physical activities to children and/or vulnerable people.

If you are applying for a job with a registered organisation, the organisation will send you a vetting invitation form. You must complete the form and return to the organisation with proof of your identity. After validating your identity, the organisation will send you an email with a link to the vetting application form. You then apply to be vetted online using e-Vetting. If you wish, you may apply using a paper form instead. If you are aged under 18 you must submit a signed parent or guardian consent form. 

After reviewing your vetting application, the organisation submits it to the National Vetting Bureau. The National Vetting Bureau processes the application and sends a vetting disclosure to the organisation. A vetting disclosure may include details of convictions and pending prosecutions or a statement that there is no criminal record. The organisation will review the disclosure and will send you a copy of it. 

You can track the progress of your e-Vetting application online.

Further information is available from the National Vetting Bureau at https://vetting.garda.ie/  and from the Citizens Information Centre.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

State pensions and qualified adults

I am retiring from work when I turn 66 and will be eligible for a reduced-rate State Pension (Contributory) of €198.60. My husband is getting his full State Pension (Contributory) of €233. He thinks we would be better off if he claimed for me as a qualified adult on his pension. Is he correct? If we do this, will all the money be paid to him?

If your husband claims for you as a qualified adult on his pension, then his pension will consist of €233 plus an increase of €209 – a total of €442. The increase is automatically paid directly to you (although you can request that it is paid with your husband’s pension). If you decide to claim a reduced rate contributory pension then the total for you both will be €431.60. Therefore, it would appear that you are indeed better off being a qualified adult.

However, there are other factors that you should take into account. While your husband’s pension is not means tested, the Increase for a Qualified Adult is means tested. This means that any income you have in your own right from employment, self-employment, savings, investments and capital (for example, any property except your own home) is taken into account. If you have joint savings or investments with your spouse, half is taken into account.

You also need to look at the tax situation. Your husband is entitled to claim a PAYE tax credit (€1,650) with his pension. Even though the Increase for a Qualified Adult is paid directly to you it is not a social welfare payment to you so you cannot claim a PAYE tax credit of €1,650. However if you claim a social welfare payment in your own right (for example, your reduced-rate pension) you can claim a full PAYE tax credit.   

You should analyse both options carefully and do detailed calculations, taking all the factors that affect how much you receive into account. After you do the calculations, you may find that you are better off claiming the reduced-rate contributory pension in your own right.