Individuals in receipt of certain social welfare payments who have a business idea and would like to become self-employed may apply for assistance from the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance scheme. 

The Scheme encourages people to become self-employed by allowing them retain a percentage of their social welfare payment for 2 years.   This is a scheme that is funded by the Dept of Social Protection and Mayo North East assists applicants on the scheme by advising on preparing business plans, and paperwork requirements (legal, accounting etc.).

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme Eligibility Criteria:
You may avail of the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance if you are:

1. Setting up as self-employed in a business that has been approved in writing by a Job Facilitator.
2. Getting a Jobseekers Allowance for 12 months or other qualifying social welfare payment (See the Department of Social Protection Website)

Short-term Enterprise Allowance
There is no qualifying period for this allowance. Applicants may get immediate access to the allowance but must meet the qualifying conditions. To qualify, applicants must have an entitlement to Jobseeker’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 for a maximum of 1 year. It will end when entitlement to Jobseeker’s Benefit ends (that is, at either 9 months or 12 months).

Participants qualifying for this scheme would be entitled to keep:
Up to 1 May 2009: 100% of social welfare in year one, 75% in year two, 50% in year three and 25% in year four.
From 1 May 2009: 100% of 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 social welfare payment including increases for qualified adult and qualified children for a maximum of 1 year. (It will end when entitlement to Jobseekers Benefit ends – either at 9 or 12 months)

Secondary Benefits:
Participants in the BTWEA may keep any secondary benefits (apart from Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement) for the duration of receipt of the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance or Short Term Enterprise Allowance provided 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, participants may qualify for other financial supports to assist in the setting up of the business such as grants and loans.