My benefits and employment

If you are currently receiving social welfare benefits and wish to take up employment, you should check how this will affect you. You can check at your local Department of Social Protection (DSP) Office or your local Citizens Information Bureau.

In general, the following rules apply:

  • Invalidity Pension and Illness Benefit: If you are receiving one of these benefits you cannot undertake paid work. You can undertake voluntary unpaid work. If you wish to work as a volunteer, you must get written permission from the DSP before you start. If you are receiving Invalidity Pension you cannot do more than 19.5 hours per week of voluntary work. If you are receiving Illness Benefit there is no limit on the amount of hours of voluntary work you can do per week.

If you wish to undertake paid work you must transfer to the Partial Capacity Scheme.

  • Disability Allowance: If you are receiving this allowance you may be allowed to undertake work or training that is considered rehabilitative or therapeutic. If you wish to do this you must get written permission from the DSP. You must also get written permission from the DSP if you wish to undertake voluntary unpaid work.
  • Partial Capacity Benefit: If you are in receipt of Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension you may qualify for Partial Capacity Benefit. Disability Allowance is not a qualifying allowance for Partial Capacity Benefit.

Partial Capacity Benefit is a social welfare scheme that allows you to return to work or self-employment (if you have reduced capacity to work) and continue to receive your Department of Social Protection payment.

To qualify for Partial Capacity Benefit your restriction or capacity for work will be assessed as mild, moderate, severe or profound. If you are assessed as mild you will not qualify and your continued eligibility for Invalidity Pension and Illness Benefit will be reviewed. It is important to discuss the process with your GP and consider all possible outcomes before applying for this benefit.

If you transfer to the Partial Capacity Scheme you can retain some secondary allowances (such as Free Travel, Households Benefits Package) but will lose others (such as Fuel Allowance). More information can be found on the Citizens Information website here