There are a range of benefits available to support people who are unemployed and seeking work. For up to date information please see the following webpages:
- NI Direct – Benefits and help when looking for work
- Citizens Advice Guide – In work or looking for work
- Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection –Jobseekers
- Citizens Information – Unemployed people
- The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed
With regards to claiming jobseeker benefits there are special rules for frontier and cross border workers:
In general, for social security coordination purposes the term cross-border worker refers to any person who resides in one Member State and who works in another Member State.
There are two types of cross-border workers – A frontier worker and cross-border worker.
A frontier worker is any person pursuing an activity as an employed or self-employed person in a Member State and who resides in another Member State to which he returns as a rule daily or at least once a week.
A cross-border worker resides in one state, but works in another and is not a frontier worker, so travels home less than once a week. These workers retain close links with their countries of origin.
Normally a claim for unemployment benefit can only be made in the state of last employment. However, different rules apply to frontier workers and cross border workers.
A wholly unemployed frontier worker must claim in the state they reside in, but a partially or intermittently unemployed frontier worker must claim in the state of employment.
Cross border workers may claim in the state of last employment or can choose to return to the state of residence after becoming unemployed and claim unemployment benefits there.
Therefore if a frontier worker resident in the South loses his/ her job in the North, he/she can rely on their National Insurance Contributions paid in the North to qualify for Jobseekers Benefit in the South. He/she must satisfy the general contribution conditions for Jobseekers Benefit. If there is a partial loss of employment in the North, the NI Social Security Agency would be obliged to consider entitlement to contribution based Jobseekers Allowance
Q. Can a person living in the South and claiming Jobseekers benefit take up part-time work in Northern Ireland and continue to claim Jobseekers benefit in the South?
A. YES. But it is essential to get confirmation from your local welfare office in advance of taking the job in Northern Ireland. Please refer to the following: EU Recommendation No U1 of 12 June 2009 – “Where persons residing in the territory of a Member State are eligible, under the legislation applicable to them, to receive unemployment benefits, they should be allowed to pursue a part-time professional or trade activity in the territory of another Member State, while retaining entitlement to unemployment benefits provided by the State in which they reside.”
If issues arise about payment of National Insurance in the North it can be sorted out by the Special Collections Section which is based in Waterford. The office will forward a Form A1 on which you should cite the above EU recommendation: The Special Collections Section will then consult with the Northern Authorities and issue a certificate to the effect that the person remains subject to Southern legislation.
Contact: Special Collections Section, Department of Social Protection
Locall 1890 690 690 (from the Republic of Ireland only) or + 353 1 4715898
Email: Special Collections Enquiry Form
Updated: November 2017
This webpage is for general information purposes only and while we endeavour to keep it up-to-date, errors may occur. It is very important that you check with the relevant body to ensure the information is current and is applicable to your situation: – North / South
If you would like to suggest amendments or highlight new information that could be useful to others please don’t hesitate to get in touch.