What is the benefit of work estimator? (Step-by-step guide)

Updated 18 January 2023

Returning to work or getting an increase in hours is an exciting time, yet working out how this affects your government entitlements can be tricky. Knowing how to use the benefit of work estimator can help to eliminate any confusion. This tool can calculate your take-home pay based on your job and any government payments you are receiving. In this article, we explain what the work estimator is, outline its benefits, explain the payments it calculates and provide a guide to using it.

What is the benefit of work estimator?

Learning the answer to, 'What is the benefit of work estimator?' can help you calculate your take-home income when you decide to accept a job after being unemployed. This tool helps one-parent families and those claiming disability or illness allowances by showing how starting a job or accepting an increase in work hours can affect social welfare payments. It's also an anonymous online tool and is available to anyone. There's no requirement to provide personal details because the information provided doesn't identify you to the Department of Social Protection.

The tool allows people looking to return to work on a full or part-time basis an opportunity to discover whether the role they want to take is economically beneficial. For those who are claiming disability or on an illness payment, it's beneficial to gather information before making a decision. The tool takes the user through a step-by-step process and it provides a calculation at the end. This calculation is an estimate.

Related: How many hours is part-time work? (With types and careers)

Payments the work estimator calculates

The tool can calculate the impact any employment can have on these six types of social welfare payments. As with these payments, it's best to contact your local social welfare office for further details on eligibility. You can also check the website of the Department of Social Protection. These are the payments that the tool currently caters to:

Jobseekers Benefit

This is a weekly payment paid to a person by the Department of Social Protection. It's available to those unemployed and under the age of 66, and who have paid enough social insurance contributions (PRSI). Those who receive this payment confirm that they are available and seeking work. Those who are receiving it can continue to claim the payment if they find temporary or part-time employment. If you have not got enough social insurance contributions, you can apply for Jobseeker's Allowance.

Jobseekers Allowance

Those who don't qualify for Jobseekers Benefit can apply for Jobseekers Allowance. Those who claim all of their Jobseekers Benefit entitlements can apply for this payment if they're still unemployed. Jobseekers Allowance is means-tested, whereas Jobseekers Benefit isn't. To qualify for Jobseeker's Allowance, the person is over 18 and under 66 years of age. An applicant's income comes under a threshold laid out by the department. Income from any work impacts the amount received.

Jobseekers Transitional

This supports lone parents who are raising a child, the youngest of which is between seven and 13 years of age. It supports lone parents as they seek to get back into the workplace. One of the main differences between this payment and the abovementioned ones is that a person is not required to be available for work or seeking full-time work. This payment allows the lone parent to concentrate on parenting. Yet, the parent may access educational opportunities or training. Some parents work part-time or mornings as this entitles them to this payment while their children are in school.

One-Parent Family Payment

This helps men and women who are raising children without a partner's support. People receiving it are under 66 years of age. To be eligible, it's required that one child be under the age of seven. Parents can also be step-parents, a parent of adopted children or be a child's legal guardians. People getting this payment can work and receive it once their income is below a certain level. Other benefits of this scheme include having access to the Household Budget Scheme, a medical card and help to pay rent. A means test is necessary.

Blind Pension

This is a means-tested payment that requires the applicant to provide the results of an eye test verified by an ophthalmic surgeon. It's paid to those who are blind or visually impaired. It comprises payment for the person applying and extra amounts for any qualified dependents. There are other entitlements that a qualified person may receive. This payment is subject to tax. A person can earn up to €140 per week from a job before it starts to impact their payment. Earnings over €350 are an income and affect a person's entitlement.

Disability Allowance

This is available to anyone 16 years and over with a disability. To qualify, a person provides details of their injury, disease or disability that they've had for a year or expect to have for at least a year. Getting the payment depends on having a disability that prevents a person from doing work that would be suitable for someone their age and with their skills. This is a means-tested payment. Yet, the department doesn't consider self-employed work. Any income from a civil partner, spouse or cohabitant may affect it.

Partial Capacity Benefit

A person can get this if they have a reduced capacity for work, either through a mental or physical disability. This payment helps people take up a job or start their own business and still receive a payment. If a person was getting an illness benefit payment or an invalidity pension payment, they may be eligible for this because their capacity for work remains lower because of their disability. The one major requirement for this payment is the assessment of the disability. It's required that it's moderate, severe or profound. If it's mild, the person won't qualify.

Related: Show hiring managers that you're ready to work

How to use the benefit of work estimator

Using the tool is easy and requires the user to fill in a step-by-step online form that gathers information about government payments and the type of work you are doing or plan to do. It collates the information and assesses how it may impact your payments. The calculation provided at the end is an estimation. It's possible that the payment received is different. The following explains how to use the tool:

1. Enter the social welfare scheme that you're claiming

Select the payment type first. Those on a jobseeker payment tick the payment type they're receiving and how long they've been getting it before proceeding to the next step. Time spent on any educational course, completing any training or doing an unemployment scheme can count as part of the unemployment period. Depending on the payment, you enter the number of dependants. A dependent is any child who lives with you that is under 17 years old. With Partial Capacity Benefit, the user gets asked if they're on an illness benefit or getting an invalidity pension.

2. Enter details about dependants

Having any dependants can impact your overall estimate. The tool calculates any entitlements based on the number of dependents you have. For example, a dependant child is someone who is living in the same house as you and is 17 years old or younger. They can be 21 years or younger if they're studying full-time.

3. Enter details about a medical card

A medical card can provide much-needed help to people who qualify for it. The online form asks only if you have one. It doesn't ask for any identifiable details, as the tool is anonymous. It's important to note here that it doesn't include the GP visit card.

4. Provide details of relationship status

The online form requires this information so it can accurately assess your entitlement. This can impact your payment and it's essential to input this information. The tool then assesses how this affects your payments.

5. Enter your work details

This is the final part of the process. The tool requests the user to enter details about the type of job and the number of hours they're expecting to work. It then asks what the expected hourly pay is. Once you input all the information, the tool provides an estimate. This allows the user to get a comprehensive picture of how a job or increase in hours can impact their payment.

Related: How to calculate hours worked (With steps and examples)

Advantages of the benefit of work estimator

The tool provides benefits for jobseekers, one-parent families and people claiming disability payments. It's important to note how your future may look when taking on a new role or accepting any increase in hours. For advice on your entitlements and estimates received by using the tool, you can contact the Citizens Information office. Here are the benefits of the tool:

  • You can do essential research from home and save on time queueing in the local welfare office.

  • You can put in details for numerous scenarios to see how they may impact your payments.

  • You can decide if a job you're considering is a smart financial move.

  • You can approach an employer and accept a job or an increase in hours, knowing how it affects your payments.

  • You can make decisions based on using a service that is tailored to this process.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. This article is based on information available at the time of writing, which may change at any time. Indeed does not guarantee that this information is always up-to-date. Please seek out a local resource for the latest on this topic.

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