Back to Work Enterprise Allowance

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) is a scheme available to people who want to become self-employed and have been receiving certain social welfare payments for at least twelve months. You must be setting up as self-employed in a business that has been approved in advance in writing by a DSP case officer or Local Development Company.

Time spent on One-Parent Family Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Transition, Jobseeker’s Benefit, Disability Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Widow’s Pension, Invalidity Pension and Blind Pension can count towards this twelve-month period.

Time spent on other payments or schemes can also count towards the qualifying period for BTWEA.

The Government announced under the July Jobs Stimulus that access to the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance will be extended to people getting the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

If you qualify for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance you can keep a portion of your social welfare payment, including increases for qualified children, for a maximum of 2 years.

You can retain 100% of your payment for the 1st year and 75% for the 2nd year.

You can keep any secondary benefits, such as Fuel Allowance, Medical Card and the Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance, while you are receiving BTWEA but any income from your business will affect your Rent Supplement or Housing Assistance Payment, if you are living in private rented accommodation and getting either of these payments. If you are in council housing, the BTWEA will not impact on the amount of rent you pay.

You do not have to pay tax, PRSI or Universal Social Charge on the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance but you may have to pay tax, PRSI and Universal Social Charge on any income you get from self-employment.

How to apply

  • To apply for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, complete application form BTW 2.
  • You should return form BTW 2 to the Case Officer in your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.
  • The Case Officer will look at your business proposal and may discuss certain aspects of it with you. You may then be referred to your Local Development Company. You must not take up self-employment until you have received written approval from the DSP.
  • If you are accepted on to the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, you must register as self-employed with the Revenue Commissioners.