Pregnancy and Social Welfare Payments


It’s important to see what you are entitled to when you are pregnant in terms of social welfare. You cannot qualify for Maternity Benefit if you’re unemployed and pregnant, unless your employment contract finishes up within 16 weeks of your due date and you can meet the PRSI criteria required.

Illness Benefit

If you’re pregnant, unemployed and claiming Illness Benefit you should continue to claim it provided you continue to provide medical certificates to qualify. Pregnancy itself is not a medical reason to claim Illness Benefit. If medical complications arise due to your pregnancy you may qualify for it. When your baby is born you may be entitled to an increase in Illness Benefit for a dependent minor. 

Jobseeker’s Allowance

●     If you’re expecting a baby and not currently working you could be entitled to means-tested Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA). You must be available for work and continue to seek work throughout your pregnancy.
●     You don’t have to continue signing on at your local social welfare office or prove you are looking for employment 4 weeks prior and 8 weeks following the birth of your baby. Your local welfare office must be informed of your pregnancy.
●     You may be entitled to an increase in JSA following the birth of your child, and you should contact them to check your eligibility.
●     If you are sick during pregnancy you are not entitled to Jobseeker’s Benefit or Allowance but may be entitled to Illness Benefit. If the illness is expected to last more than 12 months you may be able to claim Disability Allowance.
●     You may be entitled to other financial supports from the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme.  

Sick Leave From Work

If you are on Sick Leave and are claiming Illness Benefit directly before you are supposed to start maternity leave you should be entitled to Maternity Benefit if you satisfy the criteria. If you’re not getting Illness Benefit while on Sick Leave you may still be entitled to Maternity Benefit as the criteria you need to meet are different.

One-Parent Family Payment

●     You should continue to receive this payment while you are pregnant if you satisfy the criteria, and your baby’s birth should qualify you for an increase in your payment. If you don’t have any other children you won’t receive One-Parent payment until your baby is born.
●    Half-rate Maternity Benefit may an entitlement if you are employed and have enough PRSI contributions. If you are not entitled to One-Parent Family Payment, you may get some support from the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme.


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