Professional Artists’ Jobseeker’s Allowance Scheme

The Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection, Regina Doherty T.D. and the Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan T.D., have announced that the Professional Artists’ Jobseeker’s Allowance scheme is now open.   

The scheme recognises the unique creative circumstances of dancers and choreographers applying for Jobseeker’s Allowance. Specifically the scheme is designed to support professional dance artists during times when their incomes are low and to provide support to develop income opportunities, focus on their artistic work and develop their portfolio.

This social welfare scheme recognises the unique creative circumstances of all professional artists in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance and gives them special assistance in their first year out of work, allowing them to focus on their creative output.

Professional artists who are on Jobseeker’s Allowance will now be able to focus on their artistic work and to develop their portfolio. They will be exempt from participating in the normal labour market activation activities for the first year that they are out of work.

In order to qualify for the scheme, professional artists must apply for and satisfy the qualifying conditions for Jobseeker’s Allowance including a means test. They must be unemployed, capable of, available for and actively seeking work. Applicants are also required to provide a certificate from their professional body as to their status as a professional artist. They must be registered as self-employed with the Office of the Revenue Commissioners and at least 50% of their income should be derived from their art in the previous year. Participants on the scheme can continue on a voluntary basis to avail of the supports of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s Public Employment Service.

More information on the scheme is available here.

Minister Doherty said:

Ireland is well known throughout the world for its unique contribution to all art forms. Giving professional artists an opportunity to expand their creative work in a practical way is our way of acknowledging the important work that professional artists do. We know that creativity must be fostered and allowed to develop rather than imposing restrictions on the time needed to produce creative work to a professional standard. My department looks forward to accepting applications from professional artists who satisfy the qualifying conditions and to support them in the development of their professional careers.

Minister Madigan commented:

This Government recognises the crucial role that the arts and culture play in our nation…artists, performers and stage designers are central to this. They deserve our full support particularly given the significant income challenges they can face. That’s why we expanded this scheme, a pilot initiative of the all-of-Government Creative Ireland Programme, to include other self-employed artists. The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will work with the Arts Council and the representative bodies for artists from different art forms to develop an independent and objective validation process that will certify the artists’ professional credentials.

Dance Ireland is the designated certifying body for professional dance in Ireland.
Professional members, working as dancers and choreographers will be eligible to avail of this enhanced social welfare scheme.
Dance Ireland worked closely with officials on a certification process in order to enable our professional members’ avail of the scheme. 

In keeping with our desire to maintain interpersonal communications with members, and to ensure discretion and confidentiality, we will issue certification on a case-by-case basis. Our lead on this will be our Membership Engagement Officer Andrea Bolger. To contact Andrea directly, either phone: 01 855 8800 or email:

Other useful links here:

More information on Jobseeker’s Allowance and related benefits is available from the Citizens Information website

Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection:

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

Creative Ireland