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Grants & Support

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) scheme encourages people getting certain social welfare payments to become self-employed. If you take part in the BTWEA scheme you can keep a percentage of your social welfare payment for up to 2 years.

BTWEA is a payment made by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) to people aged under 66.  There is also a separate Back to Work Scheme called the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance, which supports people on Jobseeker's Benefit to start their own business.

You can qualify for a Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) if you are:

  • Setting up as self-employed in a new business that has been approved in advance in writing by a DSP Case Officer and a Local Development Company (see 'How to apply' below) and
  • Getting Jobseeker's Benefit (JB)* or Jobseeker's Allowance (JA) continuously for at least 9 months (234 days). If you have been getting either of these payments continuously for 12 months (312 days) immediately before BTWEA, you can have a maximum of 30 days off the Live Register during this time
  • (*with an underlying entitlement to Jobseeker's Allowance - see 'Jobseeker's Benefit and underlying entitlement to JA' below) or
  • Getting a social welfare qualifying payments (please see list of payments in the link below) for at least 9 months. More information on this and other ways to qualify for BTWEA.


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