Benefit from state welfare
Every farmer or farm worker is entitled to a range of social welfare supports, depending on their circumstances. A farm worker is entitled to certain payments which are dependent on the number of PRSI contributions which he/she makes and the class of PRSI under which the worker is contributing. Other payments are not based on PRSI contributions.
PRSI classes and benefits
The two principal classes under which farmers normally contribute to the Social Welfare system are class A (generally employees) and class S (generally self-employed persons).
PRSI contributions provide several benefits (see table, below), subject to sufficient contributions having been made.
You will note that a much wider variety of social welfare entitlements are available to employees contributing under class A in comparison to self-employed persons contributing under class S. Perhaps most significantly, Jobseeker's Benefit (formerly known as Unemployment Benefit) is not available to class S contributors. However, Farm Assist, or Jobseeker's Allowance may be available subject to a 'means test'.
The State pension (contributory) is, subject to conditions, available to both employed and self-employed contributors.
'Family Employment Arrangements' not Covered by PRSI
Certain 'family employment arrangements' are not covered by PRSI as they are not regarded as insurable employments. For example, if a farmer's spouse, or other prescribed relative, is employed on the farm or assists in running the farm, this may not be covered by the PRSI system and the associated benefits may not be available to the worker involved.