How does the new system work if you're unemployed?
Tom is 24 and recently lost his job on a building site in Cork city. He left school at 16 and has been unemployed at different times since then. He wants to claim Jobseekers support. The new Pathways to Work programme means:
1) He must first register with the Department of Social Protection's National Employment and Entitlements Service. He can do this, and also book an appointment at his local office, online. He can also register at his local office, which is the only option under the current system.
2) He goes to his local office for an interview and must bring documents that were requested when he registered. This official reviews his claim and decides whether to award him the social welfare benefit.
Using an internal profiling system, the official will assess the likelihood of him finding a job. The profiling system is new and will be used to assess who is most in need of help. While there are no exact details as yet, the system is expected to centre on experience and qualifications.
The claimant will then be asked to sign a 'Rights and Responsibilities' contract. Under the old system, he would still meet a department official, but would not be profiled. After three months, he would be referred to Fas.
3) He must attend a mandatory group meeting with other claimants who were scored as "far from the labour market". This is new, as are the following extra services.
4) He then has a one-to-one meeting with a case worker who helps him write an action plan and talks about the possibility of work experience and training. The case worker may refer him to a specialist in his preferred area to help him find a job.
The case worker will contact him if work experience or training opportunities come up.
5) The case worker will contact him on a regular basis to see how his action plan is going and remind him that he is obliged to try to find work or run the risk of having his benefits cuts.