Professional artists on Jobseekers Allowance


The Social Welfare Scheme for Professional Artists on Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) allows professional artists who are getting JA to focus on their artistic work and to develop their portfolio for the first year that they are out of work.

Under the Scheme, professional artists getting Jobseeker’s Allowance can be exempt from labour market activation for the first year that they are out of work.

Art forms covered under the Scheme include visual arts, theatre, literature, music, dance, opera, film and circus. The Department of Social Protection provides a full list of professional art forms covered by the Scheme (pdf).


To qualify for the Scheme, you must be aged over 18 and under 66. You must also:

At least 50% of your income in the previous year should be derived from your work as a professional artist. For example:

  • Sales of artworks
  • Sale of books
  • Royalties
  • Bursaries and grant arising from status as an artist
  • Book readings
  • Appearance fees
  • Lecture fees
  • Sales of artistic editions
  • Artist fee on commissioned works
  • Artist fee on exhibitions
  • Artist fee on education and outreach programme
  • Artistic consultancy
  • Artist fee for selection panels
  • Artists fee for artistic advisory panels
  • Artistic technical and installation support
  • Art awards and prizes
  • Artistic residencies
  • Artist fee on design consultants

When you are being assessed for the Scheme, you will be means tested as a self-employed person and certain expenses related to your profession are allowable.

How to apply

When you apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance, you should provide all the necessary documentation including:

  • A certificate or declaration from a professional body that you are a professional artist
  • Documents from the Office of the Revenue Commissioners showing that at least 50% of your income was from your work as a professional artist in the previous year

If you are already getting Jobseeker’s Allowance and you think you might qualify for the Scheme, you should contact your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.

Page edited: 28 September 2022