Dancers in formation

Social welfare scheme for self-employed artists expands to wider creative community

05 July 2019
3 min read

Ministers announce the welcome extension of the social welfare scheme for self-employed artists from September.

Great news for our hardworking artists, one of the Creative Ireland Programme’s first pilot initiatives - the social welfare scheme for self-employed artists - has been significantly expanded to include even more creative disciplines.

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD and the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD, have announced the extension of the scheme on a permanent basis to self-employed artists including those working in the performing arts, film and architecture

The expanded scheme recognises the unique creative circumstances of artists in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance, giving them special assistance in their first year out of work to allow them to focus on their creative output. 

Supporting actors, architects, designers, dancers and beyond 

This means that from September 2019, self-employed artists in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance for the first year they are out of work will now be able to focus on their artistic efforts and develop their portfolio, rather than having to participate in the normal labour market to make ends meet. Artists eligible to apply now include actors, theatre and film directors, dancers, opera singers, set, costume and lighting designers, musicians, composers, choreographers, architects and street performers.

Watch the scheme's launch video from 2017 below:

Positive feedback

A review of the pilot scheme revealed that to date over 100 artists and writers have availed of it and that over 87% of those artists who exited the Jobseeker’s Allowance scheme, have done so within the first year.

With feedback from organisations representing visual artists and writers clearly positive, the expansion of the scheme is also a recognition of the vital contribution our artists make to our life and society.

As is the case with visual artists and writers, an independent and objective validation process of professional certification will be developed by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Arts Council and the various representative bodies as part of the process.