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Case Studies » Unemployment » Jobseeker's Allowance - from 2016 Annual Report (ref: 2016/24)

2016/24 – Jobseeker’s Allowance

Oral hearing

Question at issue: Eligibility (Habitual Residence Condition)

Background: The appellant, in her late 20s, was born in Spain. She came to live in Ireland originally in 2010 and worked for periods between 2010 and 2013. She went back to Spain, where she worked until her return to Ireland in 2015. She made a claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance some six months later. This was refused on grounds that she was not habitually resident in the State.

Oral hearing: The appellant reported that during her previous residence in Ireland, she had worked in a number of jobs and lived with her Irish partner. She advised that she had made a claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance in 2013 and had been paid for a few months at a reduced rate as her means had been assessed with reference to her partner’s earnings from employment. She advised that she returned to live with her family in Spain when the relationship ended. She outlined details of her living arrangements since her return in 2015 and advised that, between then and the date of making her claim, she had one day of employment and ten days subsequently. She said that she was registered with an agency and paid on the basis of self-employment. She said that, since her return, she had been to Spain only once to renew her identity card and that she considers Ireland to be more her home than Spain at this stage. She advised that she had been refused renewal of her European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in Spain and had been told that she had to apply for her card in Ireland. She submitted a certificate from the Spanish Embassy stating that she is resident in Ireland, a copy of her current tenancy agreement, Notice of Income Tax registration with Revenue, a Spanish identity card with an Irish address, as well as documentary evidence confirming her involvement in a range of social activities.

Consideration: The Appeals Officer noted that the decision in the case had been made with reference to the five factors to be taken into account in determining habitual residence, outlined in Section 246(4) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005. She observed that the appellant must be assumed to have a right to reside in the State as this had not been addressed in the decision. Accordingly, habitual residence fell to be determined with reference only to the five factors. She noted that the appellant had been paid Jobseeker’s Allowance in 2013 so that she must have satisfied the habitual residence condition at that time. She noted that the Department of Social Protection has issued Guidelines on the Habitual Residence Condition (HRC), which state that a person who had previously been habitually resident in the State, moves to live and work in another country and then resumes his/her long-term residence, may be regarded as being habitually resident immediately on their return. The Appeals Officer noted that the appellant had been deemed to be habitually resident in 2013 and that her circumstances were in line with those outlined in the HRC Guidelines. She noted that the evidence submitted had served to establish that her centre of interest was in Ireland and concluded that the appellant must be deemed to meet the habitual residence condition for purposes of her Jobseeker’s Allowance claim.

Outcome: Appeal allowed.