All overseas volunteers from Ireland are entitled to have their PRSI record maintained during their volunteer assignment.
Maintaining your PRSI record is very important to ensure you can access your full entitlement to social welfare supports should you need to; including jobseekers, maternity, illness benefit and your contributory state pension etc.
The Volunteer Development Worker (VDW) Scheme is very simple to apply for and is FREE to avail of. You can read the full information about the scheme here: http://www.comhlamh.org/what-we-do-2/social-insurance-and-pensions/
A few things worth knowing about the scheme:
- Students are entitled to apply – even if you have no prior PRSI record
- You are currently considered a volunteer if your salary/allowance is less than €18,304
- You must be resident in the Republic of Ireland pre-departure to be eligible (if a volunteer is resident in Northern Ireland or any other EU state pre-departure they can avail of a parallel scheme in that state – however, Ireland is the only country in Europe where the scheme is free)
- You can apply for the scheme if you are only overseas for any length of time from one week to five years.
- It is much, much easier to apply for the scheme pre-departure than on return at the point of trying to access social welfare so please think ahead! (this is particularly important for those on longer term assignments)
You can read more frequently asked questions here.