Basic Income for the Arts – FAQ’s for VAI Members

The Irish Government has launched a new and pioneering pilot scheme to support artists and creative arts workers. The Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme will examine, over a three year period, the impact of a basic income on artists and creative arts workers. Payments of €325 per week will be made to 2,000 eligible artists and creative arts workers. The scheme will open for applications on April 12.

The information below answers many of the questions VAI have received from our members. To fully understand the Basic Income for the Arts scheme we recommend reading the extensive information provided by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media General Information , Application Guidelines and FAQs.

 

Included in FAQ’s for VAI Members

  1. How do I apply / register?
  2. I am a Member of VAI, how do I provide proof of this in my application?
  3. How do I access my VAI Membership Card Online?
  4. What other proof will I need to provide?
  5. How do I provide Proof of income from my work as an artist or a creative arts worker from the last 5 years?
  6. How do I provide Proof of active engagement within my creative field from the last 5 years?
  7. I am an Associate Member of VAI, can I change to Professional Member?
  8. I am an Associate Member of VAI, can I apply for Basic Income for the Arts?
  9. Should I apply for Basic Income for the Arts if I am currently in receipt of payments from the Department of Social Protection?
  10. May I apply for Basic Income for the Arts if I am a PAYE worker?
  11. Will applications be means tested?
  12. I’m not a Member of VAI, how do I become one?

 

If you have further questions about VAI Membership and Basic Income or the Arts you can reach us on 01 672 9488 or info@visualartists.ie.

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1. How do I apply / register?

Applications may be made through the online application portal available at gov.ie/basicincomearts

The application portal will open at 1pm on Tuesday April 12th and close at 1pm on Thursday May 12th.

The portal and application form are available in English and in Irish. Applicants must be based in the Republic of Ireland.

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2. I am a Member of VAI, how do I provide proof of this in my application?

For visual artists, Professional Membership of Visual Artists Ireland is accepted as one piece of evidence of their eligibility as an artist. (Please note: this is not a requirement, see full guidelines).

Professional Members of VAI can upload a photo or screenshot of their Membership Card when applying.

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3. How do I access my VAI Membership Card Online?

You can access your Digital Membership Card when you log in to the Members Area of the VAI website. Watch the video below for a simple guide to accessing your Digital Membership Card. (Video not playing or want to enlarge? Click the square with arrow in top right corner of the video screen.)

How to take a screenshot: www.webwise.ie/…/take-screenshot/

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4. What other proof will I need to provide?

Applicants will be asked to evidence their eligibility as an artist or creative arts worker by uploading two pieces of evidence. If you are a Member of VAI, this will be one piece of evidence. You must also provide one more piece of evidence, either:

  • Proof of income from your work as an artist or a creative arts worker in the last 5 years, or;
  • Proof of active engagement within your creative field/art form in the last 5 years.

Note: If you do not have Professional Membership of VAI, applicants can provide evidence of one from Proof of income list and one from Proof of active engagement, or they can provide two items from the Proof of Income list or two from Proof of active engagement.

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5. How do I provide Proof of income from my work as an artist or a creative arts worker from the last 5 years?

Evidence of / that you have had:

  • Remuneration which demonstrates payment for your creative work e.g. invoice, Revenue Form 11, payslip accompanied by reference from employer as to the artistic nature of the work;
  • Contract for service related to your creative work;
  • Public funding for your creative practice e.g. Arts Council, Screen Ireland, Local Authority etc. or other recognised arts organisation;
  • Grant Award from a recognised arts organisation based in Ireland or abroad;
  • Received Royalties for your work;
  • Commissioned to make work;
  • Sales of work;
  • Revenue approval for Artists’ Tax Exemption;
  • Been in receipt of Artists’ Job Seekers Allowance;
  • Other proof of income from your creative practice.

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6. How do I provide Proof of active engagement within my creative field from the last 5 years?

Proof that you have:

  • Undertaken an artist’s residency (national or international)
  • Had work included in a published collection / curated exhibition / programmed event
  • Represented by a gallery or promoter or agent for your practice / creative arts work
  • Had work produced by a recognised theatre / film / dance company etc.
  • Produced or directed work for an established company or festival
  • Choreographed work performed in a recognised venue
  • Had work reviewed in printed / online press
  • Had work published by a recognised, established publisher, with an ISBN / released a single, ep or album
  • Credit for film or theatre work
  • Curated an exhibition / festival /arts event
  • Received or been shortlisted for an awards by a recognised arts organisation
  • Supported production of artistic work as a creative arts worker in a recognised space / venue
  • Professional references (on letter headed paper) for engagement / employment / work in your creative field
  • A minimum of two unsuccessful grant applications from a recognised arts organisation.
  • Have worked with local arts via Local Authority Arts Office or other community organisation such as local school, community centre, library, local arts group etc.
  • Been employed as a Creative Arts Worker employed by an institution, festival, artistic company / organisation for that work
  • Website / digital presence for artistic work / being an artist / creative arts worker or portfolio of work (upload sample or link)
  • A relevant qualification or training in the arts
  • Relevant training/continuous professional development in the arts (not restricted to 5 years)
  • Current work in progress from the last 5 years
  • Expenditure on resources for creative practice e.g. rental of a studio space, purchase of equipment etc.

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7. I am an Associate Member of VAI, can I change to Professional Member?

There are two levels of VAI membership for individual artists, Professional and Associate. Whether an artist qualifies for Professional or Associate is based on the 7 Criteria in the VAI member application form and if they meet 3 or more of these criteria. Professional (meeting 3 or more of the membership criteria) and Associate (for artists not yet meeting 3 criteria).

You can review the criteria and update your membership from Associate to Professional where relevant, you may meet more of the criteria than when you first signed up as a member. Please Note: to activate the change from Associate to Professional you must contact us on 01 672 9488 or siobhan@visualartists.ie.

The 7 Professional Membership Criteria (Professional Members must have 3 or more):

  • Degree or Diploma from a recognised third level college in Fine Art or an Associated Visual Arts Discipline
  • One-person visual arts show(s) (including time based events) in a publicly funded (Arts Council, Local Authority, Government funded) visual arts space. Non-visual arts spaces do not qualify unless the exhibition is part of an acknowledged visual arts programme.
  • Your visual arts practice had caused your participation in a visual art’s exhibition/event which was selected by a jury in which professional artists or recognised curators participated.
  • Your visual art work has been purchased by Government, local authority, museum or corporate client for inclusion in a recognised collection.
  • Your visual art work has been commissioned by Government, local authority, museum or corporate client for inclusion in a recognised collection..
  • You have been awarded a bursary, residency, materials grant or otherwise grant aided by the Arts Council/Arts Council of Northern Ireland, local authority or other funding body based on your visual arts practice.
  • Have been awarded tax-exempt status based on your visual arts practice by the Revenue Commissioners, or are on schedule D as a self-employed artist in Northern Ireland.

If you have questions about if some of your experience fits with the criteria or if you want to switch from Associate to Professional Membership please contact us on 01 672 9488 or siobhan@visualartists.ie.

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8. I am an Associate Member of VAI, can I apply for Basic Income for the Arts?

Applicants will be asked to evidence their eligibility as an artist or creative arts worker by uploading two pieces of evidence. If you are an Associate Member of VAI, you can provide two pieces of evidence from any of the following categories:

  • Proof of income from your work as an artist or a creative arts worker in the last 5 years, or;
  • Proof of active engagement within your creative field/art form in the last 5 years.

Applicants can provide evidence of one from Proof of income list and one from Proof of active engagement, or they can provide two items from the Proof of Income list or two from Proof of active engagement.

If you cannot provide evidence of Proof Income and Proof of Active Engagement you could consider applying to Stream 2: Recently trained applicants.

The scheme will have two application streams as follows:

Stream 1: Practicing Artists and Creative Arts Workers. This covers all artists and creative arts workers who can demonstrate sufficient evidence of eligibility.

Stream 2: Recently trained applicants. This streams covers recently trained artists and creative arts workers who cannot yet demonstrate that they have engaged in a creative practice where their creative work makes a key contribution to the production, interpretation or exhibition of the arts.

This stream is intended to research the impact of a basic income on those who have completed a relevant training course, graduate degree or an arts related apprenticeship who have not yet have engaged in a creative practice. A maximum of 200 places are available under this stream.

Applicants under Stream 2 must supply supporting evidence of having trained in their chosen artform(s), for example by providing evidence of a qualification, apprenticeship or training.

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9. Should I apply for Basic Income for the Arts if I am in receipt of payments from the Department of Social Protection?

Artists and creative arts workers in receipt of social welfare payments are welcome and eligible to apply.

One of the research objectives of the scheme is to examine if a basic income style payment could reduce the reliance of the arts sector on social welfare payments during periods of unemployment.

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) will treat income from the basic income pilot scheme for artists as income from self-employment for the purpose of its various means tests. This means that where a scheme includes a disregard of a certain amount of income from self-employment, that disregard will be applied to income from the basic income pilot.

The impact on a person’s social welfare entitlements will depend on an individual’s own circumstances e.g. household income, other sources of income etc.

Applicants who are selected to take part in the pilot are advised to engage with the Department of Social Protection to determine the impact on their social welfare payments if they were to receive the basic income for the arts before accepting an offer to participate.

People in receipt of a social welfare payment who receive payments from the pilot scheme should advise DSP of this change in their circumstances.

Will people on Disability Allowance from the Department of Social Protection lose their benefits?

No not necessarily, the Department of Social Protection will treat the basic income as earnings from self-employment. The impact that income from the basic income pilot scheme will have on a person’s Disability Allowance payment will depend on each individual’s circumstances and they will need to engage with the Department of Social Protection on the matter.

Disability Allowance is a means-tested payment for people with a specified disability whose income falls below certain limits and who are aged between 16 and are under 66.

A person in receipt of Disability Allowance can take up employment or self-employment. The first €140 of weekly income from that employment (after deduction of PRSI, pension contributions and union dues) is disregarded for the purpose of the means test.

50% of their weekly earnings between €140 and €350 is then disregarded for the purpose of the means test. Any further earnings, over €350 per week, are fully assessed for the purpose of the means test.

In addition to satisfying the means test, in order to qualify for Disability Allowance a person must:

• have an injury, disease or physical or mental disability that has continued, or may be expected to continue, for at least one year, and

• be substantially restricted from doing work that would otherwise be suitable for a person of their your age, experience and qualifications.

Will people lose their invalidity pension if they get the basic income for the arts?

  • Invalidity Pension is a weekly payment to people who cannot work because of a long-term illness or disability and are covered by social insurance (PRSI).
  • The payment is not means tested so income from the basic income pilot scheme would not have an impact on a person’s personal rate of payment.
  • However, to qualify for invalidity pension a person must:

– have been incapable of work for at least 12 months and be likely to be incapable of work for at least another 12 months (they may have been getting Illness Benefit or Disability Allowance during that time) or

– be permanently incapable of work (in certain cases of very serious illness or disability, a person can transfer directly from another social welfare payment or from their job to Invalidity Pension).

And

– Satisfy the relevant PRSI contribution conditions.

Can people on Carers Allowance apply and will they lose their carers allowance payment from the Department of Social Protection?

People in receipt of Carer’s Allowance can apply for the scheme. The Department of Social Protection will treat the basic income as earnings from self-employment. So for schemes such as Carers Allowance which have income disregards the income will be taken into account in the scheme income disregard.

The means test for the Carer’s Allowance involves assessing the income coming into a household. For a single person €332.50 of their gross weekly income is not taken into account (or disregarded). If a person is married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting the first €665 of the combined gross weekly income is disregarded. (Please note PRSI, union dues, superannuation (pension contributions) are also deducted from your gross income).

In addition, to the means test, one of the qualifying conditions for receipt of Carer’s Allowance is that the person is not working, self-employed, or on a training or education course for more than 18.5 hours a week.

Will people in receipt of the Blind Pension lose their social welfare payment if they get the basic income for the arts?

Blind Pension is a means-tested payment paid to blind and visually impaired people who are habitually resident in Ireland. The maximum personal rate is €208 per week.

A person in receipt of Blind Pension can take up employment or self-employment. The first €140 of weekly income from that employment (after deduction of PRSI, pension contributions and union dues) is disregarded for the purpose of the means test. 50% of their weekly earnings between €140 and €350 is then disregarded for the purpose of the means test.

Any further earnings, over €350 per week, are fully assessed for the purpose of the means test.

As income from the basic income pilot scheme for artists will be treated as income from self-employment the disregard will be applied.

Citizens Information can answer questions on how different social welfare schemes such as Disability Allowance, Jobseekers Allowance, Carers Allowance and the Back to Work Enterprise Scheme will be impacted by receiving an increase in weekly income.

Citizens Information Phone Service is a nationwide service that can be reached on 0818 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm.

Citizens Information Centres provide free, impartial information, advice and advocacy from more than 215 locations around the country. Find your local centre here.

Those in receipt of a social welfare payment who receive payments from the pilot scheme should advise the Department of Social protection of this change in their circumstances.

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10. May I apply for Basic Income for the Arts if I am a PAYE worker?

Those in full-time PAYE employment with organisations funded through The Arts Council, commercial arts organisations or other state-funded arts or cultural organisations are NOT eligible to apply.

Those working in other sectors through economic necessity who can prove they have a creative practice are eligible may apply.

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11. Will applications be means tested?

No, BIA applicants will not be tested for means. All eligible applications will be included in the randomised selection process.

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12. I’m not a Member of VAI, how do I become one?

To become a member of Visual Artists Ireland, we’ll need you to fill out the Membership Form here.

You can see a full list of membership benefits here.

There are two rates of membership for both Professional and Associate Memberships. Annual membership: €25 for unwaged / student / OAP and €50 for waged artists.

Some membership features include:

 

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