Self-employed people are being asked if they would welcome an opt-in social welfare system whereby they would pay more to access more benefits.
20,000 surveys will be sent out to a random selection of people across a wide range of industries including agriculture, construction and hospitality.
It is part of the Government's plan to reform the PRSI system and create a better link between contributions and the benefits received.
Mark Fielding, head of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, has said people will always think twice about setting up their own business without a safety net: “It certainly stops people, or it has the capacity to stop people setting up business because as an employee you have an immediate entitlement to benefits if you are out of a job.
“As a self employed person, you don't have that immediate entitlement.
“Invalidity isn't covered for the self employed and disability isn't covered for the self employed.
“The difficulty is it will cost and that is where the crux of the matter is.”