Covid-19

FURTHER UPDATE: Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Enhanced Illness Benefit

David Lynch

Reporter:

David Lynch

Garda appeal after 'sum of money' found in Dundalk

Garda appeal after 'sum of money' found in Dundalk

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has revealed that it has issued payments valued at €204.6 million to 585,000 people in respect of their application for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

Around 7,000 people are receiving a payment for the first time.  This is a reduction of 5,000 on the number of people paid at the same point last week.

There are now over 54,000 employers who have registered with the Revenue Commissioners for the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) with at least one subsidy being paid in respect of over 464,000 people under that scheme.

The payments are in addition to the 214,700 people who were reported on the Live Register as of the end of April. 

All Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment payments issued will be in recipients’ bank accounts or at their local post office tomorrow, Tuesday 19th May.

Advice for people returning to work

As announced by the Government the first phase of the Roadmap for the Reopening of Society and Business begins today. Taking this into account, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is advising workers who may be returning to work today, 18th May to close their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) today in order to make sure that they will not lose out in getting their payment for the previous week - that payment is due to be paid tomorrow, Tuesday 19th May. 

Similarly, workers who will be returning to work any time after today, Monday, 18th May must close their claim for the PUP payment on the actual date that they start back at work.

The easiest way to close a claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is online via www.mywelfare.ie.  Any worker returning to work with an enquiry about closing their claim, can contact the Department’s dedicated income support helpline at 1890 800 024 (Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm).

The Department has begun a public information campaign today to inform workers receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment who may be returning to work on when and how to close their claim for this payment.

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty today said: “Built for speed and impact, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment has provided families throughout the country with immediate assistance following the overnight loss of hundreds of thousands of incomes. As an emergency response, it has successfully allowed us to prevent a health and economic emergency from turning into a social crisis.  It is also very unlikely that we would have had the high level of public compliance with the health restrictions introduced to tackle the virus without the relief provided by the payments.

“Today, Ireland takes the very first tentative steps back towards normality – or the new normal whatever that may look like. While today’s figures confirm that we have reached the peak in terms of those receiving Pandemic Unemployment Payments, I would expect over the coming weeks for those numbers to continue to gradually drop as more and more people return to work. Today, my Department has begun an advertising campaign advising those who return to work on how to close their payment. 

“Not everyone is going to be able to return to work so quickly and the Pandemic Unemployment Payments will continue for now. Future decisions regarding the nature of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be based on our commitment that everyone who genuinely needs help will get the most appropriate assistance and also based on the evidence we receive from the reopening of the economy.”

 

Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

In total and excluding duplicate claims the Department processed applications from 658,000 people for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment or a jobseeker’s payment. 

 

As is the case, for all social welfare schemes, the Department conducts a series of pre and post payment checks.  For example:

 

-       Integrity checks are made against records already held by the Department including Public Service Information data and cross checks with payments on other schemes. These help to verify if a person is who they claim to be and that they are entitled to claim payment.

 

-       Each week when the Department processes the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payments (PUP), a conciliation takes place between the Department’s payment file and Revenue’s payment file for the Covid-19 Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. This results in claims from those who are being paid by their employer being withheld and therefore not processed by the Department’s payment process. These people are then contacted by the Department to inform them of the position. 

-       A prior employment status check is made by comparing all claims for PUP against prior earnings and employment records from Revenue data. Where this check indicates that a person may not have been employed, as claimed, the person is contacted and asked to submit corroborating information. Failure to submit corroborating information leads to the claim being closed.

-       As with other welfare schemes, the Department contacts recipients to ensure that they continue to satisfy the eligibility criteria of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

-       Data analytics is also used to identify claims where a person may not satisfy other conditions – for example residence in Ireland - and Department inspection staff check these cases.

 

-       The Department’s inspection staff also participate with Garda and Customs staff, in security checks on major transport routes and transport hubs.

 

-       Confidential reporting facilities are available to the public (1890 927999 and at https://www.welfare.ie/en/ Pages/secure/ReportFraud.aspx) and to employers (email to: C19EmployerReports@welfare.ie ) to report cases of suspected mis-claiming.

 

Following the application of these checks and controls the Department has this week paid 585,000 people out of the 658,000 unique claims processed, with no payment due to the remaining claims.  The vast majority of the claims were paid within a week of receipt. This indicates the efficiency of using data analytics to both identify incorrect claims and ensure prompt processing of valid claims.

 

To date, over 105,000 people have contacted the Department to close their Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Many of these requests are because employers are taking people back onto their payroll under the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.

 

Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

There are now over 54,000 employers who have registered with the Revenue Commissioners for the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS).  Workers whose employers have registered them on the scheme are not eligible to receive a pandemic unemployment payment. In addition workers who were in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment but who have now been registered by their employers on the TWSS are no longer eligible to receive a payment pandemic unemployment payment

 

The Department is aware that some workers may be incorrectly registered as part of the TWSS or may face difficulty in transitioning back from the pandemic unemployment payment to the employer payroll.   Such a situation may arise, for example, because a worker has been registered in error by their employer, or because an employer having registered for the TWSS has since ceased operating their payroll, or, due to differences in the weekly payment pattern of the pandemic unemployment payment as compared with a monthly or fortnightly payroll from the employer.  Any worker affected by these issues can contact the Department and arrangements will be made to restore their payment or provide them with interim income support as appropriate.

 

Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment

There are now 44,600 people medically certified for receipt of the Covid-19 enhanced Illness Benefit. This predominantly relates to applications in respect of people who have been advised by their GP to self-isolate together with a smaller number in respect of people who have been diagnosed with Covid-19.

 

Please apply online at www.MyWelfare.ie