Covid-19

NEW UPDATE: Payments awarded for Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Enhanced Illness Benefit

Welfare

David Lynch

Reporter:

David Lynch

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection issued payments valued at €202.8m to 579,400 people in respect of their application for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

This is a reduction of 5,200 on the number of people paid at the same point last week. Included amongst this week’s recipients are 33,400 people who will be receiving their last payment as they are returning to work.

As well as those on the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, there are now almost 56,300 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 482,800 people under that scheme.

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

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty today said: “The Pandemic Unemployment Payment provided families throughout the country with immediate assistance at breakneck speed following the overnight loss of hundreds of thousands of incomes. It was the very definition of an emergency response and played a pivotal role in ensuring the high level of public compliance with the health restrictions introduced to tackle the virus without the relief provided by the payments.

“Today, after a few weeks of plateauing, the indications are that the numbers receiving the payment will now fall as the country gradually reopens. While we did not have the luxury of time to design in detail the income supports we could provide to people as health restrictions were introduced, we now do have the space to plan out and tailor our ongoing response to the pandemic. 

“As we gradually move through the phases of reopening our society, we need to now review the nature of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and how it fits into cross-Government plans to keep Ireland healthy and get the country working again. Any future decisions will be based on our commitment that everyone who needs help will get the most appropriate assistance and also based on the evidence we receive from the reopening of the economy.”

All Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment payments issued will be in recipients’ bank accounts or at their local post office tomorrow, Tuesday 26th May.

County Breakdown

 

People returning to work

Last week, some 44,000 people closed their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment of which about 35,600 reported that they were returning to work. The balance relates primarily to overlaps with the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.  Of those 35,600 returning to work, approx. 33,400 are receiving their last unemployment payment this week and are included in the 579,400 people reported above. There is a one week lag in how closures due to people returning to work are reflected in the payment data because most of the people concerned will receive a payment tomorrow as the PUP payment is made weekly in arrears and the people concerned were unemployed in the week for which the payment is due.

The main sectors in which people are returning to work are Construction with 12,700 workers back in work. In Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair of Motor vehicles and motorcycles, 5,500 have returned to work and 3,700 have returned to their jobs in the Manufacturing sector. A full breakdown of the sectors is set out at Appendix 6 below.

With the first phase of the Government’s Roadmap for the Reopening of Society and Business now in place and the gradual reopening of the economy, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is advising workers who are returning to work that they must close their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

In order to ensure that their claim is processed correctly, workers who will be returning to work 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).

 

Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment Checks

As is the case, for all social welfare schemes, the Department conducts a series of pre and post payment checks for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, including:

 

-        Integrity checks 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.

-        a reconciliation process between the Department’s payment file and Revenue’s payment file for the Covid-19 Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.

-        A prior employment status check by comparing all claims for PUP against prior earnings and employment records from Revenue data.

-        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

 

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

 

Following the application of these checks and controls the Department has this week paid 579,400 people out of the 675,600 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, around 156,000 people have contacted the Department to close their Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

 

Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

There are now almost 56,300 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.

 

Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment

There are now 46,500 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.

 

Apply online at www.MyWelfare.ie

The Department wishes to thank its customers for submitting the majority of applications through our online portal www.MyWelfare.ie. This is the quickest and easiest way to submit an application and enables the Department to allocate resources to contacting those who submitted invalid applications.

Individuals can close their Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment online at www.MyWelfare.ie.

In the interests of the public health advice and the restrictions on movements please if at all possible do not attend your local Intreo Centre as opening hours have now been restricted. Instead please apply through www.MyWelfare.ie.