Covid-19

New update on payments awarded for Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Enhanced Illness Benefit

Social Welfare

David Lynch

Reporter:

David Lynch

Large sum of money found at bank ATM

The Department of Social Protection issued payments valued at €128.3m to 412,900 people for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). This represents a decrease of 26,100 on the 439,000 people paid last week.

Since last week’s payment, 63,000 people have closed their claim for a Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Some 44,800 will be receiving their final payment tomorrow with the reduction in numbers receiving the payment being reflected in next week’s figures.

The top three sectors in which employees are returning to work this week are Accommodation and Food Services, Other Sectors e.g. hairdressers, barbers and Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair of Motor Vehicles and motorcycles followed by the Construction Sector.

The largest cohort returning to work are aged 35-44.

Minister for Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands, Heather Humphreys, T.D. today said:

“While the Pandemic Unemployment Payment continues to provide financial support to almost 413,000 people who are out of work because of Covid-19, the figures published today show that the re-opening of the economy is picking up pace.

“Some 63,000 people closed their claim in the last week alone which is very encouraging. With Phase 3 of Re-opening Ireland Roadmap underway, an increasing number of businesses are now beginning to start back again. In the last week we have seen the highest number of people return to work in a single week, since the crisis commenced.”

Minister Humphreys added:

“This Government has set employment recovery as its top priority and my Department and I will work hard to help everybody who lost their jobs due to Covid-19 take advantage of the jobs stimulus package to be announced later this month and to get back into work without delay.”

As well as those availing of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, there are now over 65,500 employers who have registered with the Revenue Commissioners for the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS). An estimated 410,000 employees are currently being supported by the scheme having received a subsidy in their most recent pay period.

The above payments are in addition to the 220,900 people who were reported on the Live Register as of the end of June.  All Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payments issued will be in recipients’ bank accounts or at their local post office tomorrow, Tuesday, 7th July.

New Payment Rates

The two-tiered payment structure  for people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment takes effect from tomorrow. 

Employees whose average weekly earnings in 2019 or January and February 2020 (whichever is the higher) were less than €200 gross will receive a weekly Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €203 a week. This equates to the standard jobseeker rate of payment and as it is higher than the person’s prior earnings will still mean that people, who receive €203 per week,  are in receipt of a higher income than they had prior to being laid-off due to Covid-19.
Employees with average earnings of €200 or more a week will continue to receive €350 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.  3 in 4 recipients (75%) will continue to receive €350 per week.
The payment to self-employed people has been assessed based on their 2018 returns to the Revenue Commissioners (Returns for 2019 are not due until later in 2020).
 

110,400 people, or 25% of those receiving a payment this week, will receive the new rate of payment. The majority of people (75%) will continue to receive the €350 rate of payment.

 

Any person who believes that their new payment rate does not accurately reflect their prior earnings can contact the Department to request a review of earnings and forward all supporting documents, which will be matched with Revenue records. They can contact the Department by

 

-        Emailing PUPRerate@welfare.ie; or

-        Writing to Pandemic Unemployment Rerate Requests, DEASP, Intreo Centre, Cork Road, Waterford  or

-        Calling 1890 800 024

Anybody who requires further information in relation to the rate change, including how it is calculated and information on requesting a review, can access our Frequently Asked Questions at the link here or can contact the Department’s Income Support Helpline        1890 800 024.

 

People returning to work

In the past week, some 63,000 people closed their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment of which 54,300 reported that they were returning to work. Of those 54,300 returning to work, approx. 44,800 are receiving their last payment this week. As the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a weekly payment paid in arrears, there can be a one week lag in how closures, due to people returning to work, are reflected in the payment data. The reduction in the number of people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will, therefore, be reflected in next week’s figures.

The top three sectors in which employees are returning to work this week are Accommodation and Food Services (16,600), Other Sectors e.g. hairdressers, barbers  (10,700) and Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair of Motor Vehicles and motorcycles (5,900), followed by the Construction Sector (3,500).  A full breakdown of the sectors in this area is set out at Appendix 7 below.

Looking at the age profile of employees returning to work this week, the largest cohort are those aged 35-44 with (13,600), followed by those employees aged 25-34 (13,000).  This is followed by 11,500 in the under 25 age group and 9,900 aged 45-54, all of whom are returning to work.  Full details are available at Appendix 8.

The number of Pandemic Unemployment Payment recipients who closed their claim since 16th March and who are currently availing of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) is 47,100.

The Department continues to remind 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 are returning to work must close their claim for the PUP payment on the actual date that they start back at work.  Since the commencement of Phase One of the Government’s Roadmap for the Reopening of Society and Business, over 189,000 employees have closed their claims and returned to 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).

Continued Eligibility to receive Pandemic Unemployment Payment

As is standard with all jobseeker payments people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment are required to confirm their eligibility to continue to receive the payment.  They can do this online and must do so no later than Monday, 13th July. Failure to do so may affect their entitlement to continue to receive a payment.

To do so, recipients should use the online portal www.MyWelfare.ie and follow the instructions under the heading ‘continue eligibility to receive Pandemic Unemployment Payment’. This is the simplest and easiest way to do so. Any person who experiences difficulty in doing this should contact the helpline 1890 800 024 (Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm.)

 

Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

There are now over 65,500 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 pandemic unemployment payment.

 

Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment

To date 52,000 people up to age 66 have been medically certified for receipt of the Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit.  Just over 7% (3,709) have been diagnosed with Covid-19 while almost 93% (48,244) were required to medically self-isolate.

Since the beginning of June, 104 people have been medically certified with having Coronavirus while 946 others have been medically certified because they are medically self-isolating.

The sector with the highest number of employees medically certified to receive Covid-19 Illness Benefit is the Human Health and Social Work sector (11,700) followed by Wholesale and Retail Trade (11,000) and Manufacturing (7,000).  Full details are at Appendices 11, 12 and 13.

Currently, there are 893 people receiving a Covid-19 related Illness Benefit payment from the Department.

www.MyWelfare.ie