What’s happening with the pandemic unemployment payment?
Q&A: Will I be eligible under the new payment bands?
From Thursday, the PUP will move from two rates of payment to three rates of payment. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times
At the beginning of the Republic’s Covid-19 crisis, Government moved swiftly to shore up personal finances by introducing the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP). While it was envisaged that the payment would come to an end on September 17th, it has since been opened to new applicants until the end of the year. Some things, however, are changing.
What’s the big change?
From Thursday, the PUP will move from two rates of payment to three rates of payment. If a person previously earned more than €300 gross per week, they’ll now receive €300 per week.
If they earned between €200 and €300 gross, they’ll now receive €250 from the PUP per week. And if they earned less than €200 gross per week, the rate will be €203 per week.
Who is eligible for the payment?
One can apply for the PUP if they are of working age and have lost their job due to the Covid-19 pandemic or have been temporarily laid off due to the pandemic, aren’t in receipt of any employment income and are genuinely seeking work.
The payment also applied if you are self employed and your income has stopped as a result of the pandemic.
It’s worth noting that if a person voluntarily left employment, they are not eligible.
How many people currently benefit from the payment?
In the week up to this Tuesday, there were at least 209,941 people receiving the payment. That figure is down more than 64 per cent on the 598,000 peak figure reached on May 5th.
How do I apply?
The quickest way is to log on to mywelfare.ie where you will need a MyGovID and payment details. If you don’t have a MyGovID account, you can create one online.
What will happen next year?
As it stands, Government has laid out the plan for the payment right up to April next year. That’s not to say the plan isn’t subject to change depending on the path of the virus.
From February 1st next year, the top rate will be €250 per week. Then, from April 1st, PUP beneficiaries will have to apply either for jobseeker’s benefit or jobseeker’s allowance.