The Government has paid the Covid-19 unemployment benefit to about 283,000 people so far, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has said. Applicants are expected to begin receiving the payments in their accounts on Tuesday.
The Department said the processing of the Covid-19 unemployment payments was in addition to just over 200,000 people who are in receipt of standard Jobseeker payments.
The rate of the pandemic unemployment payment was increased last week by the Government to €350 per week.
Overall, the department said it had received and processed 389,000 applications for the Covid-19 unemployment payment since it was launched on March 16th. The surge in applications is equivalent to a 19-month claim load in two weeks.
The department is working very hard to resolve any issues, such as invalid IBANs or PPSNs
However, it said more than 66,000 duplicate applications were received.
“Excluding these duplicates, 88 per cent of claims received were put into payment. All of these payments will be paid into customers’ bank accounts on Tuesday 31 March.”
Some payments had been withheld for various reasons, it said.
“Of these approximately 15,000 did not meet eligibility criteria (for example they were not previously in employment, they were under 18 years of age or they were still in employment). A further 8,700 had invalid personal public service numbers (PPSNs) and 6,600 had invalid international bank account numbers (IBANs).”
“The department is working very hard to resolve any issues, such as invalid IBANs or PPSNs, with legitimate applications and is contacting the people concerned directly over the next few days.
“As we will be contacting the people concerned directly we ask, if at all possible, for affected customers to only contact us if absolutely necessary. All of the department’s phone lines are extremely busy and it is important that they are available to help people with an immediate and urgent need for assistance. People with an immediate and urgent need should call 1890-800024. We will do our best to respond as quickly as possible.”
The department also on Monday asked the public to take care when submitting applications to ensure that critical information such as dates of birth, PPSNs and IBANs were entered correctly.
The large volume of duplicate applications has consumed a significant amount of staff time
“An IBAN has 22 characters and people should take care that it is entered correctly.
"Finally, we ask that people submit their applications online via www.mywelfare.ie. The large volume of duplicate applications has consumed a significant amount of staff time and is delaying both the processing of legitimate claims and the contacting of people who have submitted incomplete or incorrect claims."
In addition, 25,000 wage subsidy payments under the scheme introduced last week to encourage employers to keep workers on their books during the current crisis had been administered by the Revenue Commissioners.
The Minister for Social Protection, Regina Doherty, said on Monday that while lots of companies were now using the income support scheme, many more were likely to apply in the days ahead given the additional restrictions put in place by the Government at the weekend.
“We expect to have a significant draw again this week based on the companies that have closed down,” she added.
The Revenue Commissioners generated the first tranche of payments and refunds under this scheme last Friday and these payments, worth €5.1 million, were due to be in the bank accounts of most employers on Monday. Further refunds under the scheme worth €8.6 million, generated on Monday, are due to be in the bank accounts of employers on Tuesday.