Almost 28,000 lose eligibility for pandemic unemployment payment

Number claiming PUP falls to 232,400, down 61% from peak of 598,000 in early May

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Heather Humphreys.

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Heather Humphreys.

 

About 28,000 people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will receive no benefit from tomorrow, after failing to confirm their continued eligibility for the scheme, the Department of Social Protection has said.

The number of people claiming the payment fell to 232,400 this week, a decrease of 61 per cent from the peak of 598,000 in early May. The scheme, which provides €350 per week for most recipients, was introduced in March to aid those who lost their jobs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In recent weeks, the department had contacted around 390,000 PUP claimants asking them to confirm their continuing eligibility for the payment.

At the beginning of last week, about 29,000 had not confirmed their continued eligibility “despite having received personal notifications on four separate occasions” up to August 9th, the department said.

By Friday, August 14th, about 1,000 confirmed their eligibility for the PUP, and they will continue to receive their payment.

The remaining 28,000 will not receive a payment as their PUP claim is now deemed closed. However, anybody who is eligible but did not confirm their eligibility by the deadline can have their payment restored by re-applying online.

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys, said the payment continues to be a “vital source of income” for thousands of individuals and families.

“Our resources are not unlimited and we need to ensure that this money goes to the people and families who genuinely need it,” Minister Humphreys said.

“My Department has made every effort to contact every person receiving the payment in recent weeks in order to confirm their continued eligibility. The vast, vast majority of people responded and will continue to receive their payment as normal.”

The Minister added that she “want[S] to stress” that if there were “extenuating circumstances” which prevented any person from confirming their eligibility, then all they need to do is re-apply online and their payment will be restored.

On Monday, the Department of Social Protection issued payments valued at €72.2m to 232,400 people for the PUP, representing a decrease of 30,100 on the 262,500 people paid last week.

The top three sectors in which employees are returning to work this week are accommodation and food services; wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; and construction.

The largest cohort returning to work is in the under 25 age group, the department said.

Of those receiving the PUP this week, 61,750 will receive the lower rate of €203, based on their pre-pandemic earnings being below €200, while the majority (170,650) will continue to receive the higher rate of €350.