Covid-19: Nearly 58,000 more on pandemic unemployment payment than in December

About 335,600 people will receive the benefit this week

The sector with the highest number of people receiving the pandemic unemployment payment was accommodation and food services

The sector with the highest number of people receiving the pandemic unemployment payment was accommodation and food services

 

The number of people receiving the Government’s pandemic unemployment payment has increased by nearly 58,000 over the last two weeks.

A total of 335,600 people will receive the pandemic unemployment payment this week, the Department of Social Protection said on Tuesday.

The increase reflects the impact of new Covid-19 restrictions introduced by the Government in late December.

There are over 16,200 more people under the age of 25 – a total of 83, 631 – receiving the pandemic unemployment payment this week than there were on December 22nd.

The Department of Social Protection said approximately 23,000 payments had been made between the 24th and 30th of December to people who became unemployed in the week before Christmas.

It said since the scheme was introduced last March more than €5 billion has now been paid out in pandemic unemployment payments.

The Department of Social Protection said the sector with the highest number of people receiving the pandemic unemployment payment was accommodation and food services in which 97,798 people were receiving the benefit. It said this was followed by wholesale and retail trade (46,853) and other sectors such as hairdressing and beauty salons in which 30,221 were receiving the payment.

The 335,600 people receiving the pandemic unemployment payment this week are in addition to the 194,058 people who were reported on the Live Register as of the end of November.

The Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, said every county in the country had experienced an increase in the number of people applying for the pandemic unemployment payment over the last fortnight and that there had also been a rise in every sector.

“It has been a really difficult Christmas period for people who lost their employment due to the move to Level 5 restrictions. As anticipated we have seen a significant increase in the number of people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment since 22nd December. “

“My Department officials worked right throughout the Christmas period in order to ensure people who applied for the pandemic unemployment payment were paid as soon as possible. Between 18th December and Christmas Eve, some 23,000 payments were processed and put into payment. People who lost their job between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve will receive their first payment on Tuesday.”

Ms Humphreys said the pandemic unemployment payment had proven “to be an important financial lifeline for hundreds of thousands of workers since its introduction in March”.

“To date, over €5 billion has been paid out in order to support workers and their families throughout this pandemic. “As we move into January and with a difficult period ahead, I would plead with everyone to make every effort possible to suppress the virus,” Ms Humphreys said.

“By staying home as much as possible, adhering to social distancing, washing our hands and limiting our contacts, we are lessening the spread of the virus and easing the pressure on our frontline workers.”

The Department of Social Protection said there were also currently 1,661 people receiving the enhanced Covid-19 illness benefit.