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There have been 58,000 applications for the Covid-19 unemployment payment

Minister Regina Doherty said 43,000 of those applications have been processed so far.

Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Updated Mar 19th 2020, 9:40 PM

MINISTER FOR SOCIAL Protection Regina Doherty has said there have been 58,000 applications for the new Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment.

The payment was introduced by her department as a support for those affected by the coronavirus outbreak in Ireland.

Giving an update today, Doherty said 43,000 of these applications have been processed so far and these people should receive their payments by the end of next week. The applicants include many people who normally would not be entitled to a welfare benefit, such as self-employed persons and both foreign and Irish students.

She also announced the department will now move to fortnightly payments, to acknowledge public health advice about social distancing. She said this will mean people who normally collect their payments every week from their local Post Office will now only have to go every two weeks.

Those due to be paid their next payment on 23 March will also receive their payment for 30 March at the same time.

These payments will be made to people who collect their payments at post offices and who are paid into a bank account.

In addition, Doherty announced that her Department has commenced a public awareness campaign to inform people about the new payment.

Doherty said as the situation is changing so rapidly, it is difficult for the government to put a final number on those expected to lose their jobs as a result of the outbreak.

Already there are 140,000 workers in the hospitality industry affected, 54,000 in the accommodation industry and 200,000 in retail. The minister said industries she had not expected to be impacted are now suffering losses and the government is moving to respond to that.

“We have never experienced a challenge to our welfare system of this magnitude in living memory. Since last Friday, my Department has been assisting an unprecedented increase in the numbers of people seeking income support from the Department,” Doherty said in a statement today. 

“I would also like to thank the public for their patience and forbearance as we try to meet the challenge of a sudden large scale increase in demand for our services,” she said. 

The Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment is available to employees and self-employed people who are unemployed or who have their hours of work reduced during the pandemic. This includes people who have been put on part-time or casual work.

Successful applicants will receive a flat rate payment of €203 per week for six weeks.

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