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19,000 people close pandemic payment due to claiming it 'in error'

The government says the temporary wage subsidy scheme is not being taxed at the time at which you receive it.

A TOTAL OF 19,000 people have closed their pandemic unemployment payment because they’re still employed, a senior government official said today. 

To date, there are 507,000 recipients of the emergency payment. 

The Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment is payable to people who have become fully unemployed (including self-employed people). People who have had their hours reduced can apply for the short-time work support. 

Assistant Secretary at the Department of An Taoiseach Liz Canavan said a number of recipients of the pandemic unemployment payment have contacted the Department of Social Protection to say that they claimed this payment of €350″ in error”.

“This may have occurred because they were not aware that their employer had also claimed the temporary wage subsidy scheme,” she said. 

The department has now put facility in place where recipients who want to refund the payment can do so. The details of the new mechanism can be found on the website

“The department is carrying out the necessary checks to ensure that claims are valid, and the payments are warranted. If anyone has claimed the payment in error or wishes to make a refund, they should do so the earliest opportunity by accessing the refund facility,” she said. 

The department also wishes to inform customers that the post office network will be open as normal on Good Friday so payments can be collected on that day. 

The current measures to tackle the virus are in place until 19 April – but the government has already suggested that restrictions could last beyond that date. 

The government also wanted to address concerns raised in relation to tax and the wage subsidy scheme. 

“Today we want to provide clarity on that issue. In order to ensure speedy payments, and minimise hardship on people in the short-term, the temporary wage subsidy subsidy scheme is not being taxed at the time at which you receive it,” said Canavan.

She added that the tax will be collected however at a later date in the year.

“As is the case with most income, the payment is liable to income tax, USC and pay-related social insurance. The amount of tax you pay depends on the amount of income you earn, and under personal circumstances. And not everyone who receives a temporary wave subsidy will end up owing tax.

“If f you do end up owing tax, it will generally be collected in manageable amounts over the course of the next tax year,” she said.

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