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Pandemic Unemployment Payment arrears to be paid to 286,000 recipients today

Some cases progressed more slowly due to their complexity and due to inadequate or inaccurate information provided.

Image: Shutterstock/sebra

UP TO 286,000 recipients of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment have been paid arrears due to them this week.

The arrears due total €129.2 million. Those who are due to get the payment will receive a notification to their MyWelfare account.

Department of Social Protection Assistant Secretary Teresa Leonard told an Oireachtas committee last week that some cases were progressing more slowly, due to their complexity and also due to inadequate or inaccurate information provided.

Although most claims were paid within a week, due to the large number of
claims, an initial time lag in the commencement of payments in some cases, the department has said.

During the month of March, the Department of Social Protection received and processed PUP claims equivalent in number to a three year Jobseeker claim-load.

Almost 59,000 people were paid in the first week of the scheme, increasing to 283,000 people the following week and over 507,000 people in the third week of the scheme. 
The focus was on putting claims into payment as quickly as possible “and it was not possible to generate arrears payments at the time”, the department has said.  

Since the introduction of PUP in March, some 820,000 people have applied for payment.

In some cases, they have done so on a number of occasions as they moved in and out of work or where their employer availed of the Revenue Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.

This resulted in over 1.4 million applications being examined to determine if arrears were due, with the department identifying some weeks where individuals were not paid
the PUP and it assessed these for arrears.

In addition, the department examined for possible overpayments due to overlaps with the Revenue Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme or other social welfare payments, such as Jobseekers or Illness Benefit.

Some payments to be paid later

While the vast majority of arrears cases (more than 280,000) are being paid today, there are a smaller number of cases (fewer than 10,000) where the department is
continuing to examine records and any arrears that may be due in these cases will be paid later this month.

The arrears were paid today ahead of the payment of the €390 million Christmas Bonus next week to over 1.6 million social welfare recipients, including approximately 311,270 PUP recipients.

Between the PUP arrears and the Christmas Bonus, over half billion Euro in payments are being made.

Speaking about the payments, Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys said:

This will be of great benefit to the local economy and I would encourage people to
choose to shop local.

The payments will be paid directly through the Post Office or into the nominated bank accounts of these 286,000 people receiving arrears today. 

The arrears payment being paid to current recipients of PUP, will be paid as a separate payment into their account today. Meanwhile, for customers who chose to collect their PUP payment at their local Post Office, their arrears payment will also be available to be collected there.

This week, 351,400 receive the Pandemic Unemployment Payment – a slight reduction on last week.

The sector with the highest number of people in receipt of the PUP is accommodation and food service activities, which accounts for 102,321,  followed by wholesale and retail trade which stands at 56,893.

Other sectors such as hairdressers and beauty salons account for 31,361 payments.

These figures are in addition to the 203,172 people who were reported on the Live Register as of the end of October.

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Fall in claims

“This week’s Pandemic Unemployment Payment figures are showing a steadying off of new claims with some 4,500 people having closed their claim in the past week as they return to work.

“The overall number of claimants has also fallen slightly. This is expected to be followed by a much more significant drop next week as a result of some
sectors of the economy reopening,” said Humphreys.

“While all of these signs are positive, it is not the time to drop our guard,” she added.

“As we make arrangements for Christmas, I would strongly appeal to everyone to continue to adhere to the public health guidelines in order to suppress the virus further.

“Let’s also remind ourselves of the frontline health workers who will spend Christmas in our hospitals caring for people who have contracted the virus.

“We owe it to them, who have been on the frontline from the very start of the Pandemic, to make a special effort to act responsibly over the coming weeks,” she said.

In the past seven days, some 6,800 people closed their PUP claim, with over 4,500 stating that they were doing so because they are returning to work. It is expected that many more people will return to work in the coming week.

The minster said she knows that some people are worried that if they close their PUP claim they will not be able to re-open the claim if their workplace closes again in January.

She assured workers that this is not the case, and that the PUP will be open until March so people who have the opportunity to return to work can do so with the peace of mind that they can still access PUP again if the need it.

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