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Social welfare payments will be paid weekly again from the beginning of November

The move was welcomed by An Post and the postmasters union.

File photo. Payments like the State pension will be made weekly again in post offices.
File photo. Payments like the State pension will be made weekly again in post offices.
Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

ALL WEEKLY SOCIAL payments will be paid weekly again from next month, Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys has said.

At the onset of the pandemic, weekly payments had been changed to fortnightly.

In August, the department switched a number of payments back to weekly including the one-parent family payment, working family payment, illness benefit, jobseeker’s allowance and jobseeker’s benefit. 

However, the State pension contributory, non-contributory, widows pensions, carer’s allowance and carer’s benefit remained fortnightly. 

Recipients of these payments will receive their last double week payment on the week beginning Monday 19 October. 

From 2 November, recipients of all of the above payments will be paid weekly again. 

Minister Humphreys said: “My department introduced the two-week payment schedule to better manage the footfall in post offices and banks and to promote social distancing.

I would like to re-assure these customers who will be returning to the weekly payment schedule from the start of November that they will still have the choice of collecting their payment at their post office for up to 90 days.  Some customers prefer to manage their finances weekly rather than fortnightly and I fully appreciate that.

Debbie Byrne, the MD of An Post Retail welcomed the news.

“The return to weekly payments will be welcomed by customers, postmasters and the communities we serve,” she said. “The move will be a shot in the arm for local economies and SMEs.”

The move was also welcomed by the Irish Postmasters’ Union.

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Its general secretary Ned O’Hara said the union had raised the negative impact of the fortnightly payments with the minister.

He said: “When the IPU met with Minister Humphreys we presented that transactions were down 25%, and that this is in turn was having a stagnating impact on surrounding local businesses.”

The IPU is also seeking a response from the government to a recent report from Grant Thornton which recommended an annual public service obligation for the post office network of €17 million. 

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Sean Murray

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