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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 26 May, 2020
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Coronavirus: People on social welfare income support now tops 710,000

A total of 507,000 were issued with a Pandemic Unemployment Payment last Friday.

A nearly abandoned O'Connell Street in Dublin this morning.
A nearly abandoned O'Connell Street in Dublin this morning.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THERE ARE NOW over half a million people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, according to the latest figures from the Department of Social Protection. 

The €350-a-week scheme supports people who have been laid off as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. The flat-rate payment will be in place for the duration of the crisis.

Last week it was revealed that 283,037 people had received the payment but new figures show this has increased to 507,000 as of last Friday. 

In addition, Live Register figures for March were 207,00, meaning that about 714,000 people are now receiving some form of social welfare income support. 

A total of 39,000 employers are also currently availing of a separate subsidy scheme that allows them claim 70% of a worker’s wages to keep them employed. 

All Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment payments issued on Friday will be in recipients’ bank accounts or at their local post office from tomorrow. 

Speaking about the demand for the payments, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said that they demonstrate the “one in a century nature of the emergency”. 

Doherty said the department has endeavoured to assist people with the payment “as quickly as possible” but stressed that the supports are temporary. 

This is a temporary health emergency and the government is determined that it won’t be a permanent economic one. As much as we are focussed on helping people today, my Department will be also be playing its part to help people get back into work as soon as this emergency passes. 

The minister also committed to the department providing weekly updates on its response to the Covid-19 crisis. 

Doherty has previously defended the Pandemic Unemployment Payment from criticism that it could be open to abuse, saying that while it was “not perfect” it was designed to be “responsive and impactful” for people who’ve lost their jobs. 

Figures from the department today show that 583,000 people in total have applied for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment or an jobseeker’s payment since 16 March. 

A total of 19,000 people have asked to close their Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

10% of people who have made claims did not receive a payment with the department stating that 46,000 payments were withheld for various reasons.

Among these reasons were because applicants were still in employment, had been unemployed before 16 March, had submitted incorrect details or were not resident in Ireland.

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Rónán Duffy

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