1,500 people in Longford in receipt of Pandemic Unemployment Payment
There are 1,500 people in Longford in receipt of a Pandemic Unemployment Payment as of Tuesday, September 8, according to the Department of Social Protection.
On May 5, the number of Longford people in receipt of PUP stood at 4,500.
Nationally, the Department of Social Protection issued payments valued at €68.6 million to 219,900 people for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).
This represents a decrease of 5,100 on the 225,000 people paid last week and it is a drop of over 63% on the 598,000 paid at its peak on May 5.
In the past seven days, 9,265 people have closed their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Some 6,256 will be receiving their final payment tomorrow, September 8.
The top sector in which employees are returning to work this week is Education with 1,500 going back to work, followed by Accommodation and Food Services; and Transportation and Storage sectors.
The largest age cohort returning to work is in the 45-54 group (1,800). This is followed by 1,700 in the 35-44 age category and 1,600 aged 55 and over.
The above payments made are in addition to the people who were reported on the Live Register as of the end of July. All Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payments issued will be in recipients’ bank accounts or at their local post office tomorrow, Tuesday, 8th September.
The easiest way for people to apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is online at www.MyWelfare.ie. When applying, people should provide the name of their employer and details of their last day of employment.
Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, T.D., commented:
“It is encouraging to see more and more people close their Pandemic Unemployment Payment as they go back.
“The drop this week is mainly attributed to people returning to work in the Education sector.
“I wish to acknowledge the huge effort made by all involved in this sector whose work and determination have enabled our schools to re-open after being closed for so long.”
Minister Humphreys continued:
“It remains incumbent on each one of us to ensure that we follow the guidelines from NPHET by maintaining our social distancing, washing our hands and wearing a face mask when travelling on public transport and when in shops and other public facilities.
“By adhering to these public health guidelines, we can keep the Covid-19 virus at bay and help make our homes, schools and workplaces safe for each other.”
Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
Parents and guardians of students are being reminded that the Department’s Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is available to provide financial support with back to school costs. Minister Humphreys has extended the payment, which is means-tested, to include parents and guardians who are receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Families who wish to make an application can do so via www.MyWelfare.ie . This is the quickest and easiest way to apply. People should apply by 30th September.
Under the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, €150 is paid for each eligible child aged 4 - 11 years on or before 30 September 2020, while an allowance of €275 is paid for each eligible child aged 12 - 22 years on or before 30 September 2020. Students aged between 18 and 22 years must be returning to full-time second-level education in a recognised school or college in autumn 2020.
Changes to PUP Payment Rates
As was announced as part of the July Jobs Stimulus package the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is continuing until April 2021 but the payment rates will change on the 17th September 2020, 1st February 2021 and on 1st April 2021.
PUP Rate Changes from 17th September 2020
From 17th September 2020 the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will move from 2 rates of payment to 3 rates.
The rate a recipient will receive will depend on the amount they previously earned:
If they earned over €300 per week - they will now receive €300 per week.
if they earned between €200 and €300 per week - the rate of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will now be €250 per week; and
If they earned less than €200 per week - the rate of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be €203 per week (there is no change to this rate).
Recipients of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will see the impact of these changes in their bank accounts on Tuesday 22nd September.
Individuals do not need to contact the Department about their earnings. The Department has access to this information from the Revenue Commissioners and will be contacting PUP recipients in advance of these changes informing them of their new rate of payment.
People returning to work
In the past week, some 9,265 people closed their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment of which 7,716 reported that they were returning to work. Of those 7,716 returning to work, some 6,256 are receiving their last payment this week. As the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a weekly payment paid in arrears, there can be a one week lag in how closures, due to people returning to work, are reflected in the payment data. The reduction in the number of people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will, therefore, be reflected in next week’s figures.
The top sectors in which employees are returning to work this week are Education (1,500); Accommodation and Food Services (800); Transportation and Storage (800); and Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair of Motor Vehicles and motorcycles (700). A full breakdown of the sectors in this area is set out at Appendix 7 below.
The age profile of employees returning to work this week shows that the two largest cohorts are those in the 45-54 (1,800) and 35-44 age group (1,700), followed by 1,600 in the 55 plus age group and 1,500 in the 25-34 age group also returning. Full details are available at Appendix 8.
The Department continues to remind workers who are returning to work that they must close their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).
In order to ensure that their claim is processed correctly, workers who are returning to work must close their claim for the PUP payment on the actual date that they start back at work. Since the commencement of Phase One of the Government’s Roadmap for the Reopening of Society and Business, over 314,300 employees have closed their claims and returned to work.
The easiest way to close a claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is online via www.MyWelfare.ie. Any worker returning to work with an enquiry about closing their claim, can contact the Department’s dedicated income support helpline at 1890 800 024 (Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm).
Industries that remain closed
Where, due to ongoing restrictions, a person’s employer has not restarted operations or where a sector is still temporarily closed, the Department will continue to support the workers concerned through payment of the PUP.
Back to Education Allowance Option for people receiving PUP
The Back to Education Allowance scheme is an education support for people aged 21 and over who are unemployed. It is also available to those parenting alone or who have a disability and are getting certain payments from the Department of Social Protection. They have the option of commencing a full-time second or third-level education course and continue to receive a weekly income support.
Ordinarily a person must be in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment for at least nine months before being eligible to apply for the Back to Education Allowance.
The nine month requirement is being waived for PUP recipients who wish to apply for the Back to Education Allowance.
If a person currently in receipt of PUP wants to apply for the Back to Education Allowance, they can now choose to transfer to a Jobseeker’s payment. Their rate of Back to Education Allowance payment will be linked to their qualifying social welfare rate of payment. For example, if they are eligible for weekly Jobseeker’s Allowance payable at €203, they will be paid the Back to Education Allowance at this rate. Whereas the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is short term in nature and scheduled to cease in April 2021, the Back to Education Allowance provides long term income support, which can be provided for the duration of an education course and which can extend for up to 3 or 4 years depending on the individual circumstances.
There is also an annual Cost of Education Allowance of €500 available to participants of the Back to Education Allowance scheme who have one or more dependent children.
This year, in recognition of the difficulties faced by education providers for the upcoming academic year and to ease any stress for the participants, the scheme will include support for blended learning and distance learning opportunities which are not generally supported through the Back to Education Allowance. This particular measure will be reviewed at the end of the next academic year.
Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment Checks
As is the case for all social welfare schemes and as part of the Department’s normal work, the Department conducts a series of pre and post payment checks for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, including:
- Integrity checks made against records already held by the Department including Public Service Information data and cross checks with payments on other schemes. These help to verify if a person is who they claim to be and that they are entitled to claim payment.
- A reconciliation process between the Department’s PUP payment file and Revenue’s records.
- A prior employment status check by comparing all claims for PUP against prior earnings and employment records from Revenue data.
- As with other welfare schemes, the Department contacts recipients to ensure that they continue to satisfy the eligibility criteria of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
- Data analytics.
Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment
Since the beginning of September, eight people have been medically certified with having Coronavirus while 292 others have been medically certified because they are medically self-isolating.
To date 58,800 people under age 66 have been medically certified for receipt of the Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit. Over 7% (4,432) have been diagnosed with Covid-19 while almost 93% (54,378) were required to medically self-isolate.
There are 1,147 people currently receiving a Covid-19 related Enhanced Illness Benefit payment.
The two sectors with the highest number of employees medically certified to receive Covid-19 Illness Benefit are the Human Health and Social Work sector and the Wholesale and Retail Trade with 12,500 each, followed by Manufacturing (8,200). Full details are at Appendices 9, 10 and 11.
The Department wishes to thank its customers for submitting the majority of applications through our online portal www.MyWelfare.ie. This is the quickest and easiest way to submit an application or close a Covid-19-Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
In the interests of the public health advice and observing social distancing people are asked, if at all possible not to attend their local Intreo Centre. Instead, they should avail of the online services available through www.MyWelfare.ie.