Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty said the payments “will continue for now”.
The number of claimants of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment has dropped for the second consecutive week.
Figures published by the government on Monday revealed that 585,000 people received the payment of €350 this week, including approximately 7,000 people who received it for the first time.
The total figure is a reduction of 4,000 people on the number of people who received the payment at the same point last week, which marked the first time there was a reduction in the number of claimants since the introduction of the payment in March.
At its height on 5 May, approximately 598,000 people received the payment.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection revealed that this week it paid 585,000 people out of the 658,000 unique claims processed, with no payment due to the remaining claims.
The payments are in addition to the 214,700 people who were reported on the Live Register as of the end of April; all payments issued will be in recipients’ bank accounts or at their local post office from tomorrow (19 May).
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is also advising workers who may be returning to work today (18 May) – following the beginning of Phase 1 of the government roadmap – to close their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) today in order to make sure that they will not lose out in getting their payment for the previous week. That payment is due to be paid tomorrow, Tuesday 19 May.
Similarly, workers who will be returning to work any time after today, Monday 18 May, must close their claim for the PUP payment on the actual date that they start back at work.
The easiest way to close a claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is online via 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 9am to 5pm).
Commenting on Monday, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, said: “Built for speed and impact, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment has provided families throughout the country with immediate assistance following the overnight loss of hundreds of thousands of incomes.
“As an emergency response, it has successfully allowed us to prevent a health and economic emergency from turning into a social crisis. It is also very unlikely that we would have had the high level of public compliance with the health restrictions introduced to tackle the virus without the relief provided by the payments.
“Today, Ireland takes the very first tentative steps back towards normality – or the new normal, whatever that may look like. While today’s figures confirm that we have reached the peak in terms of those receiving Pandemic Unemployment Payments, I would expect over the coming weeks for those numbers to continue to gradually drop as more and more people return to work.”
“Not everyone is going to be able to return to work so quickly and the Pandemic Unemployment Payments will continue for now,” Doherty added.
“Future decisions regarding the nature of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be based on our commitment that everyone who genuinely needs help will get the most appropriate assistance and also based on the evidence we receive from the reopening of the economy.”