Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Legislative Measures

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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1187. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a new Bill must be passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas to facilitate the continued payment of social welfare payments at their current rates of payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6804/20]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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Given the need to pay the Covid Pandemic Unemployment Payment as expeditiously as possible, Section 202 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 was used.  This section allows for the provision of payments in urgent cases by way of Supplementary Welfare Allowance.  The Covid-19 pandemic and resultant immediate economic impact is unprecedented and created an urgent requirement for the provision of income supports to over 600,000 people in a period of a little over a month.

There are a number of matters that may require placing the payment on a separate legislative footing including, for example, granting social insurance contributions to people who were temporarily laid off and are either in receipt of PUP or are being paid via the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.  These matters are currently being considered and legislative proposals will be brought to Government for approval.

The Government, by order, recently extended, until the 19th June, the provisions in the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020 to pay an enhanced rate of Illness Benefit to people diagnosed with Covid-19 or who are probable sources of infection from the virus.

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