Wednesday, 27 May 2020
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
988. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when arrears payments relating to the pandemic unemployment payment will be made to applicants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7933/20]
995. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when backdated pandemic unemployment payments will issue for the weeks while persons were waiting while her Department was dealing with the backlog resulting in applicants receiving no payment (details supplied) [7979/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 988 and 995 together.
The emergency Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment has been introduced as a time-limited emergency measure so that payments can be made as quickly as possible to the large number of people who have become fully unemployed due to the pandemic.
During the month of March, my Department received and processed jobseeker claims equivalent in number to a three year claim-load. These applications were processed as quickly as possible, with almost 59,000 people paid in the first week of the scheme, 283,000 people paid in the following week, and over 507,000 people in the third week of the scheme. To date, over 4.9 million payments have issued to just over 670,000 individuals at a cost of over €1.7 Billion.
Currently, the Department is focused on processing and managing payments to ensure that they continue to be made to all who qualify for them. The work involved in doing this is complex, with people joining and leaving the scheme each week, along with management of overlaps between the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the Revenue Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.
The Department is aware that many people are due some arrears and that each person’s case is unique. This means that each person’s application may need to be individually reviewed .
I can assure the Deputy that all cases will be examined and where arrears arise they will be processed and claimants will be notified.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.
989. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if persons in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment should sign on for credits to ensure that they do not lose out during time out of work; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7939/20]
The COVID 19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment was introduced in March 2020 as a time-limited emergency measure to meet the surge in unemployment which resulted from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The issue of social insurance contributions for employees who qualify for receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is currently being considered and any necessary legislation will be brought forward.
I trust that this clarifies the matter.