Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Social Welfare Payments Administration
965. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason two transaction payments to An Post for each double social welfare payment are not being made by her Department; if consideration has been given to the financial impact of this revenue cut to An Post; if the efforts made by post offices nationwide to remain open to the public through the Covid-19 crisis will be acknowledged; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10512/20]
My Department is very appreciative of all the work done by both An Post and the Postmasters in delivering essential welfare cash payments to the public in these difficult times. Their efforts have maintained the delivery of social welfare payments while assisting with social distancing measures designed to combat the spread of the Coronavirus.
Fortnightly payments were introduced to minimise the need for people to attend and queue in banks or post offices to collect payments, so helping people restrict their movements to essential activities only. These were introduced on a ‘payment in advance’ basis so people did not have to wait two weeks for a payment.
Some payments, such as Maternity Benefit, Paternity Benefit and Parental Benefit, which are paid exclusively into a customer’s bank account by Electronic Fund Transfer, have reverted to a weekly payment pattern.
Under the terms of the cash services contract with An Post, there is a tiered pricing structure which protects both parties against any significant fluctuations in transaction volumes. My Department will honour its contractual commitments to An Post.
The two-week payment cycle will be kept under review in the context of the current crisis and the need for social distancing and I look forward to a continued excellent working relationship with An Post.