Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
970. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of plans to make backdated payments available to those in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10530/20]
1036. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons who are due arrears of the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment; and when these arrears payments will be made. [11597/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 970, 1015 and 1036 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, almost 6.5 million payments have issued to just over 670,000 individuals at a cost of over €2.25 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. Accordingly, I am advised that the figures requested by the Deputy are not available at this time.
It will take time to review all of the applications and assess for back payments. I can assure the Deputies 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 Deputies.