Written answers

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

Photo of Jennifer Carroll MacNeillJennifer Carroll MacNeill (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael)
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291. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she has considered assessing self-employed persons' income for the pandemic unemployment payment as income minus expenses rather than their gross wage (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30024/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Pandemic Unemployment Payment was introduced as an emergency measure to provide an income support to those who had lost their employment as a result of Covid. In order to ensure that the scheme was simple and accessible for the unprecedented number of applicants, a flat payment rate was introduced. This rate was the equivalent of the rate for a two-person household.

From 26 June 2020, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment moved to 2 rates of payment, and a 3 rate structure is in place since 17 September. These changes more closely link the rate of payment to the amount that individuals previously earned and make the scheme more targeted and fair. In determining the rate payable, the objective was to ensure that recent earnings were taken into account.

The rate of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment for a self-employed person is calculated by reference to their reckonable income in either 2018 or 2019, whichever is the greater. Details of reckonable income are supplied to the Department by the Revenue Commissioners, and are supplied net of business related costs, including capital allowances. When submitting returns to the Revenue Commissioners, self-employed persons can offset business related costs against gross trading income, with the resulting assessment to tax and PRSI based on net profits.

I hope that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.


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