29,000 less people receiving PUP

Some 46% of those in receipt of PUP are receiving the maximum rate of €350 this week.

Just under 163,400 people will receive the Pandemic Unemployment Payment this week, a decrease of almost 29,000 on last week, according to the latest update from the Department of Social Protection.

Numbers on PUP are now at their lowest level since the pandemic started, with the overall bill for PUP now standing at over €8.3 billion.

The PUP figures published this week are in addition to the 175,281 people who were on the Live Register at the end of June. Some 46% of those in receipt of PUP are receiving the maximum rate of €350 this week.

Commenting, Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys said it was “very encouraging” to see many businesses actively advertising for and hiring new staff. “As new jobs are created, I and my Government colleagues want to ensure that people who are currently unemployed have the training, skills and the confidence to take on these new roles.”

The county with the highest number of people receiving PUP is Dublin which stands at 60,730. It is followed by Cork (14,629) and Galway (8,740).

The sector with the highest number of people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is Accommodation and Food Service Activities (37,723) followed by Wholesale and Retail Trade (25,368) and Administrative and support service activities (18,350).

Minister Humphreys though remarked that past experience has shown that when the economy begins to recover, it doesn’t always move at the same pace for everybody. Saying that, she sought to highlight the Pathways to Work strategy which she says be crucial in helping those whose employment has been impacted by the Covid-19 virus along with the people who had lost their jobs before the pandemic, to prepare for and secure employment.

People returning to work

The Department meanwhile continues to remind workers who are returning to work that they must close their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment on the actual date that they start back at work, in order to ensure that their claim is processed correctly and to avoid incurring an overpayment that the Department will take steps to recover.

The top three sectors from which employees closed their Pandemic Unemployment Payment to return to work are Accommodation and Food Service activities, Wholesale and Retail Trade and Construction

Control Measures

The Department furthermore has begun conducting a series of pre and post payment checks on all PUP claims which include continuing eligibility checks. Subject to these checks being cleared the Department then processes payments based on the clients’ self-declaration.

This work is undertaken by the Department’s Special Investigation Unit, which includes over 20 Gardaí on secondment to the Department.

As business re-opens the Department’s inspectors continue to conduct control reviews and matching records against employer payroll data from the Revenue Commissioners to help ensure people close their claim as they return to work.

Self-employed people and PUP

Self-employed people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment looking to maintain their business can earn up to €960 over an eight-week period, while retaining their full PUP entitlement.

There is no formal application process and a self-employed person simply needs to inform the Department if they earn over €960 in any eight-week period.

The €1,000 Enterprise Support Grant will remain in place for the rest of the year for self-employed people who close their PUP payment. Those who claimed the grant in 2020 but who found themselves back on PUP in 2021, will be able to access the grant for a second time.

Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment

Employees or self-employed people who contract the virus or who are medically certified by their doctor to self-isolate are advised to apply for Enhanced Illness Benefit. Unlike the standard Illness Benefit, the Enhanced Illness Benefit is paid from the first day of illness.

Today, some 2,024 people are in receipt of an Enhanced Illness Benefit payment, compared with 1,642 last week.

Scam Phone Calls and Scam Texts

Customers and members of the public finally are being reminded about scam phone calls and text messages they may receive from individuals claiming to be an official of the Department.

These calls and texts display a range of numbers, including some which may appear to be from the Department’s phone numbers. The Department would like to remind all its customers that it will never seek personal information from customers via text message and will never ask a customer for their bank details over the phone.

Any person who receives such a call or text is asked not to disclose any information and to report it to the Gardaí immediately.