Changes to benefit payments announced

A number of changes have been announced.

New measures are to require people in receipt of employment benefits to turn up at a Post Office to receive their payments.

The move "shows a Government commitment to the An Post network", according to local Minister Heather Humphreys.

The Minister for Social Protection and Rural & Community Development said, “The future of the Post Office network has been under threat due to the rapid decline in social welfare payments, which are the core business of the network.

“Following a motion tabled at the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party to put Government services through the network, I made the decision to bring employment benefits back to Post Offices."

However, it is understood the requirement to attend a Post Office to receive the payment is also being put in place in a bid to cut down on alleged welfare fraud.

The changes also include a linking of the payments to a person's income prior to becoming unemployed, rather than all receiving a flat rate payment.