Jobseeker payments to return to the Post Office

Requirement to physically visit local post office to collect a jobseeker payment begins next month.

Jobseeker payments will return to the post office in line with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

The Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD, made the announcement this morning, with the changes to apply initially to all new jobseeker applicants before being extended to other jobseekers over the coming months.

When public health restrictions were introduced in 2020, people in receipt of social welfare were given the option of being paid into a bank account as an exceptional measure to help reduce the spread of the Covid virus.

But following consultation with An Post and the Irish Postmaster’s Union (IPU), Minister Humphreys says jobseeker payments will now return to the post office.

Such a move, according to the Minister, will bring additional footfall to post offices, as well as helping to combat social welfare fraud.

“I’m acutely conscious of the challenges that are facing the Post Office network,” said Minister Humphreys. “That’s why I’m delighted to announce the return of jobseeker payments to post offices, reflecting the arrangements that were in place pre-Pandemic.

“This is a measure that I know the Irish Postmasters Union and An Post have been calling for. Our post offices provide essential services in communities the length and breadth of the country.”

She said that even throughout the Pandemic, postmasters, postmistresses and postal staff pulled out all the stops to meet the needs of their customers. “I believe this is the right approach to take in terms of supporting the post office network and helping to reduce social welfare fraud.”

The requirement to physically visit the local post office in order to collect a jobseeker payment will apply initially to new claims, beginning next month.

Welcoming the announcement, Managing Director of An Post, Debbie Byrne, said: “This is a perfect example of the practical benefit of using the post office network in the provision of Government services to local communities. It also offers a welcome return to normality for Postmasters and post office customers.

“We look forward to the publication of the Interdepartmental Working Group and to working with Government to maximise the use of the network to benefit customers and the communities we serve.”

Minister Humphreys noted that the Department of Social Protection will continue to contribute to supporting our Post Office Network through the Interdepartmental Group, which was set up by her Cabinet colleague, Minister Hildegarde Naughton.

The Minister stated: “While responsibility for An Post is outside the remit of the Department of Social Protection, I can assure you that my Department is committed to engage as appropriate on any recommendations proposed by the Interdepartmental Working tasked with supporting the network as a whole.”