Pandemic Unemployment payments
The number of Donegal people who are now in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) has reached almost 2,000 again, it was announced this evening.
The New Year spike results from hospitality restrictions that were put in place or renewed just before the Christmas and in anticipation of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 as the year ended.
The restrictions led to Donegal job losses in that particular sector and which have now followed through in today's statistics from the Department of Social Protection.
The figure is for those that were in receipt of Donegal payments, as of Tuesday, which now stands at 1,936.
It stood at 1,523 on December 21, 2021, which now accounts for an increase of 413 over the Christmas period.
At the very height of the pandemic back in May 2020, the number of Donegal PUP recipients stood at 22,725.
The highest number last year were recorded in February, 2021 when the weekly number of Donegal recipients for February 9, stood at 16,578.
On a national basis, this week the Department of Social Protection issued weekly payments valued at €16.66 million to 66,905 people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
This represents an increase of 9,302 on the number of people in receipt of the payment on December 21, 2021 last.
These figures are in addition to the 164,626 people who were on the Live Register at the end of November.
All Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payments was paid into recipients’ bank accounts or at their post office on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.
The sector with the highest number of people receiving PUP this week is Accommodation and Food Service Activities (12,717) and is followed by Wholesale and Retail Trade (10,832) and Administrative and Support Service activities (7,520).
Separately, there were 14,439 people in receipt of the Enhanced Illness Benefit today.
Minister Humphreys last week announced that the Department has expanded the range of documentation customers can use to apply for the Enhanced Illness Benefit.
To avail of Enhanced Illness Benefit, depending on your circumstances, the Department of Social Protection will accept:
1. Text message from the HSE that you are a close contact.
2. Text message from the HSE that you have a positive PCR.
3. Certification from your GP that you have symptoms of Covid-19 and/or are a probable source of infection.
4. Confirmation from the HSE that you have ordered an antigen test.
Full information on applying for Enhanced Illness Benefit is available here.
Commenting today, Minister Humphreys said:
“As the Omicron variant continues to pose significant challenges, it is vitally important that we take every necessary step to protect ourselves and our families from infection.“
My clear message to anyone who receives a positive test or is displaying symptoms is to follow public health advice and self-isolate immediately.
“As a result of changes I introduced last week, the Enhanced Illness Benefit is being provided on a more flexible basis.
“For example, people under the age of 40 who apply for an antigen test from the HSE can use this proof of application to apply for Enhanced Illness Benefit for the days they are out of work.
“My Department is currently receiving a large volume of applications and it is making every effort to process these as quickly as possible. The quickest and easiest way to apply is online through www.MyWelfare.ie.”
Re-opening of PUP
Since Tuesday, December 7, 2021, PUP has re-opened for workers who have been impacted by the latest restrictions and measures to slow down the spread of the Covid virus.
There are five weekly rates of PUP payable for these workers who lose their job as a result of the latest restrictions from 7th December. The rate of payment is determined by the person’s weekly earnings, namely €350, €300, €250, €208 and €150.
The Department of Social Protection is using Revenue data to verify employment status and earnings for all applications.
Although applicants should apply online, they may be required, as is the case with other work-related payments, to attend an Intreo Centre to present evidence of their employment status.
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