In response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic the Government introduced the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). The purpose of PUP is to make available to employees and self-employed people who have become unemployed a flat rate payment of €350 per week for the duration of the pandemic emergency.
There is no restriction on people aged between 18 and 66 years applying for PUP provided they have been in employment up to March 13th, 2020 and this employment has since ceased. Anyone who was working part-time and claiming a Jobseeker’s payment either casually or on systematic short-time are entitled to claim the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, provided that now they have become fully unemployed.
How to apply?
Initially people could apply for the payment through a written application form, either downloaded from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) website page on gov.ie or through requesting a form by post or through dropping into their local Intreo Office. However, given the scale and impact of the crisis the DEASP are asking people to apply on-line through https://services.mywelfare.ie/
In response to queries raised with the INOU, the DEASP have confirmed that an applicant does not need a Public Services Card (PSC) to claim the PUP. The requirement to have a PSC has been temporarily suspended for Jobseeker payment claims as well. The DEASP note that if a person has any difficulties with their application they should contact their Covid-19 Income Support Help line at 1890 800024.
The DEASP have also clarified that there are no back payments for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and an applicant will be paid for up to 12 weeks from the week the claim was processed and awarded.
PUP v Jobseeker’s?
The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is a flat rate payment of €350. So, if the person applying is claiming only for themselves, they are better off on PUP, as the maximum they will receive on a Jobseeker’s payment is €203. And depending on their personal circumstances they may not even receive that amount.
However, if the person would also be claiming for an adult and child dependents then they may well be better off on a regular Jobseeker’s payment: these additional payments are known as Qualified Adult and Qualified Child Increases. Ireland’s social protection system is complex and applicants often need to weigh up what they will gain or lose on the different options. So, if the person is in receipt of a Working Family Payment they may well be better off on PUP, as they can maintain that payment on PUP, but not on a Jobseeker’s payment.
For more information on Jobseeker’s payments, please see https://www.inou.ie/information/
Qualified Adults & PUP?
In response to queries raised by the INOU, the DEASP have confirmed that a Qualified Adult who has lost their work and is now fully unemployed can apply for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment in their own right.
The DEASP note that the Qualified Adult should also make a Jobseeker’s application in their own right so, if applicable, their partner’s claim can be adjusted. Given the volume of applications being processed at present, they also say that if any adjustments or amendments need to be made, that these will most likely happen at a later date.
Employees put on reduced working hours?
There appears to be no new supports available for employees whose employment has been reduced to part-time or casual working because of the impact of COVID-19. So, anyone affected in this way can apply for one of the existing supports: the Short Time Work Support Scheme (STWS); or a Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) if they do not meet the eligibility criteria for STWS.
The Short Time Work Support Scheme (STWS)is available to all employees who are put on short time working week on a temporary basis due to a reduction in their employers’ business. To qualify applicants must meet all of the qualifying conditions of a Jobseeker’s Benefit payment; be working for 3 days per week or less; and have been previously employed on a full time basis. Further information on STWS is available at https://www.gov.ie/en/service/c20e1b-short-time-work-support/