COVID-19: Further Social Welfare Information
IMPORTANT: Please do not provide your PPS number or your Date of Birth if you are contacting the INOU about a COVID-19 payment or any other Welfare Rights issue. If we require this information in support of your query, we will contact you and request it - Thank You
COVID-19 and Unemployment
If you are already in receipt of a Jobseeker’s Payment then most likely your weekly payment is paid to you by Electronic Information Transfer (EIT) for collection at your local post office.
So what happens is you are unable to collect your payment from the post office due to illness or self-isolation? The Department of Employment Affair and Social Protection (DEASP) have said that you can do one of the following:
- Leave your social welfare payment at the post office until you can collect it yourself;
- Nominate a temporary Agent to collect your payment. You can get a form for appointing a temporary Agent on the An Post website or at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/6aca97-social-welfare-contacts/#direct-payment-to-an-account-in-a-financial-institution
- Ask the DEASP to transfer your payment to your bank account, through an alternative method known as Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT). The form is available at https://www.gov.ie/en/service/8ace3a-change-amend-your-bank-details/
Staggering of Payments
On March 19th the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection announced that starting from March 23rd, people would receive two weeks entitlement in a single payment. People in receipt of a Jobseekers payment will be paid for 2 weeks during the week beginning March 30th, 2020. The DEASP have informed the INOU that this will be kept under review and further announcements may be made depending on how COVID-19 evolves.
Extended time to collect payments at post offices
Given the health and safety requirements that people should maintain a social or physical distance of 2 metres, the DEASP have made arrangements with An Post that post offices will hold social welfare payments for an extended period. So, all post office payments will be available for collection for 90 days after they are first due for collection.
Alternatively, you may decide to apply to have your Jobseeker’s Benefit or Allowance paid into your bank account, which is the main option for people who will receive the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. As noted in the third bullet point above, the link to avail of the option to have your Jobseeker’s payment paid into your bank account is https://www.gov.ie/en/service/8ace3a-change-amend-your-bank-details/
Post Office Temporary Closures and Time Changes
On their website An Post note that their mail, parcel and Post Office service / networks are working as normally as possible across Ireland. However, as a result of COVID-19, they have had to make some changes including temporary Post Office closures and changes to opening times. To find out if your Post Office is affected please follow this link https://www.anpost.com/Media-Centre/News/COVID-19-Customer-Notice
Signing-on or not
Callers to the INOU’s Welfare Rights Information Team had raised questions about whether or not they were expected to sign-on at or engage with their local Intreo / Social Welfare Office. Given the current circumstances, the demands on the DEASP with so many people losing their jobs, the call for people to maintain social / physical distancing, callers were concerned what would happen if they did not turn up for their appointment.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection have confirmed for us that:
- All signing has been suspended until further notice;
- All activation engagements have been cancelled; and
- All Penalty Rates have been lifted.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, on March 31st, 2020 the Government announced they would extend the Fuel Allowance season by four weeks. So, instead of finishing on Friday April 10th, 2020, it will run until Friday May 8th, 2020. The Fuel Allowance is currently paid at a rate of €24.50 per week, and now this year will run for 32 weeks.
In response to queries raised with the INOU’s Welfare Rights Information Team, 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.
Please note that with effect from the week beginning March 24th, for a twelve week period up until the week of June 15th, the Qualified Adult payment will be increased from €134.70 to €147.
Revised Intreo Centres Opening Hours
On Friday April 3rd the DEASP announced that all of their public offices will only be open to the public from 10 am to 1 pm on Fridays, Mondays and Wednesdays. In the weeks of April 6th and April 13th it means Intreo Offices will only be open four half days.
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