Working Family Payment (WFP) is an in-work family benefit which provides additional income support to employees on low earnings with children.
My Department, as part of the overall Government response to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, put in place supports, including the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), for individuals who lost their employment as a direct consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Customers in receipt of WFP and PUP are entitled to receive both payments concurrently.
As people have returned to employment, the number of customers in receipt of PUP has reduced while the numbers claiming WFP has increased. Overall, the numbers in receipt of PUP have fallen dramatically by over 403,000 from the 2021 peak and by over 524,000 from the 2020 peak to just under 78,000 recipients. It is not possible to provide a historical breakdown of the number of recipients of WFP and PUP as numbers change on a week by week basis. At the end of October 2021 there were 771 customers in receipt of WFP and PUP concurrently.
The Department has not yet transitioned any customers from WFP to Jobseekers. All customers who continue to meet the qualifying criteria for WFP and PUP will continue to receive both payments until the 9th November 2021. The process of moving the lower €203 rate of PUP to a jobseeker's payment has commenced. WFP customers who are affected have been contacted by the Department to advise them that their PUP payment will cease and the options available to them, including the timeframe within which claims for jobseekers payments should be submitted.
The Department is aware that, in a small number of cases, customers made early applications for jobseeker payments and this has stopped their WFP payment earlier than should have been the case. The Department will identify the people concerned and will restore the payment for the period in question. This will be done at an early date and the people concerned will be communicated with directly.
I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.