Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Ceisteanna (1096)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

1096. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the hardship facing persons who are awaiting arrears for their Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment; if the case of a person (details supplied) can be considered; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8858/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) was introduced by my Department in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.  To be eligible for the Covid-19 PUP a person must have been in employment or self-employment on or after 06/03/2020 and must have lost their employment or self-employment due to a downturn in economic activity related to Covid-19. 

According to the records of this Department the person concerned originally applied for the Covid-19 PUP on 24/03/2020, entering his date last worked as 29/02/2020.  On this basis a Covid-19 PUP did not issue as he was not employed on or after 06/03/2020.

On 27/04/2020, the person concerned revised his application to reflect a date last worked of 14/03/2020.  Subsequently a Covid-19 PUP was awarded on 05/05/2020 and he has been in payment on a weekly basis since.

The current focus is on ensuring that payments are made and continue to be paid to all who qualify for them.  My Department is aware that many people are due some arrears and that each person’s case is unique. This means that each application may need to be individually reviewed to accurately calculate any arrears. This work can only begin when my Department has time and attention to focus on what will be a considerable task.

While this is not ideal I can assure you that all cases will be examined and where arrears arise they will be processed and applicants will be notified.  Updates on the process will be available on www.gov.ie/deasp.

If the person concerned is experiencing financial difficulties he can contact his local Community Welfare Service in the Bishop’s Square Intreo Centre where his circumstances will be assessed.  Under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme, my Department can make a single Exceptional Needs Payment to help meet essential, once-off expenditure, which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income.  There is no automatic entitlement to these payments which are payable at the discretion of the officers administering the scheme, taking into account the requirements of the legislation and all the relevant circumstances of the case, in order to ensure that the payments target those most in need of assistance.  The Community Welfare Service may be contacted by email at CWSBishopSquare@welfare.ie.

I trust this clarifies the matter.