I propose to take Questions Nos. 703, 710, 757 and 788 together.
The emergency Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment has been introduced as a time-limited emergency measure so that payments can be made as quickly as possible to the large number of people who have become fully unemployed due to the pandemic.
During the month of March, my Department received and processed jobseeker claims equivalent in number to a three year claim-load. These applications were processed as quickly as possible, with almost 59,000 people paid in the first week of the scheme, 283,000 people paid in the following week, and over 507,000 people in the third week of the scheme. Over 1 million applications in respect of 743,000 individuals have been received. To date, almost 7.8 million payments have issued at a cost of over €2.7 Billion.
Currently, the Department is focused on processing and managing payments to ensure that they continue to be made to all who qualify for them. The work involved in doing this is complex, with people joining and leaving the scheme each week, along with management of overlaps between the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the Revenue Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.
The Department is aware that many people are due some arrears and that each person's case is unique. The Department is currently developing an automated process which will examine each case and match a person's eligibility for each week of the scheme against their payment history. This is a complex piece of work. I am advised that the figures requested by the Deputy are not available at this time.
It will take time to complete the necessary development work to enable the review cases and determine what, if any, arrears are due. I can assure the Deputies that all cases will be examined and where arrears arise they will be processed and claimants will be notified.
In cases where a person supplied incorrect bank details as part of their application for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment they were contacted by my Department and advised that the bank details submitted by them were incorrect. They were asked to submit a new claim for the payment and provide the correct bank IBAN details in order for their claim to be processed. Payments which failed due to incorrect IBAN details will be reissued as part of the arrears processing work outlined above.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputies.