Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (550)

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Ceist:

550. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Social Protection when backdated pandemic unemployment payments will issue to all recipients who incorrectly had their pandemic unemployment payments reduced; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26561/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment was introduced as an emergency measure to provide an income support to those who had lost their employment as a result of Covid.  In order to ensure that the scheme was simple and accessible for the unprecedented number of applicants, a flat payment rate was introduced.

From 26 June 2020, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment moved to 2 rates of payment.  This change more closely linked the rate of payment to the amount that individuals previously earned.

For employees, the greater of their gross weekly earnings in either 2019 or January to February 2020 was used to determine the rate of pandemic unemployment payment.  

For self-employed people a different approach was required, based on their average weekly income for 2018 as this was the last tax year for which verifiable data on self-employed income was available.  

As the Deputy will be aware, I subsequently asked my officials to ensure that where self-employed income for 2019 was available, this was also taken into account.

Any person who felt that the assessment of their earnings, based on returns already submitted to Revenue, was inaccurate could ask for a review of their case.  As of 18 September, 1,064 individuals have had their rate of payment increased of foot of requests for reviews.  

In addition, a detailed examination of all cases was undertaken by the Department to take account of updated income details where these had become available.  This identified a further 3,885 currently awarded claims where the rate of payment should have remained at €350 from 26 June 2020.  Arrears issued to those customers on 22 September . In addition, approximately 5,800 closed claims where the rate of payment should have remained at €350 from 26 June 2020 were identified and arrears are due to issue to those customers on 29 September.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.