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Update on Payments Awarded for Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Enhanced Illness Benefit

  • 106,245 people receive the Pandemic Unemployment Payment this week, a fall of 4,525 on last week


  • Some €27.5 million in PUP weekly payments paid into bank accounts or post offices this week


  • Wide range of employment supports available for PUP recipients as part of Pathways to Work strategy, available via
  • Public reminded about Scam Phone Calls and Scam Texts from callers claiming to be from the Department of Social Protection



Tuesday, 28th September 2021


This week, the Department of Social Protection issued weekly payments valued at €27.5 million to 106,245 people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).  This represents a fall of 4,525 compared to last week.


The greatest reduction this week is in the Accommodation and Food Services sector.


The PUP figures published this week are in addition to the 179,761 people who were on the Live Register at the end of August.


All Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payments have been paid into recipients’ bank accounts or at their Post Office today.


Commenting today, Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said:


“Today’s figures mean that the number of people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment has now fallen for 33 consecutive weeks.


“And since February of this year, the number of young people under the age of 25 who were claiming the PUP has reduced by over 90 per cent.


“We now have nearly half a million fewer people claiming the PUP compared to the peak of the virus last year – demonstrating the huge progress that has been made in terms of rolling out our vaccination programme, re-opening the economy and getting people back to work.


The Minister continued:


“A range of supports have been put in place, under our ‘Pathways to Work Strategy’, in terms of giving people the advice, training, work experience and skills they need to find good quality employment.


     “I’d really encourage anyone who is looking to find a new job to contact his/her local Intreo office.


      “At the end of the day, my Department is here to help and to support people to enter or re-enter the workplace.”


The payment week for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment runs from Friday to Thursday and payments are paid on the following Tuesday. Individuals who have closed their PUP by Monday 27th September, as they have returned to work, will receive their final PUP payment on Tuesday 5th October.



People returning to work


The Department continues to remind workers who are returning to work that they must close their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment on the actual date that they start back at work, in order to ensure that their claim is processed correctly and to avoid incurring an overpayment that the Department will take steps to recover.


As PUP is paid weekly in arrears people who have closed their claim last week are receiving a final payment this week and are still counted in the numbers in payment for this week.  The easiest way to close a claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is online via  Any worker returning to work with an enquiry about closing their claim can contact the Department’s dedicated Income Support Helpline at 1890 800 024 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.



Transition of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP)


In line with the Government’s Economic Recovery Plan, the PUP is gradually changing over a 6 month period from September 2021 until February 2022 to align it with the standard jobseeker’s payments.

The process of moving from the lower €203 rate of PUP to a jobseeker’s payment was due to begin in early September. This has been deferred until after all sectors have started to re-open in line with the Roadmap announced on 31st August and all affected customers will  continue to receive their  PUP payment until 26th October when the process of their transition to a jobseeker’s payment will begin.


The Department has written to all affected customers to outline the details of the transition from PUP and the options that will be available to them.


Two further phases of rate changes are scheduled to take place from 16th November 2021 and 8th February 2022.  As PUP recipients go on to the €203 rate in each phase, they will be transitioned to standard jobseeker terms.  


Control Measures


The Department conducts a series of pre and post payment checks on all PUP claims which include continuing eligibility checks. Subject to these checks being cleared the Department then processes payments based on the clients’ self-declaration.


The Department runs post payment checks that includes verifying data against Revenue records, examining cases where the same Bank account is used multiple times, examining cases where an employer or members of the public report concerns, and the use of data analytics to identify and check claims. It also undertakes employer inspections.


This work is undertaken by the Department’s Special Investigation Unit, which includes over 20 Gardaí on secondment to the Department. 


As business re-opens the Department’s inspectors continue to conduct control reviews and matching records against employer payroll data from the Revenue Commissioners to help ensure people close their claim as they return to work. To avoid incurring an overpayment people returning to work should close their claim and can do so easily at



Self-employed people and PUP


Self-employed people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment who are looking to maintain their business can earn up to €960 over an eight-week period, while retaining their full PUP entitlement.

There is no formal application process and a self-employed person simply needs to inform the Department if they earn over €960 in any eight-week period.

The €1,000 Enterprise Support Grant will remain in place for the rest of the year for self-employed people who close their PUP payment. Those who claimed the grant in 2020 but who found themselves back on PUP in 2021, will be able to access the grant for a second time. – PPSN application service


The easiest and quickest way to apply for many social welfare payments, including the Enhanced Illness Benefit and Jobseekers’ payments is online at This is a platform which is safe, secure and accessible anytime, anywhere and on all devices. People have the option of applying for Maternity Benefit, Paternity Benefit, Child Benefit, PRSI refunds and Jobseekers’ payments as well as requesting a statement or a record of social insurance contributions from the Department.


The application service to apply for a PPS Number is available at for people living in Ireland who are at least 18 years of age and need a PPS Number to avail of social welfare benefits, public services and information in Ireland. To apply for a PPS Number online, a person will need to have a basic MyGovID account.


In the interests of the public health advice and observing social distancing people are asked, if possible, not to attend their local Intreo Centre. Instead, they should avail of the online services available through


Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment


Employees or self-employed people who contract the virus or who are medically certified by their doctor to self-isolate are advised to apply for Enhanced Illness Benefit. Unlike the standard Illness Benefit, the Enhanced Illness Benefit is paid from the first day of illness. The quickest and easiest way to apply for Enhanced Illness Benefit is through


This week some 2,012 people are in receipt of an Enhanced Illness Benefit payment, compared with 2,213 last week.


Full details on Enhanced Illness Benefit including sector and county breakdown as well as age profile are at Appendices 7, 8 and 9.



Scam Phone Calls and Scam Texts


Customers and members of the public are reminded about scam phone calls and text messages they may receive from individuals claiming to be an official of the Department. 

These calls and texts display a range of numbers, including some which may appear to be from the Department’s phone numbers. The Department would like to remind all its customers that it will never seek personal information from customers via text message and will never ask a customer for their bank details over the phone.


Any person who receives such a call or text is asked not to disclose any information and to report it to the Gardaí immediately.




Press Office Contact Details


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Appendices attached separately – County Breakdown and other details


Appendix 1 -    Analysis of Pandemic Unemployment Payments by County

Appendix 2 -    Pandemic Unemployment Payments by Sector

Appendix 3 -    Pandemic Unemployment Payments by Age Profile

Appendix 4 -    Pandemic Unemployment Payment Rates by gender

Appendix 5 -    Pandemic Unemployment Payment Rates by age

Appendix 6 -    Changes in Pandemic Unemployment Payment Numbers by Sector

Appendix 7 -     Enhanced Illness Benefit Payments by County

Appendix 8 -     Enhanced Illness Benefit Payments by Sector

Appendix 9 -    Enhanced Illness Benefit Payments Age Profile