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Options in place for Social Welfare customers during Level 5 restrictions

  • Employees who cannot attend work for childcare reasons can continue to avail of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP)

Tuesday, 12 January, 2021

Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD, has today set out the options for collecting social welfare payments during Level 5 of restrictions.

Minister Humphreys confirmed that payments will continue to be paid weekly, while also recognising that some customers may prefer to collect their payment less frequently.

For example, customers who are receiving a State Pension or Carer’s Allowance from the Department have up to 90 days to collect their payment after it has issued to their nominated Post Office.

And those receiving payments such as Jobseekers Benefit and One Parent Family Payment have up to 20 days to collect their payment at their Post Office.

The continuation of this measure allows customers to collect payments at a time of their choosing and provides flexibility to customers while allowing for greater adherence to social distancing guidelines.

Commenting today, Minister Humphreys said:

“I want to re-assure customers that options are in place for collecting social welfare payments during this difficult period.

“While some people prefer to avail of the weekly payment option, others are understandably concerned about making weekly visits to their local Post Office due to the virus numbers.

“Flexibility will continue to be shown throughout the period of the Level 5 restrictions.

“So if you do not wish to collect your payment on a weekly basis, it will be retained for you at your post office for a set period.”

Parents unable to avail of Childcare – Pandemic Unemployment Payment

The Department of Social Protection also clarified the arrangements that are in place which enable employees who cannot attend work due to child minding responsibilities to claim the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

Most employers have facilitated people with flexible and home working arrangements during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

As was the case when childcare facilities and schools were closed previously, an employee who cannot attend work due to child minding responsibilities, and as a consequence is not in receipt of employment income, is eligible to apply for PUP.

This arrangement will continue to remain in place during this latest set of Level 5 restrictions.

The applications are processed on the basis of self-declaration.  They are checked against employment and earnings records from Revenue.

Minister Humphreys stated:

“Since the start of the Pandemic, many employers have put in place flexible arrangements for staff to allow them to continue to work while minding their children.

“This should continue wherever possible as it maintains that vital link between employees and their employers.

“However, where this has not been possible, applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, where the applicant could not return to work because of an inability to have their children minded, are processed by the Department.

“I would like to reassure parents that where they are unable to avail of childcare and have no options available to enable them to work, they are eligible to apply for the PUP.”

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Note for Editor

The fortnightly payment process was kept under constant review last year and, in August, the Department moved some payments, including One-Parent Family Payment, Working Family Payment, Illness Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Jobseeker’s Benefit back to a weekly payment schedule. All other payments were returned to issue on a weekly basis in October.