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More than 250,000 people receive Covid-19 unemployment payment

A total of 389,000 applications for unemployment assistance have been processed by the Department of Social Protection over the last two weeks.

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A coronavirus test (Jacob King/PA)

A coronavirus test (Jacob King/PA)

A coronavirus test (Jacob King/PA)

More than a quarter of a million people have received the Covid-19 emergency unemployment payment.

The Department of Social Protection said by close of business on Friday, payments were issued to  283,000 people.

It said these payments are in addition to the 201,000 people in receipt of standard jobseeker payments as of Friday  – an increase of 19,000 on the figure at the end of February.

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty told RTE radio the 350 euro per week payment will provide much-needed immediate assistance to workers who have lost their jobs.

The department has received 323,000 individual requests for supports from people who have lost their jobs in just 14 days.

Ms Doherty said she is expecting a rise in applications for the new wage subsidy scheme, after further coronavirus restrictions were announced on Friday.

Some 16,000 companies have signed up for the scheme so far.

The scheme will refund employers up to a maximum of 410 euro for each qualifying employee – the equivalent of 500 euro per week before tax.

A Department spokesman said the level of payments reflects the unprecedented demand for the department’s income supports over the past two weeks.

Some payments were withheld for various reasons, with approximately 15,000 not meeting eligibility criteria – ie, if they were not previously in employment, under 18 years of age or were still in employment.

A further 8,700 had invalid Personal Public Service (PPS) numbers and 6,600 had invalid International Bank Account Numbers (IBANs).

The department is working very hard to resolve any issues, such as invalid IBANs or PPS numbers, with legitimate applications and is contacting the people concerned directly over the next few days.

PA