The number of people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) has increased by more than 15,000 in the last week.
There are now 244,153 people receiving the PUP payment, an increase of 15,295 week-on-week.
The figures have increased following last week’s decision to move the border counties of Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan to level four of the Government’s pandemic roadmap.
On Monday, the Department of Social Protection issued payments valued at 65.5 million euro, up from 61.4 million euro last week.
Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys said: “Today’s figures demonstrate the unprecedented challenging times the country is facing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“A major factor in managing the behaviour of the virus is being able to reduce the number of people we meet.
“I know how difficult it is for people who are being asked to work from home where possible and to refrain from making household visits.”
244,153 people will receive the #COVID19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment this week, an increase of 15,295 compared to last week— Department of Social Protection (@welfare_ie) October 19, 2020
Minister @HHumphreysFG encourage anyone wishing to avail of supports to do so online at https://t.co/M2y3fHlEv2
Read more here: https://t.co/wYx1HFUpdV pic.twitter.com/fr4ncGKiqp
With Cabinet meeting on Monday to discuss further coronavirus restrictions, the cost of the PUP could be set to rise again.
Ms Humprheys said: “I am deeply conscious that people feel anxious and concerned about the prospect of future restrictions.
“But I know too that we have it in us as a country to get back on top on this virus. We did it before and we will do it again.
“So let’s come together and ensure we do what is necessary to protect lives and protect livelihoods.
“I also want to thank the huge number of people applying for social protection supports who have moved to use our online service www.MyWelfare.ie.
“This is the quickest and easiest way to receive the likes of PUP so I would encourage anyone wishing to avail of supports to do so online.”
In the past seven days, 3,950 people have closed their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
Of these, 2,526 have reported that they were returning to work. Some 1,973 people will be receiving their final payment this week.