The Comptroller and Auditor General has found there were not enough checks carried out when people applied for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment last year.

In a sample of cases reviewed, it found almost 10% (9.4%) of claimants were not eligible for the income support scheme.

The cost of the PUP scheme amounted to a total of almost €5bn last year.

The report on the accounts of the Public Services for 2020, found that in just under half the cases, the claimant continued working while claiming PUP.

In one quarter of those cases sampled, there was no evidence the claimant had been working prior to the pandemic, which was one of the criteria for eligibility.

The report found there were only "weak assurances" over the department's control of claims, in particular when it came to the claimant's declarations of residency and employment status.

It said that although this sample was not carried out as a definitive measure of payments paid out in excess, it does show "the level of irregular payment for the scheme in 2020 is likely to have been material".

By the end of August this year, the department had raised overpayment in relation to 4,300 claimants who had an overlap in claiming while working - that figure totalled €14.5m.

The report found that up to the end of June, the department had received voluntary repayments of €8.3m from 9,200 claimants who applied for the PUP and subsequently judged that they were not eligible for the payment.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Compliance checks for EWSS

Revenue should review how it carries out compliance checks with regard to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme.

The Comptroller and Auditor General report has made the recommendation after €311m of the pandemic business support was identified as repayable due to overpayments or ineligibilty for the scheme.

Over a third of all employers registered with Revenue availed of the scheme.

In 2020, a total of €2.8bn was paid to 66,370 employers for 678,236 employees.

The report states that by August this year, Revenue had been repaid €212m of the outstanding repayable subsidies, with €81m warehoused for future collection.

There is a residual €18m was outstanding for recovery.