28,000 recipients of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will receive no benefit from tomorrow after failing to confirm that they are still eligible to receive the €350 payment introduced in March to support those laid off due to Covid-19.
The number of people claiming the PUP this week has fallen to 232,400 - a drop of 61% from the peak of 598,000 in early May, according to the latest figures from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
However, the fall is partly due to the fact that the 28,000 claimants who failed to confirm their continued eligibility for the payment by noon last Friday will have the payment stopped from tomorrow.
The Department confirmed that over recent weeks it had contacted around 390,000 PUP claimants asking them to confirm their continuing eligibility to receive the payment.
At the beginning of last week, approximately 29,000 individuals had not yet confirmed their continued eligibility "despite having received personal notifications on four separate occasions" up to August 9.
By Friday, August 14, around 1,000 confirmed their eligibility for the PUP, and they will continue to receive their payment.
However, the remaining 28,000 will not receive a payment tomorrow as their PUP claim is now deemed closed.
The Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys noted that the PUP continues to be a vital source of income for thousands of individuals and families across the country.
"That's why I took the decision to extend the payment until April 2021 as the Government continues to roll-out measures aimed at getting people back to work," she stated.
However, she acknowledged that resources were "not unlimited and we need to ensure that this money goes to the people and families who genuinely need it".
She said the Department has made every effort to contact every person receiving the payment in recent weeks in order to confirm their continued eligibility, and that the "vast, vast majority" responded and will continue to receive their payment as normal.
She noted that anyone who is eligible but did not contact the department can have their payment restored by re-applying online at www.mywelfare.ie.
In addition to the 232,400 people claiming the PUP, a further 244,600 people were reported on the Live Register at the end of July.
In total, 477,000 people remain entirely dependent on the state for their income through the PUP or Jobseekers Benefit.
Separately, around 370,000 employees are having their wages subsidised by the government through the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.
This week's figure for PUP claims is down 31,100 compared to last week, when 262,500 PUP claims were paid out.
9,700 people closed their claims in the last seven days, and 4,300 will be receiving their final payment tomorrow.
The top three sectors in which employees are returning to work this week are Accommodation and Food Services; Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair of Motor Vehicles and motorcycles; and Construction.
The largest cohort returning to work is in the under 25 age group.
Of those receiving the PUP this week, 61,750 will receive the lower rate of €203 (based on their pre-pandemic earnings being below €200) while the majority (170,650) will continue to receive the higher rate of €350.
However, the higher payment will be progressively tapered from €350 to €203 between September and April.
The Department also confirmed that to date, 55,100 people aged under 66 have been medically certified to receive the Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit of €350 per week.
Of those, just over 7% (4,126) were actually diagnosed with the virus, while the remaining 93% (50,974) were required to self-isolate on a precautionary basis.
Since the beginning of August, 77 people have been medically certified with having coronavirus while 823 others have been medically certified to self-isolate.
960 people are currently receiving a Covid-19 related Enhanced Illness Benefit payment.
The sector with the highest number of employees medically certified to receive Covid-19 Illness Benefit continues to be the Human Health and Social Work sector (12,000) followed by Wholesale and Retail Trade (11,700) and Manufacturing (7,600).