The Department of Social Protection has announced special arrangements for people who lose their jobs between now and the New Year to claim the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

Anyone who applies for PUP online, via, anytime up to Christmas Eve will receive that payment within a week of their application.

A person who makes a new application for PUP in the period from 18 December, up to and including close of business today, will receive their payment on 24 December.

Those making a new PUP application by close of business tomorrow, Wednesday 23 December, will receive payment on Wednesday 30 December.

Anyone filing a new application by close of business on Thursday 24 December, Christmas Eve, will receive a payment on Thursday 31 December (New Year's Eve).

Subsequent applications on any date from Christmas Day to the close of business on New Year's Eve will be paid on the normal PUP payment date of Tuesday 5 January.

Current recipients will today receive a double payment to cover the next two weeks, and no further payments were due to be processed until 5 January.

However, in light of today's new restrictions, the Minister for Social Protection told today's Cabinet meeting that her department has established measures to ensure that those who require and are eligible for PUP income support will receive it as quickly as possible.

Minister Heather Humphreys said her priority was to ensure that businesses and workers affected by the new restrictions would be supported.

"I have put arrangements in place for people who will be losing their jobs at this very difficult time and officials in my department will be working throughout the Christmas period so that applications will be processed without delay," she said.

The minister stressed the importance of applying online in order to process applications as quickly as possible.

"This will be a Christmas like no other and we all need to take personal responsibility for our behaviour," she said.

"Make no mistake - your actions over the next few days will make a difference.

"We cannot sacrifice all the hard work of the last nine months or put the lives of our loved ones at risk just as vaccines are about to arrive."