The government has announced an extension on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the Enhanced Illness Benefit until June 30th, 2021.
The two schemes, introduced as a direct response to the Pandemic, were due to expire on March 31st.
Social Protection Minister, Heather Humphreys TD last night confirmed that the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will remain open to new entrants.
It will continue to be paid at four rates (€350, €300, €250 and €203) which are linked to a person’s prior income.
This week, the Department of Social Protection issued weekly payments valued at €141.88 million to 473,413 people in receipt of the PUP – including 16,178 in Donegal.
Meanwhile, the Enhanced Illness Benefit will continue to be paid at the rate of €350 up until June 30th, 2021.
The Enhanced Illness Benefit is available to people who are diagnosed by their medical doctor with the Covid-19 virus or who are required by their medical doctor to self-isolate. The rate of payment is €350 per week.
Speaking after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Minister Humphreys said:
“These supports have proven vital in supporting workers who lose their employment, as well as those who contract Covid-19 and must self-isolate.
“As long as these restrictions are in place, the Government will continue to support workers and businesses.”
Minister Humphreys added: “I am also pleased to secure Cabinet approval to extend the Enhanced Illness Benefit until June 30th, in line with the PUP.
“Once a person has been diagnosed with having the Covid-19 virus or are asked to self-isolate they can make an application for the Enhanced Illness Benefit online and their doctor will also submit the illness certificate.
“It is paid from day one of a person’s illness or self-isolation and the rate of payment is €350 per week.
“So the message for anyone who contracts Covid-19 or displays symptoms of the virus is simple: Do not in any circumstance attend the workplace. The Enhanced Illness Benefit is in place to support you.”
Minister Humphreys also secured Government approval to extend the waiver on waiting days for Jobseeker’s payments until the end of June 2021. Essentially, this means that when a person applies for either Jobseeker’s Benefit or Allowance, their payment is paid from day one.
Ordinarily, when a person applies for either of these two payments, they are not paid for the first 3 days – they are called ‘waiting days’.
Previously, the ‘waiting days’ requirement was waived at the onset of Covid-19, to facilitate people who got temporary work.
This measure was due to expire at the end of March but will now be extended in line with the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the Enhanced Illness Benefit.