NEW emergency payments have been announced for workers hit by the coronavirus pandemic. With 70,000 layoffs estimated in the restaurant and pub industry alone, it is likely that the number of people forced to apply for social welfare payments will surge.
Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty has announced a new payment called the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment.
It is worth €203 a week and is paid for six weeks.
Yes, but the difference with this payment is not how much you get but the fact that the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection aims to pay it quickly.
In the meantime, you have to make a normal claim for jobseeker's allowance by filling out and sending in a full jobseeker's form. It is important to do this if you want to continue to receive a payment after the emergency payment has finished.
No. The department today appealed to people not to visit their Intreo Centre "if at all possible" to help stop the virus spreading further.
If you do show up, the queues may be long as the centres are implementing social distancing requirements.
If you have been laid off or your working hours have been cut, you can apply for the new payment by filling in a one-page application form.
Applications can be made online, or forms downloaded and sent by freepost.
This is problematic for those without a printer but some thoughtful individuals around the country are helping out. Staff at Ballybane Library in Galway, for instance, have left a bundle of the forms at a local Gala shop.
There is also a phone number you can ring to get the form.
The address is Freepost, PO Box 12896, Dublin 1.
It can be paid into your bank account or post office.
A department spokesperson said it aims to process payments as quickly as possible.
Payments will be based on the date you apply, not the date your application is processed, so it will be backdated. Keep checking your bank account, as payment may be made before you are notified.
It is available to all workers and the self-employed who have lost work "due to a downturn in economic activity" caused by the pandemic. In other words, anyone whose employer is unable to continue to pay them.
It depends on your situation.
If, for example, you are on a three-day week, you will get up to two fifths of the maximum jobseeker's benefit of €203 and may also be eligible for an increased rate of payment for a partner or children.
You can apply for a special coronavirus illness benefit worth €305 a week.
This is an increase of just over €100 on the normal illness benefit rate of €203 a week and it is paid from day one of your absence. It is available for two weeks for those advised to isolate, and for the full absence for those diagnosed with coronavirus.
Yes. In a message today it said: "We would kindly ask you not to phone the department seeking updates on your application, as staff will be focusing on processing applications."
It is also encouraging employers to continue paying workers at least the jobseeker's rate of €203 a week and will refund them at a later date. In the meantime, it said the banks will provide working capital finance in the form of overdrafts or short-term loans.
Yesterday, the main public sector union - Fórsa - advised its members that management is likely to ask civil servants to redeploy into the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to deal with an expected increase in workload.