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How to apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

If you have been made unemployed, have lost self-employment or have been put on part-time or casual work you are entitled to payment


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in news


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If you have lost your job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) to support you through this period. The payment is available to those who have become unemployed as a result of the pandemic. 

The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will continue to be paid until 31st March 2021, and will remain open to new applicants until that time.

From 1st April 2021, if you are still unemployed you will need to apply for a jobseeker's payment.

What is the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment?

The payment is designed to quickly deliver a social welfare payment to unemployed people and provide income security during the pandemic. The payment has a simple one–page application form and will be paid until 31st March 2021, if you remain unemployed during that time.

You will be paid from the date you became entitled to the payment and all payments will be backdated. You will be paid directly into your bank account every Tuesday and do not need to go to the post office to collect your payment.

Who is eligible for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment?

You can get the Pandemic Unemployment Payment if:

  • You have lost your job or have been laid off because of COVID-19
  • You are self-employed and your income from your business has stopped because of COVID-19
  • You are self-employed and your income has reduced so much that you would be able to take up a full-time job if it was offered to you
  • You are between the age of 18 and 66
  • You live in the Republic of Ireland
  • You were in employment or were self-employed in Ireland on or after 13th March 2020
  • You are genuinely seeking work
  • You have at least one PRSI contribution in the four weeks before claiming the payment, or you are in insurable self-employment

If you stop your payment because you have returned to work, but you are later laid off again, then you can reapply for the payment. If you stopped claiming the payment because you left Ireland, you can reapply once you return.

Could I be refused the Pandemic Unemployment Payment?

You must meet the criteria above in order to qualify for the PUP payment. You may also lose your payment if:

  • You refuse to return to your job after being laid off
  • You refuse a suitable offer of employment
  • You fail to engage with 'activation measures', such as training to help you find a job

Can I still run my business while receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment?

If you are self-employed, you can earn up to €480 over four weeks and keep your PUP payment. 

The €480 limit is based on your gross income (the amount you earned before tax and PRSI). It does not include expenses. You do not need to notify the Department of Social Protection if you are earning less than €480 over four weeks. 

If your earnings from self-employment go above €480 over a four week period, you must stop your payment. Keep any evidence of your earnings during the time you are on the payment for inspection. 

If you earn over €480 over four weeks and you work less than 24 hours a week, you can apply for the COVID-19 Part Time Job Incentive for the Self-Employed.

Can students receive the Pandemic Unemployment Payment?

Students who have returned to education can continue to receive the PUP payment as long as they still fulfil the criteria listed above.

Can you receive PUP with other social welfare benefits?

If you were receiving another social welfare payment while working, you may be able to continue receiving that payment at the current rate while on PUP. Here are the payments you can receive at the same time as PUP:

How much is the Pandemic Unemployment Payment?

From 16 October 2020 to 31 January 2021, COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) weekly rate:

  • Those who were earning €400 or over per week before the payment will receive €350
  • Those who were earning between €300 - €399.99 per week will receive €300
  • Those who were earning between €200 - €299.99 per week will receive €250
  • Those who were earning less than €200 per week will receive  €203

The rate of payment will be reduced in February 2021 to bring it gradually in line with the standard jobseeker payment of €203.

The PUP payment does not pay anything extra for dependents (such as children or other family members who depend on your earnings. You may want to apply for a Jobseeker's payment instead, which does include a payment for dependents.

Do I have to pay tax on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment?

If you get the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, you may owe tax to Revenue at the end of the year. Find out more about tax and the COVID-19 payment.

What happens when I go back to work?

If you return to work, you will have to stop your payment. To stop your payment, visit MyWelfare.ie under the COVID-19 payment section.

Here are a list of situations where you will be required to stop your payment:

  • Your employer is paying you
  • Your employer is getting a payment with the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme or COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme
  • You have returned to your job or have found another job
  • You did not lose your job due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • You are not genuinely seeking work
  • You are leaving Ireland

How to apply for the Pandemic Employment Payment

There are a number of ways you can apply for the payment if you have lot your job as a result of COVID-19

Online

The quickest and easiest way to apply for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is online at Welfare.ie

Please visit gov.ie for more information on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. You do not need a Public Services Card to apply online.

By Post

To request a form and apply by post please email forms@welfare.ie. You need to fill this out and post the form (for free) to FREEPOST, PO BOX 12896, Dublin 1. It is important that you do not go to your local Intreo Centre (the employment agency) centre to apply for the payment. All applications should be posted in to avoid unnecessary contact between the public and Intreo staff. 

Income Support Helpline

If you need more information or assistance with your social welfare payment, you can contact the DSP Income Support Helpline for COVID-19 at 1890 800 024.

Need more information?

Would you like more information? Maybe you would like to talk through your own situation? Get in touch through our online chat system for 16 to 25 year olds - Monday to Friday 4pm to 8pm.

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Published March 16th2020
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.
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