The number of people receiving the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment has fallen slightly by 5,000 to 584,600 over the last week, new figures show.
Of those, 7,000 are receiving the €350 weekly payment for the first time.
A further 214,700 people were receiving Jobseekers’ Benefit of €203 a week at the end of April.
When recipients of the PUP and Jobseekers are taken together, just under 800,000 people are totally dependent on the state for their income.
In addition, 464,000 employees are having their wages subsidised under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) – as over 54,000 have registered with the Revenue Commissioners to participate in the scheme.
Today’s figures show that in total, over 1,263,000 people are fully or partially reliant on the state for income support.
Since the PUP was launched on March 16, 105,000 people have closed their claims, with many presumed to have been rehired by their employers under the TWSS.
44,600 people are receiving the Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit of €350 a week.
The majority of these have been advised by their GP to self-isolate on a precautionary basis with the remainder actually diagnosed with the virus.
With the first phase of business re-opening commencing this morning, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is advising workers returning to work today to close their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) today.
The Department also notes that workers returning to work any time after today must close their claim for the PUP payment on the actual date they start back at work.
It says the easiest say to close a PUP claim is online via www.mywelfare.ie. There is also a dedicated income support helpline at 1890 800 024, which is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty described the PUP as an emergency response which had allowed the government to prevent a health and economic emergency from turning into a social crisis.
“Built for speed and impact, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment has provided families throughout the country with immediate assistance following the overnight loss of hundreds of thousands of incomes,” she said.
“It is also very unlikely that we would have had the high level of public compliance with the health restrictions introduced to tackle the virus without the relief provided by the payments,” the Minister said.
Ms Doherty said that while today’s figures confirmed that the peak had been reached in terms of those receiving PUP payments, she expected those numbers to continue to gradually drop over the coming weeks as more people return to work.
She noted that not everyone would be able to return to work so quickly, and that the PUP would continue “for now”.
“Future decisions regarding the nature of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be based on our commitment that everyone who genuinely needs help will get the most appropriate assistance and also based on the evidence we receive from the reopening of the economy,” she said.
Excluding duplicate claims, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has now processed 658,000 applications for the PUP or Jobseekers Benefit.
It stressed that as with all social welfare schemes, cross-checks with the Revenue Commissioners, Gardai and the customs authorities are carried out to verify eligiblity – including examining records of those covered by the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.