Call for greater clarity on PUP eligibility

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A Galway TD has said that greater clarity is needed on just who is eligible for the reopened PUP scheme under new restrictions.

The government announced that there would be a limited reopening of the PUP scheme, which had been closed to new applicants since July, in response to new COVID-19 restrictions affecting the hospitality and events sectors.

Galway TD Claire Kerrane said that there is need for greater clarity on which workers affected by recent restrictions are eligible for PUP.

“It is crucial that workers have access to financial supports when they cannot go to work through no fault of their own,” she said.

“The reopening of the PUP to applicants is positive and we welcome the move to make €350 available again for some workers who are impacted by the most recent announcements.

The announcement of the new payment bands by Minister Humphreys at the start of this week said that the limited reopening was aimed at people who lost their jobs as a direct result of the new restrictions announced last Friday.

But Deputy Kerrane said that there is a “wider group of workers” who’s jobs have been affected by public health advice from mid-November calling for people to reduce socialising, cancel children’s activities, and not to have Christmas parties.

Hotels and restaurants have reported waves of cancellations around the country in recent weeks as people have stopped going out as much, and called of Christmas activities.

“That group of workers was simultaneously hit by planned cuts to the PUP scheme, which the government refused to halt at the time,” Claire Kerrane said.

“As well as this, the various cuts to the PUP since September mean that households now don’t know if they will be eligible for the payment and how long will receive it.

“The devil is in the detail, and we need to know more regarding the reopening of applications to the PUP.”

There are five bands of payment for the PUP scheme now, which reopened to applicants on Tuesday, including a new band for people earning €151 a week or less aimed at part-time workers.

The five new payment bands for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment are:

Weekly Earnings (Gross) Rate from 7 Dec 2021
€400+ €350
€300-€399 €300
€200-€299 €250
€151.50- €200 €203
Less than €151.50 €150