COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

Introduction

COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a new social welfare payment for employees and self-employed people who have lost all their employment due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

You can apply for the payment if you are aged between 18 and 66 and have lost all your employment due to coronavirus restrictions. Students, non-EEA nationals and part-time workers can apply for the payment.

The Minister has stated that regulations will be amended to allow people getting the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment to go on holiday abroad for up to 2 weeks to countries on the COVID-19 Green List and get their payment on their return.

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been told to self-isolate by your GP, you should apply for Illness Benefit.

You can find out more about COVID-19 and social welfare payments.

Changes from September 2020

The Government announced under the July Jobs Stimulus that the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be paid until 1 April 2021.

From 17 September 2020, the following changes will apply:

  • The payment will be closed to new applicants
  • A new rate of €250 will be introduced for people who previously earned between €200 and €300 per week
  • The maximum rate of payment will be reduced from €350 to €300 for people who previously earned over €300 per week

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

From 1 February 2021, the following changes will apply:

  • The rate of payment will be reduced from €250 to €203 for people who previously earned between €200 and €300 per week
  • The rate of payment will be reduced from €300 to €250 for people who previously earned over €300 per week

The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will end on 1 April 2021. People getting the payment will have to apply for a jobseeker’s payment if they have not found work by that date.

Rules

Employees, self-employed people, students and part-time workers can apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Both EEA and non-EEA workers qualify.

To qualify for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, you must:

  • Be aged between 18 and 66
  • Live in the Republic of Ireland
  • Have been in employment or self-employment immediately before Friday 13 March 2020. If you work shifts, short time or other atypical work patterns you must have been in employment on or after 6 March 2020.
  • Have lost your job or be temporarily laid off from work or asked to stay at home from work due to the COVID-19 public health emergency
  • Be self-employed and your trading income has ceased due to the COVID-19 public health emergency or your trading income has collapsed to the extent that you are available to take up other full-time employment. You do not need to de-register as self-employed to get a payment.
  • Be genuinely seeking work
  • Not be getting any income from employment

If you have a spouse or partner and children (known as adult or child dependants), you should claim a jobseeker's payment as you will get a higher rate.

If you left work to look after your child because of school or childcare closures during the public health emergency and you are not being paid by your employer, you can apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. You can contact the DEASP using MyWelfare or call 1890 800 024 to check if you can qualify.

Can I reapply if I stopped claiming my payment?

If you stopped claiming because you returned to work, but are laid off or become unemployed again, you can reapply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

If you were getting the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and stopped claiming because you left Ireland, you can reapply when you return. However, you will not be paid for the 14 days that you are required to self-isolate when you return from abroad.

People who cannot get the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

You cannot claim the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, if you:

  • Are continuing to get income from your employment or
  • Voluntarily left your employment

If you applied for the COVID19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and your employer has re-employed you under the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme, you must close your claim for the payment. You can close your claim using MyWelfare.ie.

If you are returning to Ireland after losing employment abroad, you are not eligible for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. You can apply for a jobseeker’s payment or Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

Appeals

If you think you have been wrongly refused the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, you cannot appeal the decision, but you can ask for a review of the decision. You can request a formal review of the decision by writing to: Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (Appeals), P.O. Box 12896, Dublin 1.

You should include any additional information in support of your application.

Cross-border workers

A cross-border or frontier worker is any employed or self-employed person who works in one jurisdiction and lives in another. Living in another jurisdiction means that you return to your home country every day, as a rule, or at least once a week. If a frontier worker loses their job, they should claim unemployment benefits from the country they are living in.

If you are a cross-border worker who lives in Ireland, were working in Northern Ireland and you lost your job due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, you can claim the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

Workers who live in Northern Ireland cannot apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

Jobseeker’s payments during the coronavirus pandemic

If you were working casually and you became fully unemployed as a result of the public health emergency, you can claim the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

If your working hours are reduced to 3 days or less per week, you should apply for Short Time Work Support which is a form of Jobseeker’s Benefit.

Find out more about the payments available:

Other social welfare payments

If you have lost your job due to the public health emergency and were also getting another social welfare payment, like a carer's payment, Working Family Payment or One-Parent Family Payment, you can claim the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. However, you must have lost your employment due to the public health emergency.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will replace your employment income and will be regarded by the DEASP as equivalent to employment income.

Your underlying social welfare payment will be adjusted to take account of the difference between the COVID-19 payment and your normal employment income. This may take some time and any overpayments will be taken from future payments.

If you are a qualified adult on your partner’s social welfare payment and you have lost your job because of the public health emergency, you can apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Your partner must contact the section that pays their social welfare payment to get their payment re-rated.

COVID-19 and Maternity Benefit

If you are pregnant and your employer has no work available and cannot pay you, you should apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This applies both when your due date is within 16 weeks and if it is more than 16 weeks from the last day of your employment.

You should submit your Maternity Benefit application as normal. Your maternity leave should start no later than 2 weeks before the end of the week in which your baby is due.

If you are still getting a COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment when you are due to begin your maternity leave, you must close this claim and claim Maternity Benefit as normal.

Returning to work after maternity leave

If you are due to finish your statutory maternity leave (paid or unpaid) but cannot return to your employment due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, you can get the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment from when you are due to return to work (your maternity leave end date). The ‘date last worked’ on your application form for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is the date that you were due to return to work.

Rate of payment

Since 29 June 2020, the rate of COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is linked to your prior earnings. You do not need to contact the DEASP about your earnings. The DEASP has access to this information from Revenue.

There is no payment for adult or child dependants.

COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment weekly rate

Average weekly earnings Personal rate
€200 or more per week €350
€199.99 or less per week* €203

*If you were working part-time and claiming a jobseeker's payment immediately before you claimed the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, you will continue to get €350 a week.

How are my earnings assessed?

If you were earning €200 or more per week, you will continue to get a payment of €350 per week.

If you were earning €199.99 or less per week, you will get a COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €203 per week. This new rate went into payment on Tuesday, 7 July 2020.

However, if you were working part-time and claiming a jobseeker's payment immediately before you claimed the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, you will continue to get €350 a week.

Employee earnings assessment from 29 June 2020:

If you are an employee, your average gross weekly earnings will be assessed in two separate periods – from January to December 2019 and from January to February 2020. The higher figure will be used.

For example, if your average gross weekly earnings were €195 in 2019 and €210 in 2020, the figure of €210 will be used. Similarly, if your average gross weekly earnings in 2019 were higher than in 2020, the 2019 figure will be used.

Self-employment earnings assessment from 29 June 2020:

If you are self-employed, your average weekly income in 2018 will be used to decide your rate of payment. However, if you have already submitted your 2019 returns to the Revenue Commissioners and feel that it may make a difference to your rate, you can request a review of your payment from the DEASP (see 'Can I ask for a review of my new rate?' below).

Can I ask for a review of my new rate?

If your average weekly earnings were €200 or more and your COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is reduced to €203 per week, you can request a review of your earnings. You will need to supply supporting documentation. The information you provide about your additional earnings will be matched against Revenue's records and any discrepancies will be followed up.

To request a review, email: PUPRerate@welfare.ie

You can get more information about the new rate of the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

Getting paid

The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is paid every Tuesday into a bank account in the State.

If you applied and you didn't get a payment, you can get more information on possible reasons for this on gov.ie.

Taxation of COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

Revenue has indicated that it will treat the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment as taxable income. Depending on a person’s overall income during a year, the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment may affect a person’s overall tax liability for the year.

Apply online

You should apply online for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment on MyWelfare.ie. This is the quickest way to apply.

You need:

  • A basic MyGovId account (all you need is an e-mail address and password)
  • Your personal details
  • Your bank details (payment can only be made to an Irish bank account)

The DEASP has asked people to ensure that essential details such as dates of birth, PPS numbers and IBANs are entered correctly as this can delay applications. An IBAN has 22 characters.

If you cannot apply online, you can fill in the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment application form (pdf) and apply by post.

Returning to work

You must close your claim for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment on the day you start work.

You can close your claim for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment online using MyWelfare.ie.

If you have questions about closing your claim, you can contact the DEASP income support helpline on 1890 800 024 (Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm).

Grants for self-employed people

If you are self-employed and have closed your COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, you may be able to get an Enterprise Support Grant of up to €1000. The grant is to help small business reopen. You must apply for the grant within 4 weeks of closing your COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment claim.

You can find more information about supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Page edited: 31 July 2020