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Over one million now dependent on State income support

Over one million people are now either fully or partially dependent on the State for income support, according to the latest figures from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. 

584,000 people are now receiving the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment introduced just over a month ago. 

The latest figures indicate that 50,000 of those are receiving the €350 payment for the first time this week. 

Payments will be in their bank accounts or at their local post office tomorrow. 

Those figures come on top of the 212,000 on the Live Register receiving standard Jobseekers’ Benefit of €203 per week. 

In total, 796,000 people are totally reliant on the State for their income.

The figure at the end of February was 182,000 – meaning unemployment has more than quadrupled in seven weeks. 

Separately, 46,000 employers have now registered with the Revenue Commissioners for the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), which is subsidising the pay of 281,200 employees.  

When those on the Covid-19 Pandemic Payment, those on Jobseekers and those in the TWSS are added up, 1,077,200 people are now completely or partly dependent on the State for income support.  

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty referred to this figure as “unparalleled in our nation’s history”. 

She described the situation as a temporary health emergency, adding that many sectors of the economy would be able to switch back on relatively quickly once the danger has passed – but also warned of longer-term consequences. 

“Some sectors will be slower than others to recover and we will also have a challenge with youth employment as many young people who could have expected to have entered a buoyant jobs market will now face a much more complex environment,” Ms Doherty said.  

She said her department was already planning for the “post-pandemic environment”, and is considering the best measures to help every worker to get back into the labour force as quickly as possible.  

According to the Department, since the Covid-19 Pandemic Payment was launched on 16 March, it has processed 662,000 applications for the payment or for an alternative jobseekers’ payment. 

51,000 applicants subsequently closed their Covid-19 Pandemic Payment, mostly because their employers had taken people back onto the payroll to avail of the wage subsidy scheme.  

52,000 payments have been withheld, either because the applicants were still in employment, had not been in employment prior to making the claim, were covered by the wage subsidy scheme, were not resident in the State, or had submitted incorrect bank or PPSN details. 

32,000 have been medically certified to qualify for the €350 a week Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment, which applies to people who have diagnosed with the virus or have been advised by a GP to self-isolate. Normal non-Covid Illness Benefit is €203.

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