Sinn Féin spokesperson on Employment Affairs and Social Protection John Brady has called for urgent clarity from Minster Regina Doherty as to why people have been withdrawn from the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment payment scheme despite already meeting the criteria and being in receipt of payments.
Deputy Brady said:
“Sinn Féin TDs have been inundated with calls and emails from concerned people who have been told their Covid-19 PUP payment is being withdrawn.
“The Department has written to them and has told them that they have reviewed their applications and have stopped their payments, stating that they do not meet the eligibility criteria.
“This has caused great concern for those who lost their jobs as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. This is a step in the wrong direction from the Department.
“These people have paid tax and PRSI for years for very little in return. Now, when they need help to survive, the government cannot turn their back on them.
“There has also been talk of the Department looking for a reimbursement for payments already made, which is deeply worrying.
“These are the same people the State will be relying on to go back to work to get the country up and running again after this crisis.
“Minister Doherty would be better served giving families a break rather than pressing them into financial hardship during this period of great anxiety.
“I will be writing to Minister Doherty seeking answers. Has the criteria for payments changed? Is the Government going to introduce penalties if people don’t reimburse the payment? Will they consider reversing their decision to withdraw payments for people to have already been receiving these payments to date?”