Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has warned that people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment are facing a cliff-edge drop-off of financial support despite the Minister’s promises.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“From 14th September, people currently receiving the PUP rate of €203 will be transitioned onto Jobseeker’s and, for those aged 18 to 24, this means a maximum weekly payment of just €112.70.
“Of the 38,429 people who received a PUP rate of €203 this week, over 11,000 of them are under 25 years of age. This cohort of young people will see a considerable drop in their income come September.
“The impending cuts to the PUP are worrying enough, but young people are set to lose €90 in their weekly income overnight.
“Added to this is the fact that Jobseeker’s Allowance is means-tested.
“This means that as thousands of people are transitioned off the PUP and onto Jobseeker’s, some of them are going to see their income fall drastically, especially as entire household income is taken into account.
“The terms and conditions of Jobseeker’s is also very different from the PUP – there is a requirement to seek work, those on Jobseeker’s can be referred for job activation and where a person does not engage, their payment can be cut or revoked.
“This is problematic in that many people on the PUP in September will be waiting to return to their jobs or are self-employed and not looking for work. “They should not be placed in the ludicrous situation of having to look for work merely to tick a box.
“We know that many people cannot yet return to work due to ongoing public health guidelines, so why these terms are being enforced is incomprehensible.
“I do not believe the Minister has been upfront about what this transition to Jobseeker’s actually means for people.
“Sectors like the arts, which remain hugely impacted by the pandemic, should not lose their Covid support payment. They are not jobseekers and they should not be treated as such.
“The Minister needs to look at this again and ensure that those out of work through no fault of their own do not suffer any more than they already have.”