More than four years’ worth of welfare claims processed in a few weeks

More than four years’ worth of welfare claims were processed in just five weeks after strict lockdown measures were introduced across Ireland. John McKeon, secretary general at Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, outlined to the Oireachtas special committee on Covid-19 the level of claims and inquires made by the public. “In the five-week period from 13 March alone, they dealt with over four years worth of claims and got them into payment quickly, on a new scheme – the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) – that was itself designed, developed and implemented in a matter of days.” In March, the Government announced a series of welfare measures which were due to expire this month, however they will be extended until August. Mr McKeon said how the payments, including the PUP, will change and develop over coming months depending on progress in suppressing the virus and restoring business activity.