2 week Backlog for Pandemic Unemployment Payment Review leaves Households Financially Struggling
Aontú leader and Meath West TD, Peadar Tóibín has said people who had their Pandemic Unemployment Payment reduced to the Jobseeker’s Allowance rate had been left in limbo over the past couple of weeks while seeking a review of their PUP claim. He says a dedicated office which was set up by the Department of Social Protection had been unable to provide answers as to how long it would take for claims to be reviewed. He stated;
“My office has received a number of calls from around the country and from constituents who are trying to determine the status of the review of their Pandemic Unemployment Payment. In particular we are receiving calls from self-employed earners who have been self-employed since 2018, had their payment reduced to the Jobseeker's Allowance rate and subsequently submitted documentation and proof of earnings to the PUP Rerate office in Waterford. They are now finding themselves struggling to pay household bills. One self-employed person who works in the entertainment industry told us he is unlikely return to work by the start of next year. He had contacted the Department of Social Protection a number of times, but could not be provided with any clear answer as to how long it would take to review his claim by staff at the dedicated Pandemic Unemployment Payment office.”
“We contacted Minister Humphrey’s office yesterday to seek clarity on the backlog of claims waiting to be reviewed. We have been informed today by the Department of Social Protection there is a 2 week backlog for review of such cases. When the Pandemic Unemployment Payment was first issued in March we were inundated with calls from people around the country who had applied for the payment, but many applicants received no response on the status of the claim and it appears many postal applications at that time were unaccounted for.
Lessons ought to have been learned by the Department of Social Protection that people can’t be left in limbo as they anxiously await payment with no other income in their household and departmental offices reviewing claims need to be properly staffed and resourced to get payments out to people as quickly as possible.”