Around 110,000 hit by reduced pandemic payments

by Gazette Reporter

MORE than 100,000 recipients of Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will have their rate cut by almost €150 to €203 from this week.

The change from July 6 applies to employees whose average weekly earnings in 2019 or in January and February 2020 were less than e200 gross.

The Department of Social Protection says this will equate to standard jobseeker rates and will still give people a higher income than they had prior to being laid off.

A total of 110,400 people will be affected by the decrease in payment, while those whose average weekly earnings were €200 or more will continue on the €350 rate.

The Department say 75% of all those receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will continue to be paid €350 per week.

Payments to self-employed people have been assessed based on their 2018 returns to the Revenue Commissioners (returns for 2019 are not due until later in 2020).

Meanwhile a survey by Taxback.com reveals that 57% of recipients are unaware that they face tax bills of between e150 and almost e3,000 at the end of the year.

A huge number of full-time workers in receipt of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme or Pandemic Unemployment Payment will have make a tax return.

Christmas could see unknowing workers hit with a tax bill of up to €2,828.59, in addition to any drop in income they may have suffered during the lockdown.

And January could see taxpayers, employers and Revenue scrambling to balance the tax affairs of the over one million recipients of the schemes.

Since its introduction in March, over 551,800 employees have been paid by the TWSS, while 517,600 have received the PUP.

Marian Ryan, consumer tax manager with Taxback.com said: “When assessing the impact, we were mindful of the immediacy with which the Government had to roll out the scheme, so anomalies were to be expected.

“The issue, however, is that thousands of employees appear to be completely unaware of what is coming down the tracks.”

Anyone who wishes to raise a query can contact the Department by emailing PUPRerate@welfare.ie, writing to Pandemic Unemployment Rerate Requests, DEASP, Intreo Centre, Cork Road, Waterford or calling 1890 800 024.

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