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Social welfare: Major changes to jobseeker’s payments announced as thousands set to be impacted

Thousands of welfare users will see major adjustments in their benefits starting next month.

Jobseeker’s payments will be returned to post offices gradually, the Minister for Social Protection declared on Wednesday.
In the following months, existing claimants will get their compensation via post offices.

The “extraordinary measure” of paying social welfare beneficiaries directly into their bank accounts will be phased out in the coming months.

The Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, said returning jobseekers payments to post offices will increase foot traffic and combat fraud.
“I’m well aware of the issues facing the Post Office network,” she remarked Wednesday.

“That’s why I’m pleased to announce the reintroduction of jobseeker payments to post offices, as pre-pandemic arrangements.

“I know the Irish Postmasters Union and An Post have been calling for this.”
“The necessity to physically visit your local post office to receive your jobseeker payment will apply first to new claims, commencing next month,” she stated.

And in the following months, my department will try to include other jobseeker claims.

“This measure will increase footfall in our post offices in communities across the country – sending a clear signal of Government’s commitment to supporting the network as a whole.”

Minister Humphreys stated there had been allegations of non-residents claiming jobseekers.

“There are instances, but the majority of people who receive social welfare payments deserve it and support,” she told reporters on Wednesday.

But there are individuals who try to game the system, which is unacceptable.

With the help of the gardai and a special investigation unit, a number of people have been caught collecting benefits, and we are continuing to pursue them and recover the money.

Minister Humphreys says an inter-departmental panel is looking into additional choices and services for individuals if their local post office closes.

She added the Government would soon get a report on the issue.

Immunocompromised people who want to avoid crowded places due to Covid-19 should contact the Office of Social Protection.
« An Post appreciates this announcement which places the post office back at the heart of the Jobseeker payment system.

“This is a great illustration of how the post office network can help local governments deliver services. It also restores normalcy for Postmasters and customers.

“We look forward to the Interdepartmental Working Group’s report and working with the Government to maximise the network’s use for consumers and communities.”