Dept of Social Protection: 'Fraudulent claims of Covid-19 payment will be prosecuted'

Dept of Social Protection: 'Fraudulent claims of Covid-19 payment will be prosecuted'
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection said it would take steps 'to recover any incorrect payment'

Anyone who fraudulently tries to claim the new Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be prosecuted, the Department responsible has said.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection said it will review all claims to ensure the payment goes only to those who are eligible.

"It is engaging with Revenue Commissioners to identify those workers not eligible to avail of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and will take steps to recover any incorrect payment," it said.

"Any person who knowingly claims the payment in circumstances where they are not entitled to the payment will be prosecuted."

The Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is the emergency payment of €350 per week introduced by the Government for a 12-week period to compensate workers whose employers cannot retain them on their payroll.

The payment will also be made to people who are self-employed but whose trade has temporarily ceased because of the pandemic.

The criteria for the payment includes that the claimant was in employment or self-employment immediately before Friday, March 13, have been temporarily laid-off from work or asked to stay at home from work, whose employer cannot retain them on their payroll and the claimant is not in receipt of any employment income.

The Department said: "Do not claim the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment if your employer has not laid you off or if you were not previously in employment or if you are still in receipt of employment income, or if your employer takes you back onto their payroll.

"If you think you inadvertently applied for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, or if your employer has re-employed you under the new Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, you must close your Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment claim now.

"Claims can be closed via the Department’s online portal at www.MyWelfare.ie under the Covid-19 payment section."

It also asked for the co-operation of the public in ensuring that only correct claims are submitted as "this ensures that we can process claims for people who really need the support as quickly as possible".

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