Fianna Fáil TD for Laois-Offaly, Seán Fleming, says he has received clarification in Dáil Éireann that people in receipt of the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be granted paid contributions for as long as they receive the payment.
Deputy Fleming explained, “This means that a person’s entitlement to the state pension or indeed other short-term social welfare payments such as illness and maternity benefit will not be affected if they receive the pandemic unemployment payment.
“I raised the issue with the Minister after being contacted by people approaching retirement age wondering whether this would affect the rate of the pension they would get.
“They need to ensure they meet their contributions quota to secure a full state pension in retirement so I am glad to confirm that the pandemic payment will not have any negative effect on that.
“Given the current circumstances people have enough to be worrying about and it is important that their entitlement to any future payments is protected and made clearly known,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein TD for Kildare South and the Portarlington area of Laois, Patricia Ryan, has called for provision to be made for the use of technology in Social Welfare Appeals, to speed up the process.
“There are people waiting since February for an appeal to be heard,” she said.
“We need to use technology to speed things up, there are people surviving on little or no income and we need to give them an answer.
“I submitted a Parliamentary Question to ask the Minister for Social Welfare if she would facilitate video hearings where an applicant is comfortable in using the technology.
“I am delighted that the Minister is open to the idea and that the Chief Appeals Officer is exploring the use of video technology for appeal hearings.
“Many people have contacted my office in relation to their appeals. Some people may not be tech savvy but my office is available to assist people with this.”