104 people have had their Covid unemployment payment stopped because of travel overseas

Covid unemployment payments have been stopped following airport checks and 44 other social welfare payments have also been closed down


The Department of Social Welfare and Protection has confirmed 104 people have had their Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) stopped because of overseas travel.

The cuts came as a result of airport checks.

The department said in a statement that "it is safer to stay at home this summer". It also shared that 44 other social welfare payments have also been closed down since 7 July. These included jobseekers' payments and means assessed payments.

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The statement came after a Sunday Business Post report uncovered that payments had been ceased because individuals were found boarding flights in breach of the rules.

Exceptional reasons

It stated that the benefit "is not paid to people who go on holidays abroad or when they are going through their 14-day quarantine period".

However, cases would be considered if someone receiving the payment "has to travel abroad for urgent or exceptional reasons".

The department explained officials carry out inspections on passengers travelling through Irish airports regularly. These include interviews with customers by trained investigators, audits of employers' PRSI records, specialist investigations and joint inquiries, operations with other agencies such as Revenue and the Gardaí, and multi-agency checkpoints.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said to receive the payment you must be "seeking work and resident in Ireland and not travelling abroad". When Áine Lawlor pushed that other welfare payments had not been stopped by foreign travel, the Tánaiste replied: "If you’re in receipt of the jobseeker’s allowance, for example, you are allowed to take a break away of up to two weeks, but beyond that it can be stopped and if you are genuinely not living in the country anymore".

The news has received a great deal of online reaction.

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