Payback | 

Government seek return of €34m in PUP over-payments

Up to the end of July, just over 18,700 PUP over-payments were recorded to a value of €46.5 million, according to the Department of Social Protection.

Stock image© PA

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

The Government is seeking almost €34 million worth of Pandemic Unemployment Payments (PUP) which were claimed during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Up to the end of July, just over 18,700 PUP over-payments were recorded to a value of €46.5 million, according to the Department of Social Protection.

While €12.6m has been repaid, with approximately 10,700 over-payments being repaid in full, some €33.9m has still not been paid back.

The Department said it continues to make efforts to recover all outstanding over-payments.

Over-payments can happen when claimants fail to notify the Department of Social Protection when they returned to work after taking time off due to Covid, among other reasons.

However, the Department has detected fraudulent claims of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment in some cases.

A team of 120 officers, including 20 gardaí and one sergeant, have been tasked with investigating and detecting social welfare fraud.

In a statement, the Department of Social Protection said: “Where we find suspected fraudulent claiming, we pursue those who offend to ensure the funds are returned and the most severe cases are brought to the attention of the Courts.

“Cases suitable for prosecution are identified during the course of investigations conducted primarily by the Department's Special Investigation Unit and gardaí seconded to the Special Investigation Unit.”

The Department said it has several ongoing prosecutions going through the courts system currently.

Four PUP cases have been finalised with convictions secured in each case to date.


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