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Welfare reform Radical changes will see social welfare entitlements linked to a person's previous wage

The government is considering a number of new plans that include a "pay-related benefit”

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Radical new changes to the social welfare system will see entitlements linked to a person's previous income before they lost their job. 

The Government is considering a number of new plans that include a "pay-related benefit” Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys has confirmed.

It follows yesterday’s announcement that the Pandemic Unemployment Payments (PUP) is set to be cut later this year.

Ms Humphreys told reporters at Government Buildings that one of the things learned from the pandemic “is that when people suddenly lose their jobs, we don't want to see that cliff edge income drop because they have entered into commitments commensurate with their income."

“So we do need to avoid that drop, and I think that's where we can look at - and I've asked my officials to look at pay-related benefits and I think that we need to do that, the minister added. “My officials are looking at that specifically.”

Ms Humphreys also confirmed that people will drop back onto jobseeker's payment once their Pandemic Unemployment Payment is weaned back to €203.

“There are three payments at the minute, there is €350, €300 and €250,”she said.

“So on September 7, the €350 payments will reduce to €300, the €300 will go to €250 and the €250 will then go to €203.

“For those people who are currently on €203, we will transition them to the standard jobseeker’s payment.”

Other reforms of the social welfare system for Budget 2022 will affect certain groups including widows, carers, people on disability allowance, illness benefit and those with an invalidity pension.

Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath said the government was aware that it has been over two years since there has been any change in social welfare rates for these groups.

He said thousands of people are on a much lower level of the weekly social welfare than the top PUP rate of €350.

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He said: “I am sure Minister Humphreys will be keen to have some level of social welfare package in the Budget in the autumn and that’s something we’ll be discussing over the weeks and months ahead.”

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