Social Protection Minister, Heather Humphreys, T.D., has announced that all weekly social welfare payments, which had been moved to a fortnightly schedule from the end of March will be fully restored to being paid weekly with effect from Monday, 2nd November, 2020.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, weekly social welfare payments were changed to a fortnightly schedule from 23rd March. This measure was kept under review and, in August, the Department moved a number of payments back to a weekly payment schedule. These included One-parent Family Payment, Working Family Payment, Illness Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Jobseeker’s Benefit.
Customers who are in receipt of the remaining payments – e.g. State Pension Contributory, Non-Contributory, Widows pensions, Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Benefit – will receive their last double week payment in the week commencing Monday, 19th October and will revert to receiving their payment each week from the week beginning 2nd November.
These customers will continue to have the option to collect their social welfare payment at their post office each week or anytime for up to 90 days.
Minister Humphreys commented:
My Department introduced the two-week payment schedule to better manage the footfall in post offices and banks and to promote social distancing. This allowed for greater adherence to the public health guidelines around Covid-19.
I would like to re-assure these customers who will be returning to the weekly payment schedule from the start of November that they will still have the choice of collecting their payment at their post office for up to 90 days. Some customers prefer to manage their finances weekly rather than fortnightly and I fully appreciate that. There may be others who prefer to collect their social welfare payment every fortnight and I want to give them that choice.
Following recent discussions with representatives from the Irish Postmasters Union and with Debbie Byrne of An Post Retail, I am very pleased to arrange for the social welfare payment schedule at post offices to be available to customers weekly. In addition to giving choice to our customers, this measure will support local business, our post offices and local communities.
Minister Humphreys also acknowledged other arrangements put in place by An Post during the Covid-19 pandemic. Positive customer friendly options put in place by An Post will continue, including reserved Friday opening from 9.00am to 11.00am for those most at risk, extended expiry dates for payments and the Temporary Agent facility for customers. This covers recipients of Pensions, Disability and Carer’s Payments from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
Debbie Byrne, MD of An Post Retail said:
The return to weekly payments will be welcomed by customers, postmasters and the communities we serve. The move will be a shot in the arm for local economies and SMEs.
An Post’s partnership with the Department of Social Protection worked well and to the benefit of customers in recent months. We look forward to further developing that partnership in the months to come.
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