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More than 700,000 people now claiming unemployment benefits

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A total of 714,000 people are now claiming unemployment benefits following a surge in claims for emergency support due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There are now 507,000 people receiving the new Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment worth €350 a week following a government-ordered business shutdown.

This is on top of 207,000 people who are on standard jobseekers benefits.

In addition, 39,000 employers who have registered for a wage subsidy scheme to avoid laying off staff are receiving state support.

Under the terms of the scheme, the government is paying 70pc of wages for employers whose income has fallen by 25pc.

A further 23,800 applications for an enhanced lllness Benefit payment for those in self-isolation or diagnosed with the virus have been made.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection said in a statement that the level of payments “reflects the unprecedented demand” for its income supports.

An analysis of the 507,000 people receiving the emergency welfare payment shows that most – 284,000 – are men, while 223,000 are women.

The highest number of payments being made are to people in Dublin, at 147,100, followed by 52,500 to people in Cork, 27,300 in Galway, and 22,300 in Kildare.

The lowest number of payments – 3,500 – are being made in Leitrim.

The department said it has processed 583,000 applications for the pandemic unemployment payment and standard jobseekers payments since the emergency payment was launched on March 16.

However, it said 19,000 people have asked to close their payment.

The department said it has issued payments to 90pc of people who made claims but 46,000 were withheld for various reasons.

It said among the reasons payments were not made included the fact that people were already receiving jobseekers payments or were still employed.

The department said some had not been employed before claiming the payment or a wages subsidy was being paid in their name. Others were not resident in Ireland or had submitted incorrect details.

The department is continuing to resolve any issues, such as invalid IBANS or PPSNs, with legitimate applications and is contacting the people concerned directly over the next few days,” it said.

“We wish to remind people to take care when submitting applications, to ensure that critical information such as dates of birth, PPSN and IBANs are entered correctly.

“An IBAN has 22 characters and people should take care that it is entered correctly. One common mistake people are making for those with Bank of Ireland accounts.”

It said some customers when filling out the IBAN are using BO1 as opposed to BOI, causing their application to be rejected.

Meanwhile, a Revenue spokesperson said it is processing refunds worth €14m as part of the wage subsidy scheme today, and the total value of payments made is €87m.

From The Irish Independent.