Today marks the end of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and remaining recipients will now transition to jobseekers’ payments, if they are deemed eligible.
The scheme was closed for new applications in January and last week, final payments to the remaining 44,747 claimants were processed.
The PUP was first introduced as the Covid-19 pandemic struck in March 2020 and was originally intended to be a six-week, short-term measure.
Two years and €9 billion later, the final payments in the scheme have been issued.
At one stage, the PUP was paid at a flat rate of €350 a week before being restructured and linked to previous earnings.
Critics of the scheme said it was overly generous and acted as a disincentive to work, while others have hailed the payment as a lifeline for those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
In September, the State’s spending watchdog, the Comptroller and Auditor General, found there were not enough checks carried out when people applied for the payment.
In a sample of cases reviewed, it found 9.4% of claimants were not eligible for the income support scheme.
The Department of Social Protection said at the time that the “emergency” nature of the scheme meant the risk of overpayments “would be higher than normal”.