After two years and €9bn, the final Pandemic Unemployment Payments have been issued.
The last remaining recipients of the payment are today being moved across to Jobseekers’ payments, provided they are eligible.
The scheme was closed to new entrants in January and just short of 45,000 people are being moved across today.
First introduced at a flat rate of €350 per week, the universal payment supported tens of thousands of people through COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.
Since March 8th, the payment has been reduced to a maximum of €208 per week.
Throughout its lifetime, the scheme came in for criticism from some business owners who claimed it was overly generous and a disincentive to work.
Others warned that cutting the payment to early would leave people without a lifeline before the economy had rebounded enough to offer meaningful opportunities.
Last year, an investigation by the State spending watchdog found that not enough checks were carried out when people applied for the payment.
The Comptroller and Auditor General found that nearly one in ten claimants were not eligible for the payment.
A Newstalk Freedom of Information request in December found that the State was still owed €19m from people who were wrongfully paid.
The figures showed that around 870,000 people had received at least one payment through the scheme, with about 15,000 overpayments handed out.
The overpayments at the time were worth about €29m; however, €10m had already been recovered.
The Government said the emergency nature of the payment made overpayments more likely than usual.
It said a dedicated unit, including 21 Gardaí was investigating all cases of suspected fraud.