'I think that's discrimination' - What should you do if you're denied the PUP?


Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.03 19 Nov 2020


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Anyone not entitled to a Pandemic Unemployment Payment, and who is in financial hardship, should see what other supports are available to them.

That is according to financial expert Eoin McGee, who says there are other options out there.

He was responding after Doreen - who is over 66-years-old and works part-time in the retail sector - was refused the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

She also receives an Old Age Pension but is not entitled to COVID-19 relief.

She told Lunchtime Live she feels that she is being discriminated against.

"All my colleagues were working and they're getting the COVID [PUP] and I'm not.

"That's great for them, and I just think I'm working as well and I should be entitled to [it].

"I don't want €350, I wouldn't want that at all, but even my part-time earnings - even if I got some of that - but I get nothing and I think that's discrimination, I really do".

She said she is "very happy" with her pension, but that "I paid all my life into my pension and I was entitled to that".

"I'm still working, I have to get up at 5.30 in the morning so I'm in work at 7.00, I work until 11.00 or whenever - it varies other days.

"But Leo [Varadkar] said 'If you get up out of your bed to go to work, you're entitled to this, that and the other'

"And I just thought 'Well, I think I'm entitled to something from the Government because I'm still working and I still pay my taxes'".

"It's just to realise that when you're 66 you still contribute to the Exchequer... and I think a little something.

"I certainly wouldn't envisage anything like €350, but I feel even if I had got what my wage was or even something underneath that.

"Schoolkids are going in and getting it when they haven't worked really that much".

'I think that's discrimination' - What should you do if you're denied the PUP?

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Eoin told Lunchtime Live there seems to be an issue about 'doubling up'.

"First of all I understand completely why she's annoyed.

"She's been paying her own PRSI, her taxes all the way through her career I'm sure - and now she's getting to a point where maybe she's working because she wants to and she enjoys the getting up and going out to work thing, or maybe she's working because she needs to.

"It doesn't really matter - the point is she's down income now.

"I think the rationale [is] there's been a lot of questioning on this within the Dáil and questions being put to the minister about why - there was lots of suggestions that it might change for over 66-year-olds.

"I think the concern is is that it could be potentially be a double up on social welfare payments: that you're getting your Old Age Pension and you're getting this."

"But I also think what you need to look at there is if she - or anybody out there over the age of 66 - or any age in fact doesn't qualify for a PUP payment or a COVID payment for some reason or another: please remember that social welfare existed before COVID existed and it will exist after COVID existed.

"If you're in financial hardship, go into your local Intreo office - or contact them - explain your situation [as] there are other supports other than COVID-related that are out there.

"They will look at your case, there are people very skilled in those offices that can look at your particular circumstances and see if there's something else.

"Nobody wants you, particularly these couple of weeks before Christmas, suffering financial hardship - and there are other supports available".

Main image: Photo shows social welfare offices on Thomas Street in Dublin | Image: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

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