Under pressure: how Covid-19 shook up the social welfare system

Between investigating PUP fraud and unprecedented numbers of new applications, social protection officials have battled a hugely increased workload since the coronavirus crisis began unfolding last March

Heather Humphreys, Minister for Social Protection, is looking at extending the pandemic unemployment payment beyond the end of March due to the likelihood of extended restrictions. Picture: Rollingnews

Last summer, social welfare inspectors decided to pay a visit to a large construction site to check if any workers there were still claiming the pandemic unemployment payment. As they couldn’t do face-to-face meetings, they asked the contractors to supply them with the details of the 1,364 on site that day.

A subsequent check against the Department of Social Welfare’s database showed that 192 were still claiming the PUP in breach of the rules, and ...