Phased approach to see jobseeker claims processed in post offices from next month
Supporting Post Office Network a key commitment under ‘Our Rural Future’
The Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD, has today announced that jobseeker payments will return to the post office in line with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
The changes will apply initially to all new jobseeker applicants before being extended to other jobseekers over the coming months.
When public health restrictions were introduced in 2020, people in receipt of social welfare were given the option of being paid into a bank account.
This was an exceptional measure to help reduce the spread of the virus and ensure people could comply with social distancing guidelines.
But following consultation with An Post and the Irish Postmaster’s Union (IPU), Minister Humphreys has today announced that jobseeker payments will now return to the post office.
Such a move, according to the Minister, will bring additional footfall to post offices, as well as helping to combat social welfare fraud.
Minister Humphreys made the announcement during a visit to St Andrew’s Street Post Office in Dublin’s South Inner City.
In making the announcement, Minister Humphreys said:
“I’m acutely conscious of the challenges that are facing the Post Office network.
“That’s why I’m delighted to announce the return of jobseeker payments to post offices, reflecting the arrangements that were in place pre-Pandemic.
“This is a measure that I know the Irish Postmasters Union and An Post have been calling for.
“Our post offices provide essential services in communities the length and breadth of the country.
“Even throughout the Pandemic, our postmasters, postmistresses and postal staff pulled out all the stops to meet the needs of their customers.
“I believe this is the right approach to take in terms of supporting the post office network and helping to reduce social welfare fraud.”
The Minister continued:
“The requirement to physically visit your local post office in order to collect your jobseeker payment will apply initially to new claims, beginning next month.
“But over the coming months, my Department will work to extend this requirement to other jobseeker claims.
“I’m also conscious that as Minister for Rural and Community Development, we need to do all we can to support our post offices in Rural Ireland, as per our commitment under the Government’s rural development policy ‘Our Rural Future’.
“This measure will increase the footfall in our post offices in communities across the country – sending a clear signal of Government’s commitment to supporting the network as a whole.”
Welcoming today’s announcement, Managing Director of An Post, Debbie Byrne, said:
“An Post welcomes this announcement which puts the post office back at the centre of the Jobseeker payment system. This is a perfect example of the practical benefit of using the post office network in the provision of Government services to local communities. It also offers a welcome return to normality for Postmasters and post office customers.
“We look forward to the publication of the Interdepartmental Working Group and to working with Government to maximise the use of the network to benefit customers and the communities we serve.”
Minister Humphreys said that the Department of Social Protection will continue to contribute to supporting our Post Office Network through the Interdepartmental Group, which was set up by her Cabinet colleague, Minister Hildegarde Naughton.
The Minister added:
“While responsibility for An Post is outside the remit of the Department of Social Protection, I can assure you that my Department is committed to engage as appropriate on any recommendations proposed by the Interdepartmental Working tasked with supporting the network as a whole.”
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