Coronavirus social welfare payment extended

elacsaplau

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It looks like this payment will be extended until the end of Aug with those "earning" less than €200 a week getting a lower payment.

How are such earnings defined? I know someone who earned €300 the second last week before the lockdown and €190 the week immediately preceding the lockdown?
 

Sunny

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I think there will always be problems. We will now have a problem that someone earning €195 a week will get €203 while someone earning €205 a week will get €350 a week. That's not fair.
 

Purple

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Why didn't they just have a declaration of income on the form? That way people earning less than €350 could have stated it. The majority of people would have been honest and the authorities could have gone after the cheats at their leasure late.
 

Dinarius

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I'm self-employed - sole trader, no employees. Most of my work is in the museum/gallery areas, none of which have reopened yet. (I think they reopen in the next phase.) I presume I can continue to claim the payment. Or am I meant to stop it and be looking for work in other sectors?

Thanks.

D.
 

PatrickJ

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I am also self employed; indirectly affiliated to the construction/estate agent industry. I have so many questions but cannot get clear answers:

1. Can you still receive covid payment and continue to rent a room in your property?
2. I provide assistance to a sector that has not returned to work. There has been no date given for when this sector will return to work but like the previous poster I wonder should I close my business and begin looking for work elsewhere?
3. Is the covid payment taxable for the self employed?
4. When my sector gets the green light to begin work do I automatically de-register for this payment even if I am unlikely to generate income for a period of time?

I have never claimed state benefits so like everyone else this is a whole new world for me.
 

lughildanach

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I'm self-employed - sole trader, no employees. Most of my work is in the museum/gallery areas, none of which have reopened yet. (I think they reopen in the next phase.) I presume I can continue to claim the payment. Or am I meant to stop it and be looking for work in other sectors?

Thanks.

D.
There is no conditionality to the PUP payment in relation to looking for other work. There was talk about introducing it, so I wouldn't rule it out. I would keep an eye out for other opportunities, and continue to claim the payment until you find some sort of work again.
 

Dinarius

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Thanks.

Very muddy waters, but for those paying it as much as us receiving it.

D.
 

lughildanach

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I am also self employed; indirectly affiliated to the construction/estate agent industry. I have so many questions but cannot get clear answers:

1. Can you still receive covid payment and continue to rent a room in your property?
2. I provide assistance to a sector that has not returned to work. There has been no date given for when this sector will return to work but like the previous poster I wonder should I close my business and begin looking for work elsewhere?
3. Is the covid payment taxable for the self employed?
4. When my sector gets the green light to begin work do I automatically de-register for this payment even if I am unlikely to generate income for a period of time?

I have never claimed state benefits so like everyone else this is a whole new world for me.
1. There is no clear guidance on this. However, the conditions of the payment for the self-employed talk about you being eligible if your work has reduced to the point where you could accept other full-time work if it was available. With this logic, your property income would not be relevant. However, how this and other unearned income affect entitlement are not dealt with in the published information.
2. Of course you can close your business if you want, but there is no need to. It would seem a bit early to be doing that, unless it was clear to you that you will not re-open.
3. Yes, the payment is taxable. There has been no indication that it will subject to PRSI, although that may change, so maybe not a bad idea to hold back 4% for that. Its unlikely that it will be chargeable to USC, but again, you never know how things might change.
4. Given the above logic, once you have work again (even if there will be a lag in being paid for it), you would have to close your claim. If your income was below the social welfare rate in the interim period, you may be able to claim a Supplementary Welfare Allowance payment to supplement your income. Or you could contact the Department and seek guidance about continuing your PUP payment. If enough people contact them with this position, they may be prepared to amend their guidance.
 

Dinarius

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As fate would have it, I have just now received an email from a potential customer based in Switzerland about a job which would take half a day. They want it done next week. It's a racing certainty I will never work for them again. Meanwhile, there is nothing else on the horizon work-wise with regular clients, because they're all closed.

So, I presume that if I accept this half-a-day, I am out of the Covid payment, which I couldn't live without. I haven't had work since February.

Guess I'll just tell them to look elsewhere.

D.
 

Baby boomer

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As fate would have it, I have just now received an email from a potential customer based in Switzerland about a job which would take half a day. They want it done next week. It's a racing certainty I will never work for them again. Meanwhile, there is nothing else on the horizon work-wise with regular clients, because they're all closed.

So, I presume that if I accept this half-a-day, I am out of the Covid payment, which I couldn't live without. I haven't had work since February.

Guess I'll just tell them to look elsewhere.

D.
I don't think that's the case at all. This is a non-statutory scheme (no definition in law) so the rules are whatever the DEASP advertises them to be. And they say that if "your work has reduced to the point where you could accept other full-time work if it was available" you are eligible.
In fairness, it would be hard to claim that accepting a half days work, on a once off basis, would disqualify you. You could easily do the one-off job in your spare time.
 

lughildanach

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I don't think that's the case at all. This is a non-statutory scheme (no definition in law) so the rules are whatever the DEASP advertises them to be. And they say that if "your work has reduced to the point where you could accept other full-time work if it was available" you are eligible.
In fairness, it would be hard to claim that accepting a half days work, on a once off basis, would disqualify you. You could easily do the one-off job in your spare time.
I would agree. But it is a matter of interpretation. If someone wanted to keep themselves 100% right on this and avoid any possible overpayment situation in the future, they should seek clarification from the Department (although I wouldn't count on any positive confirmation either way from them)

If someone feels comfortable standing over a decision to maintain their claim in light of the published information thats fair enough. Some people are more cautious than others. Certainly the money will be easier to repay later if it turns out that it has been received in error than getting the payment back. And it seems a shame to turn away work (that's the exact opposite of the intention of the scheme).

Certainly for employed people the guidance is clear, once you have any PAYE income, the claim must be closed. For the self employed, there is a significant grey area there.
 
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PatrickJ

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I received correspondence this morning from Welfare.ie seeking proof of my self employment status. I have been trying to upload this information however the system keeps saying:
You will need a Public Services Card (PSC) to complete your verification

I don't have a PSC so how can I ensure my information is swiftly forwarded to the department?
 

lughildanach

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If you do not have a verified mygovid or welfare.ie account, then the information may not be available. There are no appointments to get a PSC at the minute, so you won't be able to get a card at this stage.

Do you have a separate Revenue online account (eg. My Account or ROS)? The Revenue accounts do not require a PSC.

Are you registered for Self-Assessment with Revenue?
 

PatrickJ

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Thank you Lughildanach. Yes, I have a ROS account. I have an accountant who files income tax returns for me via ROS.

I have until the 24th of this month to provide information that I am self employed otherwise may payment may be impacted.
 

lughildanach

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If you are on ROS, you should be able to access your latest tax assessment there. If you can't access it yourself, then ask your accountant for a copy.

If the assessment shows a profit of less than 200/week, then your COVID payment will likely be reduced to the 203 euro rate. If this is the case, and if you can show that your profit has increased to above 200/week, you should gather the information about your income in 2019 and in January/February 2020 and send it to them. I haven't seen any guidance yet on how they will approach the issue.
 
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ATC110

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If the assessment shows a profit of less than 200/week, then your COVID payment will likely be reduced to the 203 euro rate.
By "profit" is it gross profit - the "Amount of income or profits arising for this period" under Schedule D income?
 

lughildanach

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By "profit" is it gross profit - the "Amount of income or profits arising for this period" under Schedule D income?
They haven't published details yet. The information available on the assessment process is very scant.

The usual way of assessing self-employed income for means test is gross profits minus PRSI contributions, but other income (including income from non-taxable sources is also counted), but this is not a means test.

There is nowhere else in the social welfare system where self-employed income from a relevant year is referenced to determine the underlying rate of payment, so there is no direct precedent. In payments where employee income in the relevant year is referenced, it is gross earnings before any deductions.
 
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lughildanach

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It is going to be very difficult to get an exact equivalence between PAYE and Self Employed. It is going to get much more complicated, and take much more resources to assess the various anomolies that the new system will throw up. Given that the scheme is only likely going to last a few weeks, it seems like an awful lot of work involved and will add to delays across the social welfare system as people are diverted to this task.

I wouldn't count on a further extension in August (although you never know), and people would need to start preparing for the distinct possibility that come 10th August that we will be back on the normal Jobseekers rules. These throw up just as many difficulties, but at least we know what the rules are.
 
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