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Please note the information below is based on government guidelines and information circulated on or before 27th of March 2020. It is not intended as, and should not be considered as legal advice. The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland disclaims any legal responsibility for the content or the accuracy of the information provided; MRCI is not a practicing law centre.
MRCI is a national charitable organisation working for justice, empowerment, and equality for migrants and their families. Our services are free, safe and confidential. We are an independent non-governmental organisation, and we do not represent or work for any government or state agency.

If I am undocumented and I lost my job or had been laid- off due to Covid-19 can I apply for Pandemic Unemployment Payment?

COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment 

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has confirmed that this payment is available irrespective of immigration status to:

  • Employees and self-employed people who lost their job or have been laid off due to the COVID-19
  • Employees and self-employed people who have a valid PPSN number

The payment also applies if you are :

  • a non-EU/EEA workers who have lost employment due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic irrespective of immigration status
  • a student (and non-EU/EEA students, stamp 2 and stamp 1g) who have lost employment due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic

BUT: If you voluntarily left your employment or self-employment or did not meet the above criteria, you cannot claim the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

Payment is made by electronic transfer (e.g. into your bank or credit union account) and only into accounts held in Irish financial institutions. Those applying on or after 8th April can also choose to collect their payment in a post office. They can nominate their local post office when applying online and they will need to bring a form of ID with them when collecting their payment at the post office. Payments will be made into a bank/credit union account or to a nominated post office every Tuesday once an application is processed.

You can apply by post or online via To apply online there is no need to have a valid Public Service Card, but you need to have a PPS number and email address. All you need to apply for the service is a basic MyGovID account. There are no appointments or anything for this. All you need is an email address and it only takes 2 minutes to sign up.

To download the form and learn more please go here:

If I am undocumented and never worked in the State but can’t find work now due to Covid-19, is there any payment I can apply for?

To avail of any social welfare payments, you need to have a PPS number first. If you have a valid PPS number and you are in the financial hardship, you can try to apply for an Exceptional Needs Payment or Urgent Needs Payment. The Pandemic Emergency Payment is NOT available to you.

An Urgent Needs Payment (UNP) is a once-off payment made to persons who have an urgent need which they cannot meet from their own resources or an alternative is not available right now.

Examples of this would be to meet immediate needs, such as food, essential goods, clothing or shelter in the aftermath of a fire, flood or other emergency events.

An Exceptional Needs Payment (ENP) is a single payment to help meet essential, once-off, exceptional expenditure, which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income.

For example, the payment can be for bedding, funeral costs or for clothing in exceptional circumstances.

Both payments are administered by the Community Welfare Service (CWS) of the Department and are discretionary. Each case to be reviewed individually and there is no automatic right to the payment.

You can apply for any of these payments by post or by attending local community welfare office in person.

To apply by post:

  1. 1. Download the Supplementary Welfare Form online following this link:  

  1. Fill in the form and send it by post to your local Community Welfare Officer.

To find your local community welfare office, please go here:

Tip: In the “PART 10 OTHER INFORMATION” state what type of assistance you are looking for Exceptional Needs Payment or Urgent Needs Payment and why. You should attach an explanation about your current financial and family situation.

  1. To help process your claim, you should include the following if available:

⦁ Personal Public Service (PPS) numbers for yourself, your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant and your children

⦁ proof of address (any bill, tenancy agreement, bank statement, tax documents or any official document in your name)

⦁ proof of identity, for example, a Public Services Card (if you have one), a passport, driving licence, National ID, birth certificate etc.

⦁ documents to show your income and financial situation, like a bank statement

To learn more about Exceptional Needs Payment, please go here:

To learn more about Urgent Needs Payment, please go here:

Are there any risks attached when applying for social welfare payments during Covid-19 pandemic for undocumented people?


The Irish Government has confirmed to MRCI that all people – documented or undocumented – can apply for hardship payments and access information from social welfare services free from fear during COVID19. You will need to give the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) personal information to apply for hardship payments. These services will not share your information with the Department of Justice and Equality during COVID19. It is safe to apply.

However, MRCI has seen examples of some individual cases where payments have been refused based on their immigration status. In these circumstances, MRCI asks you to feedback your experience to us directly.

Are there any measures or repercussions Department of Justice might take on people’s permission to remain applications if they apply for social assistance during Covid-19 Pandemic?

The Department of Justice confirmed and published an official statement in their FAQs on their website that “pragmatic approach” will be taken on applications where people claimed social assistance during Pandemic. For more information please go here:[3].pdf/Files/Immigration-Service-Delivery-Covid-19-FAQ[3].pdf

See Disclaimer above.