High-Risk People in Catch-22 during COVID-19

Issued on June 3 2020

People at high risk from COVID-19 are being put in an impossible situation when official advice tells them to stay home to protect their health, yet they must go back to work to support themselves.

Some people with disabilities are being told to continue to cocoon. To not even go to the shops. But they may have to return to work in places such as shops.

This Catch-22 was highlighted in a joint submission to the NPHET Vulnerable Subgroup by the Disability Federation of Ireland, Muscular Dystrophy Ireland and Cystic Fibrosis Ireland on 3rd June 2020. DFI represents the sector on NPHET.

Our submission details social protection issues during COVID-19 for high risk individuals and their families. The official advice to high risk people remains to stay home and cocoon. This may remain the situation for many more months, or even longer. Yet the Pandemic Unemployment Payment or PUP has no provision in place to financially support this category of worker.

The current advice says that high risk individuals will no longer receive the PUP once their workplace reopens. This is at odds with public health advice. The dots need to be joined between public health advice and social protection provision.

Economic supports must be put in place to support high risk individuals to continue to follow public health advice and stay at home until that official advice changes.

Download Full Submission to NPHET