The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is urging people to not attend Intreo centres if at all possible during the coronavirus outbreak.
Instead, it is recommending people download application forms and submit them by post, or as an alternative, apply online via mywelfare.ie.
It comes as new estimates suggest that around 140,000 people nationally have been laid off due to measures taken in relation to the coronavirus outbreak.
The department has introduced a new payment for employees and the self-employed who have lost their jobs due to a downturn in economic activity caused by the pandemic.
Called the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment, it will be paid for a period of six weeks at a flat rate payment of €203 per week. Those applying for the payment are being encouraged to do so online.
“We have simplified the jobseeker application process — introduced a new stripped down application form and will be using this form to implement a flat rate Covid-19 support payment from this week,” a department spokesperson said.
The department said that while Intreo centres were busy yesterday, there were no lengthy delays. A number of other welfare supports have been put in place in the wake of the outbreak including an enhanced illness benefit.
Meanwhile, older people in Cork who are hoping to ask someone to collect their old age pension on their behalf are being urged to complete paperwork to ensure this is possible.
Paddy O’Brien, a well-known campaigner for older people, said there is “quite a bit of anxiety” amongst older people about how they will access their pension. He said people may not realise they will need to go to the post office to get a form to nominate an agent to collect their pension, and said people should do this sooner rather than later.
“We must all help each other,” he said. “People must contact elderly people... Go and make some arrangements that you would be an agent for them.”