A review of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) scheme has found almost one in 10 people who claimed the payment were ineligible.
As reported by The Irish Times, approximately 20,000 people have now been called to attend an interview at a social welfare office to determine the details of their claim.
The report by the Comptroller and Auditor General found just under half of a sample of cases taken were found to have been ineligible claims.
To date, almost €9 billion has been paid as part of the PUP scheme after it was introduced in the early weeks on the pandemic.
Following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions and the reopening of the economy, just over 100,000 remain in receipt of the payment.
As part of a review of more than 70,000 claims last year, 22,800 payments were cut off and Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said claims continue to be checked on an ongoing basis.
The Comptroller and Auditor General found approximately one quarter of claimants assessed as part of the review had not been working prior to the pandemic, while a further quarter had returned to work without ending their claim.
Following a question in the Dáil from Independent TD Cathal Berry regarding how money from ineligible claims would be recouped, Ms Humphreys said: "If we find people who knowingly abused the PUP, we will apply the full rigours of the law against them."
The Minister added that Gardaí had already acted on a number of cases.