Doherty Challenges Minister on 19 Week Processing Time for Carer’s Allowance as Donegal Carers Go Months without Vital Payment
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has branded the current 19 week average processing times for applications for Carer’s Allowance as a ‘disgrace’ and has demanded that the Minister immediately takes action to reduce the wait faced by applicants seeking the payment.
Deputy Doherty’s comments come following confirmation received last week from the out-going Minister for Social Protection that the average time taken at present by the Department to decide on new applications is running at 19 weeks.
Deputy Doherty said:
“Following increasing reports from Constituents of the lengthy delays they’re experiencing in having their applications for the Carer’s Allowance payment processed, I decided to raise the matter with the out-going Minister.
“In her response, the Minister confirmed that the average length of time which it is now taking to decide on applications is currently running at 19 weeks for new applicants.
“It is simply a disgrace to think that those on low incomes and who are dutifully caring for someone who is in need of their support due to sickness or ill-health is forced to have to wait for almost five months before their application for this crucial entitlement is formally decided on.
“This shameful situation is indicative of how the out-going Government undervalues the work which full-time carers provide to some of the most vulnerable in our society.
“To ask anyone who is carrying out such important and lifesaving work that they have to wait months before they receive a payment is simply not good enough and cannot go unchallenged.
“This week, I will be raising this matter again with the Minister in which I’ll be asking her to outline specifically what measures she plans to put in place to greatly reduce current processing times in respect of the Carer’s Allowance payment which is a vital source of income for carers from across the state.”