TDs for Dublin Mid-West Eoin Ó Broin and Mark Ward have warned that the government is failing people who need emergency social welfare payments, amid severe delays. The party’s spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has obtained information from the Department of Social Protection that shows a majority of emergency payment applications to the Department are taking between 5 and 8 weeks to process. It states that 95% of applications are finalised within 5 to 8 weeks, despite being a payment for urgent needs.
Speaking recently, Teachta Ó Broin said “The current processing times for what are supposed to be emergency payments from the Department of Social Protection are frightening. The idea that a person in an emergency situation seeking urgent financial assistance is left waiting up to two months for a decision is unacceptable and will be leaving people in Dublin Mid-West at risk of poverty. “The Additional Needs Payment has been heavily promoted by government representatives in recent months with people in difficulty being urged to apply for the payment. The public have been assured that the support is there for them through this payment and that they should apply if they are struggling. “In the middle of a severe cost of living crisis, it is shameful of any government to promote a payment to workers and families who are struggling as a safety net for them, without having the resources in place to ensure that the very obvious demand is met and met in a timely fashion.
Teachta Ward said “Sinn Féin’s Social Protection spokesperson Claire Kerrane TD had asked Minister Heather Humphreys months ago to put the payment application online allowing people the option to apply and upload the necessary documentation. The party was assured the suggestion was being examined by Department officials months ago, however nothing has happened. “The demand for this payment is only going to rise here in Dublin Mid-West and across the state. Minister Humphreys must intervene and take immediate action to do whatever is necessary to get the processing times down. She should put the payment online as another option for people and she needs to return Community Welfare Officers to the community so they can be easily accessed by those who need support. Additional staff for processing applications are also clearly needed. “People in Dublin Mid-West are facing a severe cost of living crisis and are struggling to keep on top of their bills. Of course the government cannot do everything but they can do much more than they currently are. The government must ensure that people in Dublin Mid-West get the crucial supports that they need and should be entitled to.”