Fianna Fáil TD for Niamh Smyth has called on the Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection to ensure that a resolution is found promptly to the electronic issue with Illness Benefit payments.
This latest issue is as a result of a new automated system, which had been failing to record forms.
Deputy Smyth, “I have hundreds of calls to my offices on this issue. In some cases people aren’t being paid at all. In other cases people are receiving bits of payments. Some of these people are out sick from work for a short period of time with mortgages and bills to pay. One man has told me how he has been penalised in bank charges by his bank for not having money in his account to meet bill commitments due to this technical glitch with the Department.”
“I have spoken with the Department’s staff on their helpline who are doing their best but due to the volume of calls they cannot take care of all cases as quickly as they’d like. I’ve been advised by the Minister that as of the 18th of October 2018, 1,350 people were in receipt of illness benefit in County Cavan; 1,097 people are in receipt of this payment in County Monaghan and 3,415 in County Meath.
“This has been going on since August. Yet those affected only received a letter from the Department outlining what is happening with their money and the introduction of this new system last week. Earlier this summer there was a dispute between GPs and the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection with regard to the relevant forms and now we have a technical glitch which is further delaying these payments. It’s a farcical situation
“I welcome Minister Regina Doherty’s commitment to allocate additional staff to the section but I would also like assurances that there is an end in sight for this issue to be completely rectified. Issues remain this week with people calling my office about no payments being received or a break in their payments. It’s very confusing for people and simply not acceptable. One woman told me she was on the phone for 25 minutes to get answers only to be cut off before receiving any assurances.”
Please find two Parliamentary Questions attached on this matter and memo issued to claimants from Department. IB PQ & Correspondence