Topical Issue on Carers’ Allowance & Benefit

29th May, 2012

Delays in the processing of social welfare payments form a large part of my constituency workload. TOver recent weeks, I have received many calls and emails from carers’ concerned about the inordinate delay in the processing of their carers’ allowance and carers’ benefit applications.

Following a reply I received from the Minister for Social Protection which stated that nearly 8,000 applications were pending a decision, I submitted a request to the Ceann Comhairle asking for the Minister to update the Dail on her Department’s plans to speed up the processing of applications. I emphasised to Minister Burton the last thing carers’ need is to worry about when their application will finally be processed as they already have enough to worry about. In response to my enquiries, Minister for the Social Protection informed me that her Department are taking all steps necessary to reduce the waiting period to less than 28 weeks. Indeed, additional staff is now being transferred to the Carers’ Allowance & Benefit section to ensure the current backlog is cut and that those caring for loved ones and entitled to such assistance, get it as quickly as possible!

I emphasised that it is really important that we do this. I have seen clear improvements in the handling of medical card applications and an improvement in processing times. The same needs to be done in relation to these payments too.