14 June 2016
By Elaine Murphy
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central Billy Kelleher says the Minister for Social Protection must take urgent action to tackle lengthy waiting times for Carers who have applied to the Department for certain Carers payments. He made the call during National Carers Week.
Deputy Kelleher commented, “Carers play an integral part in our society, looking after loved ones and family members at a substantially reduced cost to the state. Without them our health service would collapse. However, many face a serious financial burden because of substantial delays to their payments.
“Information released to Fianna Fáil has revealed that the average processing times for Carer’s Benefit and Carer’s Allowance is over 18 weeks. Meanwhile, the appeals process could take a further 23 weeks. This means a carer could be waiting more than 9 months before they ever receive a payment. This is completely unacceptable, and is symptomatic of the unfairness perpetrated by Fine Gael in Government.
“This is National Carers Week, and the Government needs to reaffirm its commitment to carers. Instead of stonewalling carers, Minister Varadkar should be ensuring that his Department fully supports and engages with the carer community. These processing delays place additional stress on carers, who are already under immense pressure as a result of their caring roles. Efforts should be made to ease the burden, not exacerbate it. Carers provide an invaluable service to the state so it’s only fair that the Government shows them the respect they deserve.
“Fianna Fáil proposed an increase in the Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Benefit in our manifesto, and I am happy to see that this policy has been adopted in the Programme for Government. Carers are the backbone of our health service and should be given the supports that they need. Minister Varadkar must tackle these lengthy delays in payments as a matter of urgency as well as ensuring that the payments are increased as soon as is possible”, concluded Deputy Kelleher.