14 May 2020
By Bryan Smyth
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central Padraig O’Sullivan is calling on the Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection to outline a timeline for the payment of arrears for the COVID-19 pandemic unemployment payment.
Deputy O’Sullivan says he has been contacted by a number of people who still haven’t received their initial payments despite having their application processed and approved.
He explained, “People applying for the COVID-19 pandemic unemployment payment have lost their jobs as a result of the restrictions arising from the virus outbreak and have no other source of income. Despite this the bills are still coming in and many expected that the payment would be processed and approved in a timely manner. However, I have had a number of people calling me worried that their first payments have been delayed because of administrative issues within the Department.
“One of my constituents received notification that his application had been processed and paid but he hadn’t received payment and it subsequently emerged that the Department had processed incorrect IBAN number. He then submitted a new application online and is now receiving the payment but is still waiting on the arrears for the first five weeks to be paid.
“This is an extremely stressful time for people, especially when their income is substantially reduced. The fact that they are still waiting on five weeks’ payment is a source of major frustration. The current situation is already emotionally and mentally taxing, without the added financial worry.
“I appreciate the fact that the Department is dealing with an unprecedented level of applications, however, the people affected by these arrears backlogs feel very vulnerable.
“I have submitted a Parliamentary Question asking Minister Doherty to provide a timeline for the arrears payments. People realise the volume of applications that are being dealt with, but I believe that if they had a rough outline as to when they could expect to be paid their arrears, it would go some way to easing their stress”, concluded Deputy O’Sullivan.