Under pressure staff are managing to process just 1,000 applications per day, meaning it could be months before many people actually get the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Grant.
Most schools start back next week – meaning many children won’t get the grant in time to buy uniforms.
One insider told donegaldaily.com: “We just don’t have the staff to cope. It could be October before this is all sorted out.”
We understand that application forms only started arriving at the start of July.
It’s understood that Department’s offices have been accepting applications for more than seven weeks, but staff are only getting through the second week’s applications now.
Citizens’ Information offices around the country are telling parents that they should not directly contact the Department, lodging queries about the status of their application, until at least eight weeks after their application has been submitted.
Parents qualifying for the allowance are entitled to receive €200 for children aged 11 and under, and €305 for children between 12 and 22, to cover the costs of clothing their children for school.
More than 127,000 families qualified for the grant automatically because of their circumstances. The other 66,000 families are from people who did not automatically qualify.
The Department has assigned €82m for the payment this year, an increase on last year’s allocation of €77.
The insider added: “The HSE did this last year and they got extra staff; we’re struggling to cope with the backlog because there aren’t enough people here.”Tags: