The Department of Social Welfare has rejected a claim by Senator Brian O Domhnaill that 40,000 families are still waiting on their Back to School grant.
This is the Department’s response below:
I am responding to your recent article about the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance scheme – ‘40,000 families still waiting on Letterkenny grant decision‘ – and I would like to make the following points.
127,000 households received their payment automatically in respect of over 250,000 children in June of this year, without having to submit an application to the Department of Social Protection.
Manual applications for the scheme have been accepted from the start of July to 6th October and approximately 91,000 manual applications have been received. Of these about 75,000 claims have been processed and 16,000 applications for the scheme remain to be processed.
The timescale for determining applications for Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance claims is dependent on a number of factors including the number of applications received, when the application is sent to the Department and the availability of the required information, for example, details of the applicant’s income, bank statements, etc. In addition, some aspects of the applications are inevitably time consuming and delays can occur where further investigation or third party evidence is required. Delays can also arise if the applicant is slow to respond to requests for additional information.
The Department of Social Protection is making every effort to process applications for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance scheme as quickly as possible. 38 staff were originally provided to process applications. An additional 14 staff were assigned bringing the total staff complement to 52 and overtime is also being worked.
I trust that, in the interest of accuracy, you will make this information available to your readers.
Department of Social Protection
Áras Mhic Dhiarmada