Cllr Harvey says families in the county are being squeezed by rules which are hitting working parents the hardest.
“This Payment is vital to assist low income family survive, however the terms and conditions are non-sensical and archaic. When one is granted Family Income Supplement they retain the same rate of payment for 52 weeks regardless of increase or decrease in payment,” said the councillor.
She said that if a family’s FIS was calculated at €60 a week and their income via other means has been reduced by €200 due to reduced working hours or changes in other payments, they will not get a review for 52 weeks.
Likewise if your FIS was calculated at €200 a week and your earnings happen to increase by €400 a week you will still retain the same rate of FIS for 52 weeks.
This, said the SF councillor, is crazy.
“Now how this makes sense is beyond me, people’s circumstances change and the FIS payment needs to be able to accommodate changes in family circumstances,” said Cllr Harvey.
“The only change in circumstances that will permit the department to review a FIS payment is if the family have another baby.
“Furthermore, the payment stops automatically after 52 weeks for a review, and there is a delay in the review process. We have had people in our office in Ballybofey who should have been reviewed in November 2011, it is now February and they still have not been reviewed. These people have had no Family Income Supplement since November.
“When you consider this alongside changes in welfare payments this condition really hammers the most vulnerable in society and will be a factor in child poverty. Furthermore in this economic climate were jobs is unstable surely welfare payments are supposed to meet the needs of our people and not serve the system.
“This is totally unacceptable and needs urgent reform, I have asked my colleague Deputy Pearse Doherty to address this issue in the Dail next week and would urge Minister Burton to do the Labour to immediatly make the necessary policy changes.”