The Minister for Social Protection faced questions from Donegal TD Thomas Pringle over recent delays in Illness Benefit payments which are leaving Donegal people out of pocket.
It is not known how many people are impacted by the payments problem which has left some people without benefits in the week before Christmas. Other customers reported haphazard payments of differing amounts on various days of the week and not being able to call the Department helpline when they sought information.
Independent TD Pringle confronted Minister Regina Doherty in the Dáil to query the issues and ask the government what is being done about the delays, following the technological upgrade of their Illness Benefit system.
Deputy Pringle had raised the issue a number of weeks ago in the Dáil but has claimed delays still persist despite the Minister previously committing to resolving the issue.
Deputy Pringle said “It’s clear Departmental issues have not been resolved yet the Minister fails to admit this is the case.
“The Minister has also failed to commit on the record that compensation will be provided to those who were financially affected by the mistakes carried out by her Department.
“Now before the Dáil breaks out for the holidays, is the time when constituents should be reassured that financial compensation will be coming their way. I know people still dealing with the debt they got into when their payments were delayed for months on end. I know someone who still hasn’t been paid since August.
“It’s unbelievable that the Minister claims delays are now at normal levels because they’re not. I don’t know where the Minister is getting her information but I can tell her that from our end and from what other TDs have told me, delays have still not been fully resolved.
“We could be dealing with more important issues than Departmental delays. I should not have to send every person’s PPS number directly to the Minister for them to receive the payment their entitled to. The system should be working so that we don’t need to do this.
Pringle said he will continue to call for compensation for individuals affected by difficulties.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has apologised for the payment issues arising from the changeover to a new IT system. Tánaiste Simon Coveney said the Department of Social Protection is working to resolve the issues and no affected customers will be losing out.