Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea has called on the Government to tackle the lengthy waiting times experienced by carers who are waiting for their payment applications to be processed. Deputy O’Dea made the comments during National Carers Week.
Deputy O’Dea said, “I’ve received new information which shows that the average waiting time for processing applications for the Carer’s Benefit and Carer’s Allowance is over 18 weeks. Meanwhile the average waiting time for processing appeals is an astonishing 23 weeks. Currently an individual could be waiting up to 41 weeks for a final decision to be made on their entitlement to these essential payments. This is grossly unfair.
“Given that it’s National Carers Week the Government needs to refocus its efforts when it comes to providing for carers. They are under immense pressure due to their caring roles and the current waiting times are exacerbating what is already a very stressful situation. Carers provide an invaluable service to the state so it’s only fair that the Government shows them the respect they deserve.
“It’s encouraging to see the Fianna Fáil proposal to increase the Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Benefit contained in the Programme for Government. However the Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar must address the issue of lengthy waiting times for these essential payments,” said Deputy O’Dea.