Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West Michael Moynihan says greater efforts need to be made to bring down high waiting times for Carer’s Allowance. He recently received correspondence from Minister Regina Doherty which reveals an average of a 12-week waiting time to process an application.

Deputy Moynihan said, “This is Carer’s Week, however the latest figures from the Department, while showing an improvement, still leave people waiting an unacceptably long time for a decision on their application. Carers play an essential role in our wider healthcare system and save the State substantial sums of money by providing services to loved ones in their own homes. However, Fine Gael are not treating carers with the respect and dignity they deserve.

“The current waiting times for processing are simply too long. It’s deeply unfair to expect carers to wait three months to find out if they are eligible for the Carer’s Allowance. Families across North Cork are being put in an extremely difficult situation – they are already undertaking caring duties but are not receiving any payments. These are families with everyday bills to pay – and they are becoming increasingly worried that they will not have the means to meet them.

“These carers are taking time out of work to look after for vulnerable and sick relatives and won’t have a steady income. Many of them will be depending on the approval of this allowance to ease the financial burden imposed by being a primary carer.

“While I appreciate that efforts have been made to reduce the waiting times, the measures being taken are not going far enough. Adequate resources must be made available to ensure that these applications are processed in a timely manner”, concluded Deputy Moynihan.