Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Seán Fleming has said he is very concerned that the new system for processing claims for Family Income Supplement is pushing thousands of applicants who are need of support to the back of the queue.

Information received by Deputy Fleming through Parliamentary Questions to Minister Joan Burton has revealed a significant backlog in applications for the Family Income Supplement (FIS) for both new and renewed claims.  The figures also reveal that late applications are being processed quicker than those submitted before the deadline of November 5th imposed by the department.

Deputy Fleming said: “Figures provided to me by Minister Burton show there were approximately 7,400 new FIS applications at the start of November and 7,800 renewal applications for the payment that were awaiting approval.  While new applications are being processed quicker by the department, the Minister has confirmed to me that she expects it will be the end of March before the backlog of claims is cleared. This means that thousands of vulnerable families will be waiting several more months for the support they need.

“The main issue arising from these figures is that people who made their applications before the Minister implemented the November 5th cut-off are being left to wait even longer than those who submitted their application after that date.  This is hardly fair.  I am calling on Minister Burton to explain why this approach has been taken and to address this anomaly as a matter of urgency.  Families in need of this support do not have the luxury of waiting for weeks on end while the department works on the backlog.”