Illness Benefit Payments chaos

TD says his office inundated with complaints.

‘No rhyme or reason to the timings of payments.’

Sligo News File.

Payments to people on Illness benefit are being disrupted by the Department of Social Protection.

Eamon Scanlon TD

TD Eamonn Scanlon has said his office is inundated with protests over the situation.

“I have had dozens of complaints from ill and vulnerable people genuinely upset by disruption to their payments. For many, they depend on this money.

“To have such irregular payments is causing a lot of distress…something must be done.”

He said that even when claimants try to contact the department calls are not answered.

“It is alarming that the Illness Benefit department is leaving calls to ring out or not replying to messages.

“In one particular application, a constituent of mine has had ongoing difficulty from Sept 19th when the claim started until February 4th. During this entire time, there has been irregular payments and difficulty from the department.

“I have seen dozens of letters, direct from the applicant and my office, call logs, and other efforts to normalise this particular Illness Benefit payment. This has been a six- month ordeal for my constituent, all the while he is completely entitled to this payment.

“There appears to be no rhyme or reason whatsoever to the timings of payments.” The Minister, he said, “must step in and stop the weekly chaos and uncertainty for Illness Benefit recipients in Sligo-Leitrim.”

Last November, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty reportedly apologised to 5000 people affected by the delays in Illness Benefit payments, saying at the time that issues with her Department’s new IT system had been rectified.