Deputy Michael Lowry has expressed grave concerns over the on-going delay in processing and renewing Family Income Supplement Payments in the Department of Social Protection. Further to a Parliamentary Question laid down on this matter last week the Independent T.D. for North Tipperary has learned that families are being forced to wait upwards of 18 weeks before a decision is made on their FIS application and before any payment issues.
Additionally families already in receipt of FIS face a yearly review of this payment and end up being left without any payment, whilst it is in review, for a huge chunk of the year. In many cases families whose FIS is under review wait in excess of 4 months for the payment to be restored. This is placing untold strain on already over burned families who are struggling to make ends meet.
Deputy Lowry explained;
“Family Income Supplement is a weekly tax-free payment available to employees with children. It is designed to give extra financial support and assistance to those who are employed on a low wage and who require some additional support.”
“At the end of August last there was a backlog of 7,137 new applications whilst 7,511 renewals were with the department. In real terms this means that families who are applying for the first time must wait on average 18 weeks for a decision while families seeking a renewal face a wait of 16 weeks.”
“This backlog is wholly unacceptable and serves to place huge additional pressure on these households. Families rely on this payment to tide them over through difficult times and to assist them in keeping their heads above water. Time and time again I meet people in the constituency who are simply desperate for this payment to come through and are relying on it to pay essential bills and to maintain the roof over their family’s head. Being forced to wait 3-4 months for the payment that you are entitled to, during these difficult times, is grossly unacceptable.”