Sinn Fein Cllr. Thomas Gould is concerned about the delay
in payments of the Back to School Allowance. Cllr. Gould contacted the
HSE and was told that it may take up to 8 weeks to process
applications. This, according to Cllr. Gould is far too long and he
fears that it will force people into unnecessary debt trying to pay for
uniforms, shoes, etc. as it means some applicants will not receive any
money until October.
confirmed that they are unable to cope with the volume of Back To
School Clothing and Footware Allowance applications they have received.
They have also said that many applicants will not receive the payment
until after the new school term starts. This allowance scheme was
previously administered by local Community Welfare Officers but this
year it was taken over directly by the HSE. Cllr. Gould said that
especially now in a time of recession that it is the most vulnerable
people who are once again being hit the hardest.
calls on the HSE to resolve the issue immediately so that it stops
parents experiencing unnecessary pressure on what is already a very
stressful time. He also calls on the HSE to employ additional staff to
help clear the backlog of in excess of 17,000 claims. Cllr. Gould also
wishes to support Barnardos CEO Fergus Finlay’s call on the government
to help parents meet the cost of sending children back to school.