3.9.09 - Cllr. Gould Slams the HSE over Backlog Of Back To School Allowance Applications

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.

The HSE 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.

Cllr. Gould 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.

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