Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs & Social Protection John Brady TD has raised concern that delays in the processing of the Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance will force parents into taking out high interest risky loans.
Teachta Brady said:
“I have been contacted by parents in absolute panic at the fact that they are yet to receive the Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance payment.
“We are just over two weeks away from back to school and parents are struggling with the enormous costs involved.
“I have been informed that the call centre dealing with the payment will be closed this week and next week. The processing team are currently dealing with applications received on July 6th and they are in the middle of manually processing up to 50,000 applications.
“Parents have no idea what is going on within the Department and they have no idea when they will receive their payment. The only option being left to them is to seek high interest and high risk loans.
“I contacted Minister Doherty to seek clarity as to the current situation with the processing of these payments last week and I am yet to receive a response.
“I am calling on her to deal with what is a crisis for struggling parents as we approach the start of the new school year.
“There is no excuse for delays to these payments, this is the busiest time of year for parents, the Minister knew this and clearly failed to put the necessary resources in place on time.