According to figures obtained by Roscommon/South Leitrim TD, Denis Naughten TD, the waiting time for the Family Income Supplement (FIS) has risen to a staggering 18 weeks for new application, while families seeking to renew their FIS will face a wait of 12 weeks. The FIS is a weekly payment which aims to supplement the income of low paid working parents.
In response to these figures Deputy Naughten explained; “The Family Income Supplement is effectively a top up payment designed to assist families in getting off the dole by taking up low income work. However, due to the current delays, if someone were to take up a qualifying job and apply for the FIS today, they will not get a decision this side of Christmas.”
“Not only will this have an enormous impact on the families involved, but it also represents a significant failing on the part of the government when looked at in terms of their policies towards low and middle income households,” he continued. “On one hand the Government they are encouraging those on the dole to find work, but when they do they are faced with this bureaucratic barrier of the Government’s making. Really, it is no wonder that we have employers saying they cannot find anyone to fill certain posts when we have delays such as these in the processing of a vital supplemental support.”
He noted that while the staff processing the claims are doing their utmost to deal with claims in a sensitive and expeditious manner, “it is clear that the rules governing the scheme and staff resource issues need to be urgently addressed to deal with the backlog of some 15,000 cases”.
“The fact of the matter is these delays are leaving vulnerable working families under increasing financial pressure and facing an uncertain future. The families affected are not asking for special treatment or extra protection, instead they have shown huge dedication by enter the workforce at this time only to be let down by the Departmental bureaucracy” he noted.