Friday 20 October 2017

Varadkar struggles to explain away delayed maternity benefit payments

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar Picture: Frank McGrath
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar Picture: Frank McGrath
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has struggled to explain the causes behind delayed maternity benefit payments to more than 1,000 parents.

The minister could only blame "changes in procedure" when questioned about the issue on radio yesterday, adding: "It's still something I'm trying to get a clear answer on myself."

Around 1,300 women who are already on maternity leave have not received any payments.

Asked for more details on the cause behind the delays, the Department of Social Protection last night told the Irish Independent: "As the minister said on 'Morning Ireland', this issue arose due to changes in procedures and other operational issues. These include recruitment issues and implementing a new IT system.

"Corrective action has already been taken including the appointment of six extra staff and additional overtime."

Officials noted that anyone who is currently waiting to have their paper claim processed can get immediate approval and payment on the following Monday if they apply online.

Irish Independent

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