Childcare payments delayed for families who don't apply online
The National Childcare Scheme's introduction is to be delayed for some families amid concern about the capacity to manage applications, the Irish Independent understands.
Children's Minister Katherine Zappone will today warn the Cabinet of a number of challenges facing the scheme, which is scheduled to open in October.
Due to technology issues, it has now been decided that no paper-based applications will be accepted until next year.
This means families wanting to sign up to the scheme will have to apply online or wait at least an extra two months to be enrolled. In some cases families could lose out on hundreds of euro.
However, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs expects the "vast majority" of people to apply online.
Help will be provided to parents who don't have internet access through local childcare committees. And it will be possible to apply using a mobile phone.
The National Childcare Scheme (NCS) has a universal payment and means-tested element.
The Government is planning a major awareness campaign ahead of its planned launch in October. The first payments are due to be made in November.