Over 13,300 families still waiting for their school allowances
More than 13,300 applications for the back-to-school allowance were still outstanding at the beginning of the new school year despite thousands of children already being back in the classroom.
Figures from the Health Service Executive (HSE) show that while delays for processing the applications were down, in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon the delays were still at six to 10 days.
The counties also had the longest waiting list of 3,000, followed by the HSE Mid-West -- Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary -- where 2,939 applications were outstanding.
The allowance is aimed at helping families meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for children attending school. It operates from June to the end of September.
It is provided as part of the Supplementary Welfare Scheme and is funded by the Department of Social Protection. It is means-tested and the payment can be up to €520.
There were 2,688 outstanding claims in the HSE South-East and 2,600 in Cork and Kerry. In the HSE North-East, 800 applications had to be dealt with, while the Midlands had just 300. Extra staff had to be drafted in to speed up payments in Galway and the Mid-West.
Questioned on the delay, a spokesman for the HSE said the back-to-school clothing and footwear scheme had received over 174,125 applications."
He said 159,848 applications had been processed up to September 3, adding that there were 13,377 outstanding claims, which were being processed "as quickly as possible".