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Social Welfare

Government apologises for backlog in maternity benefit payments

Leo Varadkar said online applications are processed ‘much quicker’ than paperwork.

SOCIAL PROTECTION MINISTER Leo Varadkar has apologised for delays in maternity benefit payments, and promised to ‘bring in more staff’ to deal with the demand.

Last month, reported that some maternity benefit payments due from the Department of Social Protection were backlogged for “a number of months”.

One mother who is due to go on maternity leave in June was told by a department official “it is not possible to give an accurate date of process”.

Some mothers on maternity leave are left with half their normal payments, while others have no income because of the delay.

Speaking on Morning Ireland today, Leo Varadkar said that he’s not sure yet what caused the delay, but said that it wasn’t linked to the introduction of paternity leave payments.

Varadkar said his department would be “bringing in more staff, and providing overtime to staff” to deal with the backlog.

He said that the problem has been going on for a few weeks and “will go on for a few weeks more”.

He asked that people apply for maternity benefits online, as there’s a four to six week-wait for paper applications, while online applications ‘are much quicker’.

He said that people would get their money in arrears, but in the meantime, women who are left with no payments can go to Intreo centre or local branch office and be given ‘supplementary welfare lends or an exceptional needs payment’.

With reporting from Cianan Brennan

Read: Maternity benefit payments in Ireland are backlogged by ‘a number of months’

Read: County breakdown: 10,640 fathers have taken paternity leave since September

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