22 May 2022

Lack of face-to-face meetings should not block welfare payments during Covid-19 emergency says Laois Offaly TD

Sean Fleming

Sean Fleming TD and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee in the Dáil.

Fianna Fáil TD for Laois-Offaly, Seán Fleming, has sought clarity from the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection that applications for certain social welfare payments will not be delayed as a result of the need for a face-to-face interview as part of a means test.

Dep Fleming said that in these specific cases, a temporary payment should be issued automatically, which can be reviewed when the current social distancing restrictions have been removed.

“It’s important to remember that despite the current COVID-19 crisis there are still people who need to apply for other social welfare payments.

“In applying for certain payments, for example, the supplementary welfare allowance, job seekers allowance, the state non-contributory pension and disability allowance, there is often a necessity for a face-to-face interview as part of the means test.

“These rules have not changed. However, in the current circumstances, it is impossible for a Social Welfare official to meet with applicants face-to-face or visit their homes.

“This should not result in a person’s social welfare application being delayed and I believe that in these circumstances the application should be granted without the face-to-face interview taking place - this could then be reviewed at a later date.

“In these financially uncertain times there can be no long delays in getting social welfare payments to those who need it most,” concluded Dep Fleming.

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