Sick pay delay ‘down to move to new system’

Thousands of people face delay in sick pay, causing unnecessary suffering, the Government has been warned.

Fianna Fáil’s welfare spokesman Willie O’Dea has urged Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty to intervene and ensure that every citizen entitled to illness benefit gets their full payment on time.

“The issues related to disagreements between GPs and the department are well documented over filling out of new forms. Now we are told the problems are down to computer software difficulties,” Mr O’Dea said.

A Government spokesman said the problems arose from moving to a new system where benefits were paid for the current week. This was a change from the old system that paid benefits a week in arrears.

He acknowledged that there were technical problems that led to a backlog and people either being paid too much or too little, but insisted there were moves to correct these and everybody would get their entitlements and could apply for supplementary welfare in cases of hardship.

Mr O’Dea said the money was a welfare entitlement based on PRSI.

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