People in Cork who have lost their jobs are having to wait seven weeks for their dole payment applications to be processed.
The delay has been caused by the significant increase in the number of people signing on for dole payments.
The Department of Social Welfare confirmed the delay saying that figures from August show the average processing time for applications at Hanover Quay in Cork was four weeks for the Jobseeker’s Benefit and seven weeks for Jobseeker’s Allowance.
In the past year alone the number of people signing on in Cork city has almost doubled.
The department said they intend to conduct a review of staffing levels at the Cork office in the near future and that in the meantime they have taken a number of measures to deal with the increased workload.
“These include a limited extension of contracts for temporary staff in certain offices, overtime sanction and prioritisation of work at a local level to deal with claim processing,” said a department spokeswoman.
City councillor Catherine Clancy said a significant percentage of all claims in the entire country are dealt with in the Cork office and that the current delay in processing applications was putting a strain on those making claims and their families.
“It is particularly difficult for a person who has already lost their job that they have to wait this long to receive their dole payments,” she said.
“Even at a time when we had practically full employment in this country the office in Cork was understaffed. Extra efforts should be made to clear the backlog and to end the delay,” she added.
In Cork city there are currently 11,575 people claiming the dole, an increase of 46% on the same period last year.
The Department of Social Welfare said people who are waiting for their claim to be decided can seek Supplementary Welfare Allowance from the Health Service Executive and said that when a decision has been made on a claim for a jobseeker payment the payment will be backdated.
Article courtesy of The Evening Echo newspaper