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Social Welfare apologise as more than a thousand payments are delayed

Social Welfare apologise as more than a thousand payments are delayed

The Department of Social Protection have apologised on Twitter to over a thousand mothers who have had their Maternity Benefit claims delayed.

The apology comes a day after Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar said he was still trying to get an answer regarding the delays.

In a statement posted on Welfare.ie today the Department acknowledged that there have been delays since February and that at present "there are over 2,850 claims for maternity benefit waiting to be processed and around 1,300 of these represent women who have already commenced their maternity leave".

The Department also admits that some mothers may be on maternity leave for up to four weeks before the benefit will be paid.

They state that the delays are due to "a combination of staffing and operational issues" in the Buncrana office that process these claims. 

To resolve the matter the Department says they have assigned six extra staff to work on the claims and they are prioritising the claims by date.

They also ask that anyone who is due to apply for Maternity Benefit should do so online at www.mywelfare.ie as these will be processed much faster than the standard six weeks it takes for a paper application.

Maternity Benefit is a weekly payment of €235 and is paid for 26 weeks to mothers who qualify for the benefit.