The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has apologised to those affected by delays in the payment of illness benefit due to the implementation of a new online system.
A new online GP certification system was introduced on August 6 to replace the previous forms for certification of the Department’s illness and injury benefit schemes.
The new illness benefit certificates and claim forms are now scannable by the Department, which says some GPs have continued to use the old forms after the changeover date. This had led to some recipients of the benefit not receiving payment.
"Any person affected by a delay in their payment, and who is in need of financial assistance, is asked to contact their local Community Welfare Service at their local Intreo Centre," the Department said in a statement.
"Our Community Welfare staff are aware of the payment delays and are already assisting customers affected.
"Customers who are unable to travel, by reason of illness or injury can contact their local Intreo Centre by phone and ask to speak with their Community Welfare Officer, who can make arrangement to assist them.
"The Department sincerely apologises to our customers for the impact of payment delays and is doing all it can to bring payments up to date as quickly as possible.
It is expected that most payments will be up to date, including arrears due, by the middle of this week."
To date, the Department has continued to accept the old forms where provided to facilitate the continued payment of illness and injury benefit but warns it will not be in a position to accept the old forms indefinitely.
The introduction of new forms is designed to improve the administration of the certification process and to make illness and injury benefit claim and payment procedures more efficient.
The Department said the new system is working very efficiently for GPs already using the new forms and their patients are being paid their illness and injury benefits without delay.
The Department is requesting that any GPs, who are not already using the new forms to commence immediately.
They advise that payment delays will continue for our customers where old forms are used by GPs.
On an annual basis, the Department pays GPs approximately €18m in respect of certifications for illness and injury schemes.