Responding to the recent revelation by the Department of Social Protection that almost 3,000 public sector workers are dependent on Family Income Supplement, Sinn Féin Cllr Thérèse Ruane, has warned that Irish society is becoming more polarised and unequal by the day. She also recommends that people check out their eligibility for family income support top-up payments as more than €100,000 remains unclaimed.
“It’s a crazy situation where 2,855 public sector workers are so poor they have to rely on Family Income Supplement (FIS ) to survive and make ends meet. The pubic servants we’re talking about here include road workers, ambulance drivers, home helps, fire fighters, etc all employed by our councils, the HSE and other State bodies. According to the Department of Social Protection’s own figures, there are 2,855 public servants availing of the FIS scheme, representing 11 per cent of 27,000 overall beneficiaries.
“There is something wrong when public servants go out to work every day, earn a weekly wage and yet are so poor, they have to depend on State handouts to survive. The income gap is colossal in our public sector and widening every day; inequality is increasing in our society. Some of the elite in our public sectors earn hundreds of thousands of euro while others are forced to depend on State handouts, it’s a disgrace.”
Ms Ruane added that over €100 million in family income supports remain unclaimed by thousands of workers in the public and private sectors.
“I would encourage anyone who thinks they may be eligible to apply. It’s a case of qualifying or not; there are clear criteria and you and your family may be eligible for family income support which will go a long way in paying bills, putting food on the table for you and your family. Anyone can check out their eligibility by completing a FIS form and sending it to the Family Income Section of the Department of Social Protection. Pick up a form in your local social welfare office or local Citizen Information Centre. I’d really encourage people to make an application if they think they may be eligible.”