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Sinn Féin motion calls on Minister to make benefit advice more accessible, particularly in current economic climate

4 May, 2009 - by Mickey Brady

Sinn Féin MLA and member of the Assembly’s Social Development Committee Mickey Brady has said that DSD Minister Margaret Ritchie should work to ensure that access to employment support allowance is much easier for vulnerable claimants.   Mr Brady was speaking ahead of a debate on a Sinn Féin motion at the Assembly tomorrow (Tuesday).   Speaking this evening Mr Brady said,   “This is an important motion and one that I hope will garner the support of the Assembly and more importantly be acted upon by the Minister.   Access to employment support allowance can be a daunting and intimidating task, particularly for more vulnerable claimants.   I know of numerous instances involving constituents of my own who have found this process to be, at times, a very stressful and problematic experience. I have worked with benefits for over thirty years and can say that the process of accessing employment support allowance is unprecedented in terms of its complexity, the form alone is almost sixty pages long.   In this climate of increasing economic hardship we in Sinn Féin believe it is vital that the Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie ensures that this process is as open and accessible to citizens as is possible.” CRÍOCH   Notes to editors/newsdesks: the Sinn Féin motion reads as follows:   Run / Motion - Employment Support Allowance Molta / Proposed: That this Assembly calls on the Minister for Social Development to make access to employment support allowance easier for vulnerable claimants who have difficulty in understanding the complexities of the benefit and are unable to obtain the relevant information required to claim. [Mr M Brady] [Ms C Ní Chuilín] [Mr F McCann]

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