Concerned callers were left hanging on Intreo’s telephone line this week. The Department of Social Protection issued an apology to those affected
New Intreo opening times have come into effect in Ireland from Friday, April 3.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has over the past three weeks faced unprecedented demand for income supports. To date they have processed and put into payment almost three hundred thousand applications for Covid-19 related income supports. This figure is increasing each day as the Department continues to receive applications from customers.
A department statement read: "The vast majority of these applications are now through the Department’s easy to use online portal www.MyWelfare.ie. In line with public health advice, footfall into our public Intreo centres has reduced dramatically. We want to thank our customers for moving in such numbers to online and for respecting public health advice.
"However, in the interests of continuing to observe the strict public health advice and to safeguard both our customers and our staff, the Department will be reducing our Intreo Centre public opening hours with effect from Friday, April 3.
"All our public offices will be open to the public from 10 am to 1 pm on Fridays, Mondays and Wednesdays. Our public offices will be closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These are emergency temporary measures and our opening hours will be kept under review.
"This decision has been taken to ensure that we focus our resources on processing the thousands of applications we receive as quickly as possible. This includes increasing our ability to engage directly with those customers’ whose applications contained incorrect information and we, therefore, have not been able to put into payment. This is a priority for the Department.
"We would like to reassure our customers that we will continue to be available to the public outside our Intreo Centre opening hours. We are using these revised opening hours to substantially increase our capacity to process applications and the number of staff available to engage with customers directly through our dedicated contact centre (1890 800 024) by phone, email and online.
"We would also like to remind people that the quickest and easiest way to submit an application for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, Jobseeker’s payment or an Enhanced Illness Benefit payment is to do so online via www.MyWelfare.ie.
"The Department would like to thank our customers for their patience in these unprecedented times. Information on our Intreo Centre opening hours will be kept under review and will be available on our website."