Stop the Unnecessary Bureaucracy for Bereaved Families - ICTU

2 Feb 2021

Paperwork

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions is calling on government to take steps to eliminate the unnecessary bureaucracy faced by bereaved people cancelling benefits, entitlements and public services after the death of a loved one.

ICTU general secretary, Patricia King said: “During one of the most difficult life events for people, they must separately telephone, write or even attend each relevant section within each government department to notify them of a death, often repeating the same information.

Ms King added: “While I fully recognise the great sensitivity and professionalism of public servants in their dealings with people after a bereavement, navigating this bureaucratic maze is complex, time-consuming and risks causing of a lot of upset when correspondence for the deceased arrives months later because of an oversight in notifying a state service.”

ICTU social policy officer, Dr Laura Bambrick said: “Our process for death notifications is in stark contrast with the UK, where a free ‘Tell Us Once’ service, provided by their Department for Work and Pensions, allows a bereaved person notify multiple government departments and agencies of a death at one time. Everything, including pensions, home help, passports, driving licences and even library cards, is cancelled after one conversation.”

Dr Bambrick added: “In the Department of Social Protection when date of death is recorded in one section, including the General Registry Office, this information is shared across all sections. However, I can only assume that this is a fraud control measure seeing that it is not publicised as an option for next of kin.”

“Congress is calling on Minister Humphreys to close this gap in public service delivery within the Department of Social Protection and to also explore the more ambitious option of providing a Tell Us Once service for reporting a death across government departments. This simple fix could mean so much to the families of the 32,000 people who pass away each year” said Ms King.

ENDS

Conor Kavanagh, Communications Office, 086 811 66 07, conor.kavanagh@ictu.ie

Dr Laura Bambrick, Social Policy Officer, 086 814 23 58, laura.bambrick@ictu.ie