NI High Street Voucher Program: Nursing Home Residents Having Difficulty Verifying Their Identity

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The Northern Ireland Elderly Commissioner said he was disappointed that some nursing home residents were having difficulty applying for their Spend Local vouchers due to issues with verifying their identity.

Eddie Lynch said he had has received a small number of complaints about nursing home residents experiencing problems obtaining their Spend Local voucher.

He said: “My office has been in direct contact with the Economy Ministry and I have been assured that no one has been turned down for the Spend Local card.

“I was told about the range of documents applicants can download to support their application, including a letter from their care home.

“I am aware that many of these residents may not have the access or skills to provide all of these details online, so I urge caregivers and loved ones to support them through this process. ‘they have permission. “

Mr Lynch added: “I will continue to liaise with the ministry to ensure that everything is done to make the voucher accessible to all who are entitled to it.

“Fortunately, all reports of this nature that were brought to my office were resolved through contact with the Ministry of the Economy.”

On Thursday, it also emerged that some women in Northern Ireland had their applications for Spend Local vouchers turned down because the name on their birth certificate did not match their marriage name.

The married women said they submitted several documents to prove their identity, but were always refused.

Applications for the program closed on Monday, October 25 at midnight and cards must be used by the end of November.

There have been more than 1.43 million requests, the economy ministry revealed this week.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons is facing calls to extend the period during which people can spend their £ 100 vouchers to account for delays in issuing cards.

Mr Lyons has previously said that each eligible person should have a minimum of four weeks to spend their £ 100 voucher.

Commenting on the dispute, Equality Commission chief commissioner Geraldine McGahey said the program appeared to pose problems for specific groups such as some married women and the elderly who may not need the help. identity documents such as a valid driver’s license or passport. .

“There is a potential for discrimination against some of these groups who may receive less favorable treatment than others, in this case because of their gender,” she said.

“We are writing to the Minister of the Economy to remind him of the importance of respecting the obligations of Article 75 (equality) and to ask him to review the time limit set for requesting and using the card in order to ensure that certain groups of people are not harmed. touched and left out.

“It is important to note that this situation also highlights the lack of protection for older people who are currently not protected against discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services, unlike their counterparts in the rest of the Kingdom. United and Ireland. “

Anyone who finds themselves or a family or friend in a similar situation can contact the Department’s customer service on 0800 046 8330 – the lines are open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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