Thousands not receiving unemployment benefits in Portugal

More than 360,000 unemployed people who have signed on for unemployment benefits have not received anything since March.

Given that there are just over 500,000 unemployed in Portugal, it means that two-thirds did not get their benefits last month.

The Portuguese Ministry of Employment & Social Security, Ministério do Trabalho e da Solidariedade Social, has blamed the backlog on “computer problems to do with processing claims”.

However, the General Confederation of Workers, Confederação Geral dos Trabalhadores-CGTP-IN, called it the “visible result of Government policy” which had led to the “exit en masse of public sector workers”.

This meant that there were not enough staff at social security offices up and down the country to cope with the number of dole applications.

According to the union, 3,000 employees have left the Social Security Institute, Instituto da Segurança Social-ISS, in recent times.

It was a view dismissed by the Government, which stated that there had been an IT problem which caused “a day’s delay” in processing unemployment application forms.