Close to 7,500 farmers are set to benefit from the first run of preliminary checks on online Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said.
It was recently revealed that preliminary checks for online BPS applicants had commenced this week.
Online BPS applicants will be notified by the department of any non-compliance in the areas of overclaims, dual-claims and overlaps once these preliminary checks are completed.
The department has confirmed that there will be no penalty or reduction where such non-compliance is fully rectified by that date.
Meanwhile, the department has continually encouraged farmers to apply for the BPS online, given the range of advantages that the online system offers, Minister Creed said.
“Preliminary checks are a key element of this approach and will help to improve the accuracy of BPS applications and [will help] to reduce penalties for farmers, particularly under the BPS and the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme.
“Almost 114,000, or 87%, of our BPS applicants applied online this year, as we move toward the EU regulatory requirement of 100% BPS online applications in 2018.
“These preliminary checks will provide very real benefits for farmers applying online for this essential support and will help to facilitate the processing of the maximum number of applicants for payment,” Minister Creed said.
An online notification will be issued to a farmer/advisor when a preliminary check identifies an overclaim, dual-claim or overlap on a BPS application.
If a farmer is registered for text message alerts, a text will be sent informing the farmer that a preliminary check notification has been issued, according to the department.
Minister Creed has encouraged farmers and advisors who receive a preliminary check notification to address it, as soon as possible, on the BPS online system.
Where an application has been made via an advisor, the advisor will have received a notification also.
“The successful implementation of these preliminary checks in 2016 brought significant benefits to online BPS applicants and I encourage all farmers or their advisors to respond online before the deadline,” he added.
The department has put in place a number of supports to help farmers and advisors to respond to preliminary checks, prior to the deadline of June 19.
Further information is available on the department’s website; this includes a step-by-step guide, for farmers and advisors, of how to respond to a preliminary check.
If a farmer or advisor receives a preliminary check notification, they can contact the Direct Payments Helpdesk at: 0761-064420. A member of staff will then be able to talk the farmer or advisor through the process of responding.